Toronto-based garage rock band Goodbye Honolulu has been making their way across the country for their first headline US tour. We sat down with the band before their show at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood to talk about their week at SXSW and new music in the works.
ALTANGELES: How did you guys meet and start the band?
JACOB: So basically we were in a bunch of different bands but we were all the same members of the band. I had a solo project called Headspace at the time that Fox played in. We also had a band called Creep Creep Beach that we were in together. Emmett and Max were in a band called Ghost Days and previously were in bands together since they were in grade school. We were just playing shows together as these bands that was essentially the same members and eventually we were like “you know what, this is dumb, let’s just form a sort of super group” and put all our music in it and just make it Goodbye Honolulu and that was that.
When did each of you start playing music?
JACOB: I personally was kind of on-and-off learning music and playing guitar from a super young age. But I wasn’t super into it, it was more of a parental enforced thing. And then in high school when I met these dudes it was just jamming and having fun which was a more natural thing and that’s when I really got into music.
FOX: I think I started playing guitar in grade 5. I just wanted a guitar and got one and figured it out.
MAX: I think I started playing drums when I was 11, so grade 5.
EMMETT: Yeah, I think I was 11 too, grade 5, and took guitar lessons for a few years. Then me and Max started a band pretty much immediately. We used to have band meetings at recess and talk about our world domination.
What is your songwriting process like?
FOX: Usually one of us will bring in an idea and we’ll all build on it. But recently we’ve been trying to all work together on it and sit down and actually write the lyrics and everything together. But mostly whoever sings the song probably wrote the bulk of it, and everyone else puts their flavor on it.
EMMETT: We’ll usually chip in on the vocals for the chorus, but you can usually tell who wrote the song by who’s singing it. But the new record we’re doing, we’re throwing that all out the window.
Why did you choose the name “Goodbye Honolulu”?
FOX: I came up with it. It was in high school and I just wanted to start a band with somebody, that somebody being Jacob. I thought if the name was cool enough it would trap him and we would someday be here rocking out in LA.
JACOB: Here we are, he caught me.
FOX: I trapped him and I dragged him all the way here.
If you were a cover band, what band would you cover and what would you call yourselves?
JACOB: There’s this thing in Toronto that happens every year where they choose these bands and each band does a cover. A few times we’ve thought about that. ACDC was one that we’ve thought about. The Ramones would be good probably.
MAX: We’d love to do a KISS cover band if we could do the full costume.
EMMETT: A KISS cover band called PISS. There we go.
You’ve been on the road since the beginning of the month. How has the US tour been so far?
ALL: Crazy, it’s been wild.
FOX: It feels like it’s been one non-stop day.
JACOB: SXSW in Austin was super cool. We saw a lot of great bands and it’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a really long time. Washington D.C. was a really cool show.
EMMETT: It’s also just us on the road, like we aren’t opening for any big bands so you get to these shows and it’s just us. It’s just the four boys which is a first for a big tour. This is the first time with just the four of us and it’s going okay. We only fight like thirty-thousand times a day.
What’s your favorite part of being on tour?
FOX: I like the journey, I like the road. I like the weird places we end up after the shows. I love seeing different places and exploring.
JACOB: For us, seeing the stuff that maybe other people think is boring, we’re like “this is so cool” even if it’s just flat land.
EMMETT: And we like to hang out with each other and tell scary stories. We listen to scary podcasts.
Would you say your least favorite part of touring is the fighting?
FOX: It’s not fighting, it’s family therapy.
EMMETT: I would say my least favorite is loading the gear.
What’s your favorite venue you’ve played so far?
JACOB: I really enjoyed Washington D.C.
EMMETT: It was a record shop that we played last time and there were only a few kids there. But this time we got upgraded to the basement, which was bigger. We didn’t know what to expect but it was really cool and the people putting it on were really nice and welcoming. Surprisingly, we had a really great turnout there which we didn’t expect so it was a really great time. It’s always nice when the venue treats you really nicely and you can create a friendship.
EMMETT: Getting along is so much fucking easier than not getting along.
Are there any you’re looking forward to playing?
JACOB: We’re going to Boise, Idaho for Treefort Festival. We’re not sure what venues we’re gonna be playing but in general that’ll be kinda fun.
How was it to have “Lorry Can’t Love” released through Burger Records?
EMMETT: A dream come true. Our little kid selves would have been freaking out.
FOX: We just played Burgermania [at SXSW] and that was a big “what the fuck is happening” moment.
Where do you find inspiration for new music?
JACOB: Life everyday. Different art, different videos, photos, music, friends. Weird people, Happy people. Everything.
EMMETT: BRONCHO. A lot of artists we saw at SXSW. Viagra Boys, CHAI, Husky Loops. HINDS are a huge influence and inspiration for us. Our friends SWMRS. FIDLAR, The Black Lips, Ty Segall.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
JACOB: It would be cool to collaborate with the Black Lips, I think we could make something cool together.
EMMETT: Beck, Jack White. Getting anything produced by Ty Segall would be cool. It would be fun to do a song with HINDS.
What is the biggest roadblock you face as artists?
JACOB: Initially, getting into the States was kind of hard. It’s a lot of money and paperwork.
MAX: Being a Canadian band and knowing that the States is where it’s all happening and where you really have to try and break yourself is a bit of a barrier. But we’re here and we’re doing it. One step at a time.
How has the response been to your latest EP “More Honey”?
EMMETT: We haven’t gotten any negative responses from it. It was a “part two” of a “part one” so to finally have the completion of the “No Honey,” “More Honey” thing is cool.
JACOB: We recorded that at one time as a full album but we decided to release it as two EPs so for us it didn’t feel like something new from the first one. It was more of a continuation. So it was exciting but we’re really excited for the next full album we’re gonna release.
You’re set to release a new single and music video “U GOT IT” on March 29th. Is that single from an album in the works?
JACOB: We haven’t started recording the whole album yet, but yes it’s gonna be on the album. We’re really excited to release it. We directed and our friends shot it with us and it was super fun to do.
EMMETT: The song is a new sound, we’re trying to do some new stuff and you’ll probably hear that. We’re trying to experiment. You’ll probably hear some influences from different genres. It’s cool! It’s such a breath of fresh air. After this tour we’re going home to record the full-length record. The song and video are so sick though.
JACOB: If we do say so ourselves.
Anything you want to say to fans?
JACOB: Keep holding on, it’s coming.
EMMETT: We love you! Thank you for caring about what we do.
FOX: Recycle, try to save our earth. Start composting. Stop littering. Stop hurting animals.
MAX: Life ain’t always what you wish of it, always what you make of it.
JACOB: And that’s the truth.
EMMETT: Let’s end it on that.
FOX: Save the penguins.