A few months back my pal Cruise Russo turned 21 and his band Reverse Order played a Birthday Show for him at The Architekt in Butler NJ. A bunch of bands I wasn’t familiar with were on the bill, including a New England based quartet called The Go To. They impressed me with their energy and stage presence and the sound of their originals, and they did a pretty damned fine cover of Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks.” I contacted their manager, set up an email interview, got their answers … and finally, a month later, I’m posting the interview here. Hopefully, the new music they talk about in this interview will be available for purchase soon. Meantime, here’s our chat.
ANTHONY: Hi guys! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Let’s start with the usual: how long has the band been together and how did you form?
MAT: Hey! The current line-up of TGT (Mat, Austin, Cory and Alex) has been together a little under a year now, but TGT has been around about a year and some change. I have been writing music and performing for such a long time, and then Austin and I started jamming around three years ago. We just decided that we wanted to bring what we were doing the public, so that’s really where the heart of TGT began. Then we found Cory on YouTube playing a RHCP song on bass and knew we had to have him, and also met Alex around that same time. Ever since the four of us started playing, it just clicked and we knew that this is the band we wanted to take to the top.
ANTHONY: I know you were asked this question at the show where I first saw you, so I have to ask: how many times have Mat and Cory been asked if they’re brothers?
MAT: Haha, well it seems like every time we play a show in a new area to people who haven’t seen us live yet we get asked that, so I’d say at least a thousand times by this point.
CORY: I’m asked at least once every show if I’m Mat’s brother. It’s gotta be at least 50 times.
ANTHONY: And honestly, how many times has Mat been told he looks like (and has the stage presence of) a young Ricky Martin?
MAT: This is the first time anyone has actually given us that comparison… But now everyone is on to me.
ANTHONY: For a while you were posting bi-weekly cover song videos on Youtube. The first cover video you did in that project was “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees, which I saw you do live at The Architekt. It struck me that song really fits your style and Mat’s voice and stage presence, better than almost any other song you’ve covered. How do you guys decide which songs you’re going to cover, and is there any song you absolutely would never cover?
MAT: As a band we have a tendency to obsess over certain songs together. It’s almost like every week we’re all running around each other singing a new song, old or now, non-stop. Like right now we’re currently hung up on Rap God off Eminem’s new album, but like a month ago Wrecking Ball was the newest one haha! I guess our method to picking songs to cover is which ever non TGT has gotten our total intention. As for songs we’d never cover, I guess you can say we’d cover anything we possibly could. I mean, just this past weekend we playing a Johnny Cash (Cocaine Blues) cover to a packed room at Pearl Street in Northampton MA. It was a total fake out before our on encore, but it still counts!
ALEX: We pretty much just all throw out song suggestions until we all agree on the best one, and we are pretty open to our cover suggestions.
CORY: Usually during practice if we need a new cover, well all throw out ideas. Other times we might hear a song we all love and just need to cover it. I don’t think Mat would EVER do a one direction song because of how often he gets compared to Harry.
ANTHONY: Okay, of all the singers Mat reminded me of, Harry Styles didn’t come to mind at all! Will you be doing more cover videos, and what songs can we expect?
MAT: Right now since we’ve released the “Too Sore” music video, most of our YouTube efforts are being out into promote that, but we plan on doing some higher quality cover videos soon, and also releasing some great live footage. Just gotta stay tuned.
ANTHONY: Your self-titled EP has been out for a while. The five songs on it are all originals. What was the song-writing process like for those songs?
MAT: It’s funny, most of the songs on the EP are songs I had written a long time ago and finally got the chance to start sharing so I jumped on those first. Back then I would simply grab my guitar and a note pad and scribble down lyrics and chord changes and commit it all to memory. Now my process is much different because I record ton and tons of demos on my iPad with all the instruments I have in mind, and send them to the band. They get a few every week!
ANTHONY: I like the whole EP, but “Me Oh My” and “Too Sore” are probably my favorites. As a writer, I hate when people ask me the “where do you get your ideas from” question, so I won’t ask that. But I am curious how extensively you draw from life experiences versus just thinking “hey, that would be a great story to tell.” (I always tease my family and friends: be careful what you say, or you’ll end up in a story.)
MAY: I draw a lot from my personal life! Sometimes I tell stories of things I’ve gone through, or elaborate on a certain emotion. An example of the latter is one of our new songs “Upside Down” which is a song I wrote totally on the idea of feeling like I was watching the world from the outside in. But on the other hand, another new song “Conundrum” is me singing about dealing with a relationship when one person has moved on and the other is still hung up on it, which is something I personally was going through at the time.
ANTHONY: The “Too Sore” video has hit 21,000 views (which is about 20,700 more than either of my cover videos). Congrats on that. Are you planning videos for any of the other songs on the EP?
MAT: Most likely not from the EP, but we are working on some new tunes and have a pretty cool game plan coming up that may entail another video!
ALEX: We haven’t quite decided if we are going to do another video from the EP yet but we are definitely going to be shooting a video for one of our newer songs hopefully in the near future.
ANTHONY: I know you’re answering these questions during a weekend in the studio, so what can you tell me about the new stuff you’re working on. With one EP under your belts, has the songwriting process changed at all? How about your sound?
MAT: As I stated before, I have a home studio that I used to record demos and such to send to the band, but this has also opened me up as a song writer. I have the ability to add as many instruments and experiment with new sounds. It’s so great, and it’s much more expressive then some of the older stuff. However, it’s still just as catchy, and hopefully you’ll still be singing all the new ones too!
AUSTIN: Our sound has matured incredibly in the past few months! The only way I can prove this is by telling you to come out to a live show. It’ll change the way you look at us. I can almost promise you that.
ALEX: The new songs that we are working on sound incredible! They are very strong and catchy tunes. And as far as sound goes, since our first EP dropped our music has matured into more of a Rock feel with that little bit of a pop feel still there.
ANTHONY: How extensively have you toured, and when are you headed back on the road?
MAT: Actually, TGT has never done any extensive touring, but have played ALL OVER the north east! We do have some plans for the summer though… But that’s all I can say.
ALEX: We are hoping to go on our very first tour very soon. We have been working very hard to get to where we are now.
CORY: We’ve gone out to New York, Cape Cod, Connecticut and a few other states around here but we haven’t gone on a full blown tour yet.
ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: Since I’m a writer, I’m always curious to know — what is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?
Mat: I’m actually a huge fan of Stephen King, and my favorite book is “Pet Semetery”. Crazy book, man. That’s all I can say, don’t want to spoil it at all.
ANTHONY: Thanks, guys!
THE GO TO: Thank you too!
And of course you can subscribe to their channel on Youtube. Here’s their video for “Too Sore” to whet your appetite: