A few years ago, the Go! Team weren't so much a group as a one-man-band. Songwriter Ian Parton used to tinker about at his parents' home, turning out tracks that combined some of his great loves - cheesy cop show theme tunes, pop from the 1960s and the thrash guitar sound of US alternative rockers Sonic Youth. The meld worked. Critics loved his EPs Get It Together and Junior Kickstart and in 2004 Parton was invited to play Sweden's annual Accelerator Festival before thousands of people. 'I agreed to it, but I don't think they knew we weren't a band,' he says from his home in the English seaside town of Brighton. 'A few weeks before, I had to hustle a band together. I left messages on internet notice boards, asked friends of friends. It was by any means necessary.' With so little time before the Go! Team were due onstage, Parton's interview technique was to play all the applicants his music and ask them if they fancied bringing it to a live audience. He says there was no time for auditions, even for Ninja, the woman he chose to front the band as rapper and vocalist and who today is such a key part of the six-member group. 'Our first gig was before 2,000 people,' he says of their debut at Accelerator. 'We managed to bypass the playing to a few hundred people in the back rooms of pubs start that most bands have and go straight into festivals.' Parton was either lucky, or has excellent judgment. The five bandmates he picked - Ninja; Sam Dook, electric guitar, banjo and drums; Chi 'Ky' Fukami Taylor, drums and vocals; Kaori Tsuchida, vocals, electric guitar, keyboards and melodica (who replaced Silke Steidinger last year); and Jamie Bell, bass - launched the Go! Team to an audience that loved their fusion of musical styles and on-stage antics. The new blood and the fact that the Go! Team had musicians as well as samples and breaks to draw from changed the original music, but Parton, who has remained the songwriter, says he feels he managed to retain the Go! Team sound: 'basically my record collection melted down so it contains all my favourite things'. Rather than imploding under the pressure of quick success - their first album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004), was nominated for Britain's Mercury Music Award and sold more than 250,000 copies - the Go! Team are set to release their second album, Proof of Youth, this month. 'Three years on and we still don't know each other inside out,' Parton says. Most bands say their music is hard to categorise, but this is particularly the case for the Go! Team. The base of their sound is heavy with samples, but it encompasses anything from Phil Spector-type all-girl singers to hip hop raps, 70s funk, present-day thrash, cheerleader chants, television action show theme tunes and blaxploitation movie soundtracks. The band can move from exuberant pop along the lines of American pop/club funksters Deee-Lite to white noise a la Sonic Youth in the same track. All of this is further souped up when they play live by Ninja's freestyle vocals and on-stage energy, Tsuchida's love of the rock guitarist pose and Parton's determination to thrash. 'I like action in music - excitement in any way that it can be found,' he says. That level of colour and happiness isn't typical of the current British music scene. Bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Pete Doherty's post-Libertines squad, Babyshambles, document the grimy day to day. The likes of Snow Patrol or Coldplay tend to dress in black and pose moodily in press shots, not a smile to be found. Excluding Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse (who's becoming better known for her drug habits than her music), the scene is highlighting few females of note. Three of the Go! Team are women: Ninja, Taylor and Tsuchida. 'I'm proud that we've wriggled out of any scene,' Parton says. 'I'm not a fan of British indie music. It seems like everyone's trying to get Snow Patrol's producer to try and record their own indie anthem. It's very self-important, very earnest and very po-faced. To me they all merge into one.' Early listens to the album suggest that in Proof of Youth Parton has retained the Go! Team sound, but pushed it. 'There's more white noise,' he says. That's evident on tracks such as the first single, Grip Like A Vice, a bold tune that adds rap, garage rock and a catchy pop tune to the mix. 'This album's more kicky and ballsy in the drums department,' Parton says. 'There's more feedback, but at the same time it has some very bubblegum moments and some of it is all out 60s pop songs, but drenched in noise.' Parton's range of samples knows no bounds. For Proof of Youth he travelled the world gathering samples and took cuts from such uncool sources as music used for English schools programmes 30 years ago. Public Enemy's Chuck D features on Flashlight Fight, an urgent searing beat complete with sirens and 70s-style brass. MC Marina Vello from Brazil's Bonde Do Role is on the break beat/thrash/blaxploitation sound that is Titanic Vandalism. Amsterdam-based sample queen Solex, a favourite of the late British DJ John Peel, appears on the sunny Sesame Street-sounding Patricia's Moving Picture, and Washington DC's Frederick Douglas All Star Cheer Team on Keys to the City. Doesn't one lot of cheerleaders sound much like another? Not to Parton. 'I don't really like the image of cheerleaders,' he says. 'I'm not into pom poms. For me it relates more to a 'riot grrrl' kind of way of singing or Phil Spector all-girl group. I saw the All Star cheerleaders on YouTube and their voices are really cool. They have a cheeky, slinky way of delivering the vocals.' With Proof of Youth under their belts the Go! Team will spend the rest of the year touring Europe and the US. Although there are no Asia dates scheduled, Parton says the gigs they played in China this year have whetted their appetite to return. 'The gigs went stupidly well,' he says of the Beijing and Shanghai shows. 'People were stage diving and we had a stage invasion.'