Interview: Go Long (!)

image: Go Long (!) Facebook

A day at the beach: the waves crash against the rocks,
the sky colours the water light blue,
people lay in the sun and relax,
children run around and collect sea shells,
couples walk along the beach,
a family takes pictures for the family albums,

a few people build a house.
A house in the sand.
And as they build it, they talk about things,
things that go on in their lives.
And you are invited to listen to them.

Hey guys,

it's interview time again.
They're talented, they're funny, they just got signed and now they're here to let me interview them.
Ladies and gentlemen, Go Long (!).
Wow, what a dramatic intro... That was great! :D

Alright, for real now - I am so happy to present you this interview I did with an incredibly talented group of people. 

(to read more about them go here!)

Now see what Danielle (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, ukulele, piano), Lucas (backing vocals, lead guitar, mandolin, banjo) and Niclas (electric and upright bass) have to say about their influences, their band name, going through ups and downs and quite a lot more! 
Each of them answered the questions separately. 

house in the sand: All of you started making music at a very young age. Did you always dream of being a musician and being in a band?

Dani: I dreamed about a lot of things as a child; including, but not limited to being a brontosaurus. I was actually obsessed with the idea of being a dancer at 2 years old, continued in visual arts and drama, and took an interest in music only at the age of 7. I started to sing at that age, begging my parents for a piano at 9 and starting lessons at 12 to prepare for my audition into an arts high school here in Ottawa. Luckily, playing guitar was the cool thing to do, and I had always wanted to be cool so I gave it a shot. I was lucky to be encouraged by some really great friends with some amazing talent during that time; without them I would not be playing today. After four intense years, I wasn’t sure I was cut out for the intense work that goes into being a musician so I decided to go to University and after six years, I find myself graduating likely as a full-time musician anyway. You can’t even run from your dreams.

Lucas: I did. To me there were no other options I even considered as a child, probably because to me music, and playing guitar in general brought me to a different world, (an interesting, creative and happy place I could go to on a daily basis, an luckily it still does). In fact I used to draw a lot as a kid (mainly guitars/musicians, and turn my parents living room into a fake stage etc. Yes I was possibly obsessed), but I used to draw pictures of how I projected my future, and it always involved guitars, stages, bands etc. The pictures were a little over the top (my hair isn’t quite as long as it was in those drawings thank God), but the idea was in place.

Nic: I started playing bass and classical guitar at the age of 12, but it's only when around 19-20 years old that it became a career objective. I played with bands since I was 14 and never stopped, but it was mainly for fun, until I realized it was so much fun that it should be what I do most of the time. The thing that makes me the most happy is performing live music. Add to the equation that I now have the possibility of doing it with my fiancée and my friend Lucas Haneman, and it makes even more sense to keep on pushing in the direction we already started.

house in the sand: Your music seems to be appreciated by a lot of people, that’s great! But who do you listen to? Are there any musicians you look up to?

Dani: I am also extremely fortunate for my parents, who don’t play music but have a deep appreciation for it and support the arts. It is not a coincidence that I became interested in music at the age of 7, because at this same time my father started to volunteer for the Ottawa Jazz Festival in town. I met jazz legends like Tony Bennett and Diana Krall and absolutely fell in love with the scene and the magic of the festival. Today, I really respect Canadian artists who are able to perform full time. I love the sound of Mother Mother and Pilot Speed. We recently had the honour of opening for Don Ross. He and his wife Brooke Miller have been so supportive and kind even though they are Canadian power houses. After years in the industry and touring internationally, they are still entirely down to earth. These are the kinds of people I look up to.

Lucas: The list is too long, but as I grew up playing folk, blues and alternative rock, then studied Jazz in University a few big inspirations from all those genres include saxophonists Maceo Parker, Dexter Gordon and John Coltrane, drummers Brian Blade and Carter Beauford, Canadian guitarists Lenny Breau, Kevin Breit, Don Ross, Jeff Healey and Ed Bickert, and bands/musicians Radio Head, Dave Matthews Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jimi Hendrix, Al Green, James Taylor, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, Wayne Krantz, CSNY, Fleet Foxes, Bruce Cockburn, Black Keys etc. etc.

Nic: I have many influences. I started getting into music at the age of 10, when I discovered Marilyn Manson and Korn. My mother quickly reacted and I was forced to not listen to that kind of music for a while, but my cousin saved me by showing me tons of the 60's and 70's bands, such as Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, who quickly became my favourite at the age of 12. I was slowly able to get back into metal as I became a teenager, and so I really got into some Swedish bands, such as Opeth and later on Pain of Salvation. Then I became an adult, and for some completely unknown reason, I stopped appreciating metal as I used to and started really digging Blues, Funk, Jazz and French singer-songwriters. So I discovered Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Howling Wolf, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steely Dan, Robert Charlebois, Léo Ferré, Sylvain Lelièvre, and many more.

house in the sand: Is there a story behind your band name ’Go Long (!)’?

Dani: Luc and I met a reeeeeaaaally long time ago. We would jam at the jazz fest once a year, but never played regularly, particularly because Luc was away at University in Montreal. When he graduated and came home, we had a crazy long jam session at a party with friends; playing that game where you insert one word into every line of a song. Eventually, that word became “long” and “Go Long” was born as an inside joke which exploded.

image: Go Long (!) Facebook | Derek Hille
house in the sand: A simple but difficult question: what does music mean to you?

Dani: Music for me was always magic. It quickly became an outlet because as a child I had a really hard time fitting in at school. I joined a lot of art clubs because it not only felt like that is what I was supposed to do, but also provided me with a more accepting environment than regular class because I was often bullied. Journaling was something I was encouraged to do to cope, which quickly became song writing as my journaling was more stream of consciousness than actual sentences. The performance aspect was something extraordinary because I didn’t have to be myself, I could be anyone. To this day I hate public speaking, but on stage with the boys I am completely comfortable. In this state, I am able to sing about some pretty hard truths, which I am sure affect a lot of different people. I can only hope that some of my lyrics can help others through difficult periods as well; we are all more alike than we really acknowledge.

Lucas: To me music means self-expression, it gives me the ability to tell a large number of people (hopefully sometimes successfully) how I am feeling at any given moment. To me as musicians we have a duty and responsibility to be messengers, and to help people through difficult passages of life, as well as lift them even higher through the best moments. Music means everything to me as it has always been there in those crucial times.

Nic: As you say... Simple but difficult question. I think music is a way to be more in tune with ourselves, but also with other people. Music can be criticized by some people as something taking too much place in people's lives, and that has just become a source of distraction and entertainment to keep the mind from really focusing on what matters. But really I think it can, and should be, much deeper than that: music is not just organized sound with lyrics on top (or not), it is a way to communicate things that cannot be said the same way with words. Some melodies, chords, harmonies, nuances (rubato, crescendo, etc.) can take you places you've never traveled to before. Music is a way for human beings to realize the many different ways we can be affected. I think it is good to be able to be affected in the most possible ways! People who have given up on life: cynical, pessimistic, accepting of the wrong, etc., are the people who block affections, who have reached a state of insensitivity. Music is a door that you open for more affects, and so it also means accepting vulnerability. Vulnerability is the most beautiful yet the most fragile state in which one can be, because it entails trusting, or opening up to the things that hurt. Music is just a marvelous way to keep ourselves vulnerable, and hence happy.

house in the sand: Putting yourself out there as a band probably does not always work out right from the start, there are ups and downs. How do you stay motivated during those downs?

Dani: What saves me during the downs are the boys. We all have very different strengths, but the same sense of humour which means we get along famously. With my background in communication, I take of all of our promotion and online presence. Lucas is the craziest musician I have ever met, and is always inspired to write music, encouraging us to keep writing and practicing just to keep up. Nic is the most level-headed of all of us. He is so optimistic, which I find is the biggest motivator during the downs. He takes care of the tough situations with a smile.

Lucas: We’ve been lucky so far in that the downs have not lasted long at all, but in those times we communicate as much as needed to keep things rolling. All of us are fairly grounded individuals, as well as dear friends, so this helps. On an individual level I try to just remember that everything in life is temporary. I am an eternal optimist I suppose. If I can’t shake a feeling though I try writing music to capture what I’m going through. After a little while this process helps me lift myself out of the mud.

Nic: To be honest with you, I do not find that we have "downs". At least I don't. What is hard is when other life elements start to take too much place and don't allow us to do music the way we would like, but that never lasts long. Our motivation is so strong, for each of us in this band, that "down" is a very relative term. When you know what you want and are doing it with people you love, it is hard to stop that!

house in the sand: The list of shows you played is really impressive. What is it like to be on stage?

Dani: Every show is entirely different, and we often can’t gauge how the new audience will be until after the first song. Sometimes, intimate shows with 25 to 30 people can be the best because you can really engage with the audience, answer questions as you go and have the best time of your life. Other times it can be horribly awkward. My favourite show to date was a pretty small show, but some friends showed up with signs, our loudest fans came out, and everyone sang “Hurricane” so loud I couldn’t even hear myself singing in the monitor. Moments like that bring me to tears. I really couldn’t describe that feeling.

Lucas: I can’t remember a time when the 3 of us were genuinely unhappy on stage together. Performing with Dani and Nic is always entertaining, expressive, full of laughs, and a little different each night! For me being on stage at the best of times can put one in a state where time and reality feel as if they nearly cease to exist while the music is happening. By this I mean sometimes we get off stage and say something to the effect of “I can’t believe that was 45 minutes, it felt like 5 minutes!” If I close my eyes while playing whichever instrument it so happens to be, and really focus I feel as if I’m in a dream-like state. What was conscious becomes unconscious, and the music can then flow freely. This feeling is a joy like nothing else. It allows me to express myself honestly to an audience, and hopefully help them feel as much as possible through the music.

Nic: To be on stage is the easiest and the hardest thing at the same time. By easiest I mean that I have played many shows in my life, and it has come to a point where it's a natural thing to do, so the stress has almost completely disappeared, and I'm never afraid of missing a note or anything. I am just very comfortable. On the other hand it is also a hard thing to do, because I always want to play the best I can play, and unfortunately sometimes, it doesn't work like that. So one hard thing is to accept that I am not playing at my best sometimes, and it is mostly my fault (lack of practice that day, or lack of sleep, etc.). Another hard thing is to be in sync with the crowd: as I said in the previous question, music is all about vulnerability. I could just not care about the crowd, do my little thing, and when I'm done, I'm done. But that is not how I wish it to be. I want to share with the crowd. I want there to be a transfer of energy, I want to share, and sometimes, they are not receptive, especially in certain bars. There is a blocking, and so the energy you are trying to share is thrown back at you.

house in the sand: The “Strings Untied Summer Tour” is coming up. What are you most excited about?

Dani: I am most excited about all of the new people we will meet (and some of the shows we are playing on, but haven’t made the announcement so everyone has to be patient…). I have only gone out East for a two day trip, so the fact that we are spending a month on the road means a lot of site seeing. Since we are hanging in an RV for the trip, we get to spend a lot of time writing so it will be time well spent.

Lucas: I love meeting people, and experiencing the different subcultures of Canada, as this country is so vast, so I can’t wait for us to experience that together. The idea of playing so much in a condensed period of time is something that I think will be great and creatively fruitful for us as a band too. At the core of it all I’m just excited to see what people think of our music as well!

Nic: Well an obvious answer to that question may be that I'm excited about playing almost every day for over 3 weeks of course, but I would also add that traveling is a very exciting thing for me. I could be on the road for months and I wouldn't mind not being home. I like to move, to be in a constant state of discovery, of opening up to the world and what is has to give, but also to always be giving to the world myself.

house in the sand: Please complete the following sentence: We are Go Long (!) and we …

Dani: …drink A LOT of peppermint tea.

Lucas: …were supposed to be football players, but this music thing is a ton of fun, and competitive sports were never really our shtick!

Nic: …hope to make you smile, so that we can all smile together.

house in the sand: Is there anything else you want the house in the sand readers to know?

Go Long (!): Any success we have is because of our fans. We are eternally grateful to our fans for sharing our music with others. Connect with us online – We would love to meet you electronically (and hopefully in person one day).

house in the sand: Thank you so much for answering the questions! I’m so happy I discovered you and I’ll hopefully see you soon. Good luck for the future!

Go Long (!): You are the sweetest, and we will do our very best to come see you in Germany.

Get in touch with Danielle, Lucas and Niclas here:

At this point I want to thank Dani, Lucas and Nic for taking the time to answer my questions.
We will meet someday, I'm sure. (not to sound creepy or so...)

x Vanessa

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