THE GOOD NATURED

You won’t hear Sarah McIntosh complaining about the demise of the record business. When she started The Good Natured, she ignored the industry and set out to do things on her own. She created the band and became their manager, publicist and booking agent, as well as the lead singer, songwriter and keyboard-player.

“When I was 17 and starting The Good Natured, I recorded demos in my bedroom,” McIntosh said proudly. “I burnt them by hand, onto hundreds of CDs and sold them on MySpace. I also sent them everywhere I could think of. One copy went to Huw Stephens [a DJ at BBC’s Radio 1], and he played it. I was in the car with my family when we heard it on the radio. I couldn’t believe it. I decided then and there that I didn’t want to do anything else.”

McIntosh grew up in Highclere, a small village in Newbury, Berkshire, surrounded by the sounds of her parents’ record collection, which was heavy on Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, Japan, Siouxie and The Banshees and other synth-pop bands. When she was 15, she rescued a Yamaha synthesizer from her grandmother’s trash bin. “I found her old keyboard by the back door, ready to be thrown away. I was horrified; it looked so cool. She told me she couldn’t play anymore because she had arthritis. I asked if I could keep it, and she let me take it home. I messed around on it for a couple of years before writing my first songs.”

Her younger brother Hamish was playing bass, inspired by the same records she loved, so she enlisted him. “To begin with, it was just me, playing keyboards and singing on the demos. When I got live shows, Hamish started playing with me. Live bass brought in a different element.” While she was booking live shows and sending out demos, McIntosh was attending Westminster University in London; but after getting radio play, she quit to pursue music full-time. “I did meet George (Hinton, the band’s drummer) at university, and adding live drums brought in something new and exciting. Our sound has changed a lot over the last four years, and working with lots of amazing producers has helped us define our sound.”

Between 2008 and 2010, The Good Natured put out three self-produced EPs: Warriors, Your Body Is a Machine, and Be My Animal. Stephens played them all on Radio 1, and McIntosh was tireless in booking shows, playing hundreds of club dates that kept the band in front of the public. Earlier this year, one of her handmade demos made its way to Swedish producer Patrik Berger (Robyn, Tove Syrke). He looked up McIntosh, and they started writing songs together. Berger helped get the band signed, and they made their major label debut earlier this year with the Skeleton EP.

McIntosh sings with unbridled emotion, delivering bright pop melodies that support lyrics full of steamy sexuality and dark, unfathomable passion. “I write about my own experiences, but I love people-watching. When we’re playing live, I like to get out into the audience and sing to people.”

She’s also developed a distinct visual style: part Goth and part high fashion. “We just wear stuff we like. It all fits together naturally, no designers involved. I see style as an extension of the music; it’s another way of expressing yourself.”

TEXT BY J. Poet
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Daniel Sanwald

THE SPRING ISSUE


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