Meet Johnny Stowmarries and Percy Blakeney – The Schlock Vibe Mod Revival Duo

by Aayushi Mehra

 

The Goths are not trying to fit into contemporary trends. So, when the need to classify things is left unaddressed, a power-pop sound from the sixties akin to The Who, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Byrds might be a rather appropriate way to describe their sound.

 

And, as The Goths fit into this broader musical landscape, their goal beyond might well be to make a statement against the pretensions of popular music. Take the spirit of despair, mix it with some melodic hooks, and the occasional vocal harmony, give it a massive dose of energy, and there you pretty much have The Goths. 

 

Understanding The Goths

 

The Goths had their music imprinted into their DNA from sometime in the late sixties, throughout the seventies, to having experienced the musical changes of the eighties and nineties well after their creative period had begun. When your musical upbringing takes place during some of the most prolific artistic periods of all time, you may be excused for having crafted a style that is difficult to categorise. 

 

With a range that includes psychedelic pop and baroque pop to art rock, throwing in a bit of surf guitar and ballad here and there, The Goths wear their influences on their sleeve in a cohesive menagerie of sound. 

 

 

What’s in a name? 

 

When Percy assumed the name Blakeney, after the famous swordsman in the “Emmuska” Scarlet Pimpernel novels, The Goths were led down a fan-fiction rabbit hole that revealed a character of Lord Stowmarries from the writings of Vanessa Sgroi.

 

The dynamic duo of Percy Blakeney and Johnny Stowmarries would henceforth become the personalities echoed by The Goths pair, characters of characters, both on stage and throughout their journey of song. 

 

 

 

Writing and producing as a duo

 

As most groups will attest, having two singer-songwriters sit down to create one song either goes very well or very badly. The Goth’s songs all have their origin in one member of the duo or another, with, as both would agree, a marked improvement with the additional assistance from the other. 

 

The Goths collaboration goes well beyond the writing of the song itself. It goes to the capturing of it on tape. It includes production elements in today’s digital studios with every tiny detail that might combine to achieving their unique sound. 

 

 

Who exactly are their influences? 

 

While The Goths influences may appear to be those of the Mods, the Rockers, and the British Invasion, it turns out the real impact on them came from the Aussie Pub Rock wave of the seventies and eighties. 

 

In 1979, a record by the name of ‘Not Like Everybody Else’ by Jimmy and the Boys shook this scene to its core. This was at the beginnings of new wave, a beginning to the unique personality of the artist sound of the eighties. Other artists such as The Church, Spy Versus Spy, and The Lime Spiders, continued to shape their eighties development, and in doing so, fine-tuned the blueprint of what can now be heard in The Goths.

 

 

Each song is an escape with The Goths

 

The Goths offer a unique soundtrack to the great escape from the mainstream that is less afraid than anything. Each tune tells a story lyrically and musically that is both well-conceived and in the end a thoroughly ripping yarn.

 

You can get away to a faraway place every time you drop the needle and escape to a strangely welcoming land for as long as you need to. Check them out on Spotify, like them on Facebook, visit their website, follow them on Instagram and stay up to date with the world of The Goths. 

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Cult, Religion, Existentialism​ – Everything You Need to Know About The Goths

by Aayushi Mehra

 

An elegant mix of Gothic tales, catchy melodies and religious and existential musings, listening to The Goths can give you a dose of energy when you need it, or something to drift away with. 

 

Their songs contain references and interpretations of classic literature and folk tales, among other sources of inspiration, with themes of cult, religion and existentialism touched on.

 

To fully understand and appreciate their sound and lyrical inspirations, here are musings from one half of The Goths duo, Johnny Stowmarries, on these particular themes. 

 

 

 

With their influences, are The Goths a cult band?

 

When asked how he would define a ‘cult act’, and whether he considers The Goths to be one, Johnny’s response was, “A cult, I would say, as a thing, is something which is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society. The Goths might have begun a bit of a cult following in Brisbane back in the eighties, and we might have become a bit of a cult phenomenon on YouTube.

 

Either way, it’s only our listeners, fans or followers who admire or care about something we’ve done, or us as a duo, or one or the other of us as people. There aren’t any rites involved unless you class putting our records on as a rite.”

 

There are no pretensions here, just a musician who truly appreciates his fans without letting success go to his head. 

 

 

Don’t call it a religion

 

The Goths couldn’t be further from mainstream assumptions of what a goth is. Therein lies the beautiful juxtaposition of sound and theme. Hearing the name The Goths might conjure up images of death metal bands, screaming vocals and lots of black and leather, which couldn’t be further from their actual sound and influences.

 

Not calling The Goths a cult, Johnny goes on to say that the duo do not consider themselves a religious band either, as he believes that religion is a further step beyond. He classes religion as, “a pursuit followed with great devotion.” He goes on to say that, “[While] no one has followed us with anything like that whatsoever […] our single, ‘Cathedral’, touches on an idea about worship, where the word ‘building’ might be referring to an ongoing process of construction as an act of worship.”

 

 

An existentialist’s idea of goth culture

 

Existentialism is intertwined in the very fabric of The Goths and is crucial to understanding their genre. In particular, the driving forces of global culture, in its current state, and where it is heading, are heavy influences on the band’s sound and lyrics. 

 

The Victorian era is where existentialism had its roots, as people started developing a more modern way of thinking about human nature. In those times, such thoughts were only expressed in philosophical publications or novels. Prior to that period, the human condition such as depression, anxiety and alienation were treated as illnesses. The emergence of existentialism as a movement is to be thanked for redefining these experiences as normal and natural, Johnny notes.

 

He expands on this idea further by explaining that existentialism as a movement is “an expression that can lead people to a higher degree of freedom, meaning and well-being.” 

 

He believes that the last part fully encompasses The Goths and their self-actualisation of it, to the point they can attain a higher degree of meaning in their music, ethics and aesthetics. 

 

One of their singles, ‘Don’t Want To Die’, deals head-on with existentialism. This song contains one of The Goths’ most life-affirming messages, as Johnny succinctly puts it, “We as human beings would rather go on living than face death.”

 

 

 

Understanding what makes The Goths so unique but relatable

 

Knowing how one half of the duo interprets and interweaves these themes of cult, religion and existentialism into their music helps provide an understanding to The Goths. This almost undefinable duo has a lot to say, and knowing where they’re coming from makes the messages in their songs even more powerful.

 

To listen to The Goths, check them out on Spotify, visit their website, follow them on Instagram, and like their Facebook page. This will make sure you stay up to date with everything going on in The Goths world.

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