Photo by Ross Hillier
After a rare performance at Webster Hall in March, New York had the special pleasure of hosting Goldfish this year at Electric Zoo on Randall’s Island. While members David Poole and Dominic Peters often find themselves performing in these environments, they admit it’s not really their scene on a typical day off in the City.
“We always end up at the Village Vanguard listening to Jazz,” says Peters. “There is such a rich heritage of Jazz in New York City with some amazing history and venues. All of the best guys in the world are always playing here, and we generally gravitate towards that.”
This might sound surprising, until you learn more about the two jokesters, who refer to themselves not as producers, but rather as “musicians who are coming into dance music”. Poole and Peters each share a long love affair with music, which started when they were just children growing up in South Africa, long before they would eventually meet while studying at University of Cape Town. “Dave and I both started playing when we were six years old,” Peters says. “Dave started on the violin, but we are both multi-instrumentalists.”
Of course, this goes without saying if you’ve listened to a recording, or you are one of the lucky ones who has seen the long-time friends jam together on stage, incorporating enough woodwinds, strings and percussion that they could collectively qualify as a mini-orchestra. And that’s all in addition to the laptops and the mixers they use to generate their one-of-kind sound, which has been labeled as tropical house, deep house, electro-jazz and just about every other genre that falls somewhere in between. During their Saturday afternoon set, Poole lended his talents to the tenor sax and flute, while Peters revealed just how pluckin’ rad he is on the upright electric bass. “It’s [from] a company called Ned Steinberger,” Poole explains. “I can proudly say I’ve had every iteration of the electric upright bass, and this one is the best.”
Photo by Al Nicoll Photography
So how do two classically trained dudes from Cape Town find themselves living in San Diego and topping US dance music charts with a self-made sound? The road was not a short or easy one. “In 2000, we were young kids playing jazz and listening to ‘old people’s’ music. We tried to get our friends to come watch our gigs, and they would be like ‘oh, that’s interesting! Good for you!’ but we wouldn’t see them there,” they recall. “Then when we started Goldfish, it was immediately like the tables turned. [We were getting] phone calls from people we hadn’t talked to since we were [children] asking ‘hey buddy can we get tickets for your show?’ And we’re thinking, ‘What is this?’ We touched on something that people didn’t know they wanted, and we gave it to them on accident.”
After racking up close to 15 number one hits and more radio plays than any recent song in their hometown’s history, the two set their sights on going stateside. The 30-hour commute and excessive jet lag recovery times eventually contributed to a decision to relocate to the West Coast permanently. In addition to adjusting to a new home and lifestyle, the two have also been challenged with finding ways to shine a new light on a debatably oversaturated market. “I kind of feel like everyone who listens to EDM is going to eventually get musical diabetes. A sugar crash!” Peters says with a laugh. “We are trying to bring that human feel to dance music. Most dance music is like fluorescent lights. It’s bright and doesn’t have that incandescent bulb, [whereas] live instruments bring that feeling I crave – when you know it’s real. It’s not a jpeg. It’s an analog photograph that has depth and warmth to it.”
Dom and David recently shared a mixtape playfully called Roadtrippin’ and Goldfishin’ featuring songs that have inspired them throughout their “Goldfish Presents” tour, which is set to make waves at the Lower East Side’s Bowery Ballroom on November 25th. If you suffer from the oversaturated feels of mainstream music, give it a listen, then come swim upstream with us next Friday. Get your tickets to see Goldfish (LIVE) and rising star JackLNDN, HERE.
Interview by Sean Roper
Story by Megan Venzin