Go Robo! Go! is a a self-described “Nerd Rock” band from Atlanta. They are colorful, loud, fun and convention favorites. Last month, at MomoCon 2015, the band took the stage in the Hero room and put on their first concert in 8 months. It was a triumphant return for Go Robo! Go! and marked the third time that they have played at MomoCon.
Go Robo! Go! is made up of Sarah Rose (Guitar and Vocals), Joe Dolan (Bass, Banjo, Keyboards), Shilo Dangerous (Guitar) and Chris Preziotti (Drums). Their music styling is hard to define, but has the all the elements of punk, pop, and energy that make for a fun listening experience. The band’s Bandcamp catalog is filled with great, well produced tunes that both pull you in and make you want to know more about the band at the same time. Go Robo! Go!’s latest EP, Survival Songs was released last year, and their newest music video for “Sins/Sacrifice” can be watched below!
TAM took the opportunity to sit down with Go Robo! Go! during MomoCon and get to know more about the band, it’s musical style, the Atlanta music scene, and their take on independent music publishing.
Tell us a bit about who Go Robo! Go! is and how you came to be a band.
Sara Rose (SR): We started about 8 years ago. I was working at a music store right outside of Atlanta, and Joe and our old guitarist, Blake, were working there way before I started. I had heard through the grapevine at work that they had this band, and had been in a few bands before that and they had some demos on MySpace, which should show you how old the band is. I went and I listened to the songs on MySpace, downloaded them and thought they were awesome. But, they were like these eight, nine minute long songs…
Joe Dolan (JD): Far too long. Just terrible prog songs.
SR: So, being the dork I was, I decided that I was going to chop these songs up on my home recording software and make them into 3-minute pop songs. I didn’t tell them I was doing any of this and I went up to Joe, told him “Hey, I so I kinda made your songs shorter and wrote some verses to them. Can I come jam with you guys?”
JD: So, Rose shows up to practice and Blake was like “This is our new singer!” But, she came to practice and things went pretty well and we’re listening to the demos and trying to learn them, and Rose said “By the way, I booked some studio time next week…” and we were like… “Ok? Why?” So, we ended up recording our first little EP in 2007 and still play one of the songs.
SR: One of the songs, “American Poet,” off of that EP is still the fourth most popular song on Spotify for us. So, a lot of the songs have had weird staying power for how quickly they came together.
JD: It’s so interesting to me, because we’ve gone through so many different formulations of the band and we’ve had so many different ideas of what we wanted to be. It’s amazing to me that we can still find people who share our vision and may have even more of an idea of what our vision is than even we do. We’re just really happy and proud that we’ve been able to keep this passion project of ours going for as long as it has been.
You describe yourself as “Nerd Rock,” but what exactly does that mean?
JD: That’s because we’re dorks who play Rock and Roll.
SR: We love nerd culture. That’s the best way to explain it. It’s always been really receptive to our band. We always say MomoCon is our favorite place to play. It seems that every year we play at MomoCon, it’s like a big family reunion of all the people who like our band.
JD: We picked a dorky name… we picked some random throw away thing that we thought was really funny. But, it’s been really good for our identity.
SR: It wasn’t our own doing, but when we started playing shows, people would draw the robot that we picked for ourselves. They would come up with stories and ideas and fan art. There’s really a whole canon around it. If you listen to the records, it was unintentional, but there is sort of a little myth arc around the lyrics. There are references to old songs in new songs and different characters that sort of popped up. It’s become its own little universe.
As a local band, based out of Atlanta, how do you feel about the music scene here?
JD: We love Atlanta. We love the fact that we started playing these shows when we were teenagers, so didn’t have much of a chance to play some of the bigger venues. We’ve been really embraced by a lot of the people, and some of the larger local venues like The Masquerade and Drunken Unicorn.
SR: Places where you would never have expected a band like us to play. We’ve sort of carved our own niche, and I guess it’s kind of weird because we’ve always sort of seen ourselves as the black sheep of our little scene. We don’t have a lot of good connections or networks with a lot of the more typical pop/punk or hardcore bands. We just don’t do it… not to disparage it. They’ve always sort of looked at us like we’re weird because we sing about gay sex and robots and the apocalypse.
JD: I feel like whenever someone books us, they never know what to put us on. If they’re having a pop/punk night, ok “Go Robo! Go!.” If they’re having a hip hop or a metal show… “I don’t care, I don’t know… just… whatever, they’ll be fine.”
SR: Honestly, we’ve been embraced a lot more by the Atlanta Hip Hop community, sort of weirdly.
JD: There’s a hidden Go Robo! Go! EP that’s like a Rap/Rock thing that we’ve done that will NEVER get released.
SR: It was pretty bad. But, we’ve done some pretty crazy things. We’ve collaborated a lot with the Atlanta area rappers. If you dig hard enough through their mix tapes and stuff, you’ll see me doing vocals and them doing guest vocals on some of our stuff. I think Atlanta Hip Hop artists somehow understand how spastic we are.
JD: We just don’t take ourselves too seriously, and I feel like the same thing can be said about a lot of Atlanta Hip Hop. I think that’s really what music should be. I think if you get too caught up in what your genre is and what your persona or overall presentation is, then you lose a lot of the authenticity.
How do you feel about your MomoCon concert this year?
SR: We were all just talking about it. It’s in our probably top three favorite shows that we’ve ever played.
Chris Preziotti (CP): This is my first MomoCon experience. I have always supported Go Robo! Go!. Joe and I are childhood friends. I always played in bands as well, and we always jammed together, but never officially until I moved back from California and became Joe’s roommate. Their drummer went MIA and they needed a new one, so here I am.
JD: We were playing TimeGate and literally 48 hours beforehand, our drummer wasn’t responding, so I called up Chris and I asked if he wanted to be in the band.
CP: I said “That’s absolutely fine. Give me the set list and I will learn it.” I remember, I had just moved back from California, and I was going to the DMV tag office and I just had my earphones in, listening to Go Robo! Go! on loop. I dreamt about Sarah’s voice. I remember going to TimeGate and Joe was texting me while I was in my car. He comes out to find me, and I’m in the car practicing. This was my first show and I’m learning these nine songs and was playing live in 3 hours.
JD: It went phenomenally well!
As far as independent publishing, how is your approach to it?
SR: Streaming is an interesting thing. Our royalties from Spotify are minimal at best, but since we’ve been on Spotify and other streaming services, we’ve been available to a lot more people that wouldn’t have normally taken the time to listen to us. I can’t tell you how many times last night people were asking how they could listen to our music and within a few seconds they had pulled us up on their phone and favorited our album. Even 2 years ago they wouldn’t have been able to do that.
JD: The interesting part about it, especially with Spotify is that for a small independent artist, it can cost us $50-$100 a year just to have an album on there. So, it’s an expensive thing to do, but that’s something we’re more than happy to take on because we want people to enjoy our music for a long time. We do tell people that if they want to purchase our music, they can. Go to Bandcamp… we get more money that way. It’s going to cost the exact same, or you can pay what you want. People can consume it however they want. If they feel like supporting the band, they can. But, this is something that we’ve all put a lot of money into, and we’re happy to do it because it’s very much a passion project.
SR: We’re fortunate if 1,000, 2,000, 6,000 people own the album. That’s awesome to us. I think that we’re saying to people that if they like the album and really want to support us, you can buy a record and pay what you want for it. I think that with that prompt that we’ve given people, we’ve actually gotten a lot more revenue from kids that might not have bought it otherwise.
JD: We’ve never Kickstarted anything or asked for money. The independent publishing has always been something that we felt if we were going to do, we needed to take it on ourselves. We’ve had label offers before, but the control goes away when you take a record deal. These smaller labels are just not going to support our lifestyle in a way that we would want it to be supported. Once you sign that paperwork, that’s your job.
SR: That’s not to say that we wouldn’t be open to something besides Go Robo! Go! that wasn’t a passion project like this. I think for Go Robo! Go!, we’re so protective over creative control over this project; it would have to be a very specific set of circumstances for us to consider it.