Interview by Lindsey Craun.
At only 20 years old, Sarah McIntosh is the face of the up-and-coming indie-pop group from Berkshire, The Good Natured. She’s joined by two band mates—George on drums and her brother, Hamish, on bass. The Good Natured continues to earn praise for their debut EP, Be My Animal, and have another on the way that’s sure to follow suit.
Sarah, Hamish and George sat down with us during their first visit to South by Southwest to discuss musical influences, the new EP and an upcoming full-length album.
When did your interest in music begin?
Sarah: From quite a young age, I played the violin when I was about 10. Then I took like four grades and then I decided I wanted to take up the drums. That’s kind of when I really got into music. Probably when I was around 15 I put together a band at school and we just did local gigs and stuff. Then when I was about 17, I started writing for The Good Natured.
Hamish: I started playing guitar when I was about 8, for about a year, then I moved to bass and I’ve been playing ever since.
George: I just started playing drums when I was about 13. I’ve been in a load of punk bands with my friends and just mucked about really with that. We did a few shows and we sucked, but it was all good.
How did decide on the name “The Good Natured?”
Sarah: I wrote it in lyrics and I just really liked it. We’re quite nice people as well, so it’s fitting.
When and how did you realize that pursuing music professionally was for you?
Sarah: Well me and George met at the University we went to, not last year, but the year before. And then I met our manager and I decided that I didn’t want to be at Uni and wanted to pursue the music. So I left Uni and made that decision to drop out. We’ve just been signed a few weeks ago, so…
George: It paid off—not getting an education (laughs.)
When writing a song, how does it come to life from an idea in the beginning to the end product?
Sarah: It’s different, really, every time. Sometimes lyrics come to me fast and sometimes they don’t. I think it just depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I write on my own, and sometimes I do co-writes. So it’s different every time I would say. I normally write when I feel down or just really emotional.
I really liked your cover of Sufjan Stevens’ song, “For the Windows in Paradise.” What was it about that song that made you want to cover it? Have you thought of any other songs you’d like to cover in the future?
Sarah: I just think it’s a really nice song, and I’m a really big fan of Sufjan. I just think it’s a brilliant song; it’s really beautiful. At the moment, I think I’m going to cover “Wild Heart” by Stevie Nicks. But, I’m not sure; I’ll have to think of what other songs to cover.
From where do you draw your inspiration in songwriting?
Sarah: For me it’s more like an emotional thing. But I suppose musical influence is quite broad. I like a lot of stuff from the 80s like Tears for Fears, also I like a lot of stuff that’s in the tracks as well. I really like Kanye West’s new album.
What can you tell me about your newest EP, Be My Animal?
Sarah: It’s got “Be My Animal “on it, an it’s got “Your Body Is a Machine” on it, which are both singles that we’ve released in the UK. I hope people like it!
What were you hoping to accomplish at SXSW?
Sarah: Have a good time and meet loads of really interesting people, and hopefully get some really good people to see us as well. I suppose it’s just networking and seeing other bands as well, and just having a good time.
George: I just wanted to have really good steak. It’s Texas, isn’t it? They’re like famed for it. That’s what I want to accomplish.
Sarah: Stuff the career; it’s all about the steak.
George: Yeah, I don’t care about the music– I just want the meat!
What do you have planned for the rest of 2011?
Sarah: We’re doing this EP in the U.S. and then we’re doing a new EP in the U.K. with two new songs on it. That’s coming out in June, and then we’re just writing for the album, which will come out at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. And we’re doing a lot more gigs as well.
Watch the music video for The Good Natured’s single “Be My Animal” below: