Hello Goodbye Honolulu

The Journal sat down with the Toronto band to talk about being on the road

Goodbye Honolulu playing their set at The Toucan on Saturday.

In a quiet corner of The Toucan, Goodbye Honolulu’s Fox Martindale, Jacob Switzer, Emmett Webb (all guitar, bass, vocals) and Max Bornstein (drums, vocals) crowded into a booth, destroyed some hot wings and talked tour life with The Journal.

Their answer when I asked them to describe their sound in three words: “Loud, fun rock,” said Webb. “We’re not trying to bum anyone out.”

While they met at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts in Toronto, Goodbye Honolulu didn’t form until after their graduation in 2013. 

Last fall, Goodbye Honolulu made their Kingston debut at the house known as Margaritaville with an outdoor concert. “It was nuts. We played with our buddies, Fade Awaays and Bo Welland, and all these parties got shut down and a bunch a kids came and crashed the show,” Switzer said. “The police were nice.”

Goodbye Honolulu are on tour for the second time. Their first experience was with Hinds, a Spanish girl band, touring the Eastern United States last year. “They Instagram DM’d us about opening for them on tour,” said Webb. “They were the nicest people, and we played five shows with them.”

Their sound alternates between dreamy guitar riffs and loud, energetic, mosh-worthy rock songs. “We all listen to different stuff but as a group, we tend to make music that sounds most like Cage the Elephant,” Switzer summed up their biggest inspiration.

When asked about their childhood ambitions, the answers ranged from rockstar to video game designer. Switzer was quick to add that he no longer wishes to go to outer space: “It’s beautiful but like … where the weed at, you know?” 

Around 11 p.m. the crowd moved downstairs, the band disappeared and I made my way toward the stage to listen to Bo Welland’s upbeat set, Luna Li’s dreamy pop songs and finally the groovy, loud rock I was promised at the start of the evening. 

Dressed in mismatched overcoats, some without shoes, a pink satin bomber for Martindale and with fender guitars hanging casually in their arms, Goodbye Honolulu was off. With the addition of a bedazzled white cowboy hat, the band burst into song and the crowd exploded into the most intense mosh-pit I’ve seen outside a Nirvana concert.

In ten years, you’ll catch Goodbye Honolulu still making music together and running their Toronto record label, Fried Records. Their long terms plans include a tour in Europe. “We want to be able to see the world through music,” explained Webb. 

“I’m either going to be homeless or dead … or rich as fuck living it up,” was Martindale’s prediction. 

“I’ll definitely be dead or homeless,” Webb said, polishing off the last wing.

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