Goatwhore interview (02/2012)
|Conducted by:||Doc Godin (e-mail)|
Doc: Comparing Carving Out The Eyes Of God to A Haunting Curse, it seems like you guys had really made an album closer to a groovier, black n roll type sound, is this a continuing trend we're going to see you delve deeper into with Blood For The Master?
James: Yea, there is a fair amount of that style on Blood for the Master - I'd say about the same amount as Carving… There is also a lot of fast stuff on this album, including a few real rippers. The whole thing is varied and intertwined.
Doc: Reading past interviews from a couple years ago, you spoke about different influences like Bathory, Celtic Frost, Venom, I've even seen Anthrax mentioned once or twice. Have there been any new bands that popped up onto your radar during the writing for "Blood For The Master"? (Or old bands that you didn't bother listening to until now?)
James: Well, we all love Motorhead…We just did a cover of 'Don't Need Religion' for Decibel Magazine. I'd say Motorhead was on the radar during the writing of this album, as well as the usual 'Frost, etc. A lot of it though sounds less derivative of the usual influences this time around, in my opinion at least.
Doc: Carving... was an album that was all about short, hard blasts that cut right to the point. With Blood For The Master are you going to be following that same route, or is there going to be different/new elements that require longer songs?
James: We manage to keep the songs pretty short and to the point, even with new elements present. I don't think you'll ever see a 9 minute 'epic' Goatwhore song. We lose attention and I think the listener would too. The songs on this album cut to the chase.
Doc: You've also decided to stick with Erik Rutan as producer, just like the last 2 albums. Have his production methods changed at all with this album, or is it more of a "if it ain't broke - don't fix it" sort of mentality?
James: Working with Rutan is great because he drives the best performances out of us, and really helps make sure everything sounds right and good. If I needed help or feedback he always had something constructive to say, and the same goes for all of us. The recording process (to my knowledge) was pretty much the same as the last record. He has a very nice studio in a great location. We just went in as prepared as possible - that is the best way to make sure everything goes smoothly. We did try some guitar accents/ harmonies and a few things that hadn't been done on previous albums, and his ear was very helpful in making sure it came out the best it could have been.
Doc: You're also continuing to do your recordings in Florida. Now that the aftermath of Katrina is looking up, do you guys ever see yourselves recording in New Orleans again? Or are things still messy down there?
james: New Orleans has pretty much made a full recovery…The city wasn't batting a thousand to begin with. There is really no reason to record in New Orleans - Rutan's studio isn't there! We prefer to get out of town to record anyway - It is easier to remove yourself from home life and focus on the task at hand when you are not going home every day after the recording session. It also motivates us (Sammy, Myself, and Ben) to stay productive and practice in the studio while Zack is recording and during mixing, etc.
Doc: How does the whole theme of Blood For The Master differ from the last album? (Lyrically speaking)
James: There is not really much of a difference. Overall it is an abstract and hateful message which is pretty similar to the last album. Really the lyrics are not my department.
Doc: Carving... seemed like the real breakthrough album for you guys, making you much more of a household name. Now that you're a much more widely known band, has the whole recording process gotten easier, or is there more pressure now?
James: Of course there is always going to be pressure to create a better album, or at least 'pt. 2' of a good album (which in my opinion, Blood for the Master is not Carving pt. 2, but an entity in itself capable of standing on its own feet). I don't really think being more well known influences the writing or recording process….if we are not happy with it then we will work on it until we are happy with it. We did filter through a lot of material to refine what was recorded on Blood for the Master - Everything was closely examined and had to make the cut in our own eyes.
Doc: What about touring - have things on the road been getting easier with your name now being bigger, or is that just numbers the record company likes to wave around?
James: The band has been on a pretty steady upswing over the past couple of years. I have seen some cities that we have played a few times over the last 3 years start to come around with more people coming out and getting into it. We tour a lot so it is pretty much second nature to us, and you have to take the bad with the good on the road. It definitely makes things easier when the shows are good - not only for financial reasons but for morale as well - although we still get up and bash it out regardless. Gotta let out that aggression onstage!
Doc: Now that Blood For The Master is only a few weeks away from its release, and us press vultures have got our grubby hands on it, is there any part that you overlooked during the recording that you wish you did differently, or you'd want to change in retrospect?
James: No I can't say there is. We went through a lot of different mixed versions before getting it exactly right. As far as the material goes, there isn't anything we would change. That was all ironed out during the 6 months we spent writing the songs before going into the studio.
Doc: So for everyone out there who hasn't listened to you guys yet, and are going to start with Blood For The Master, what is THEE song they have to check out? I know it's probably tough to decide, but what song off the new album stands out the most for you? Which one are you most proud of?
James: I think 'In Deathless Tradition', 'Judgment of the Bleeding Crown' and 'Death to the Architects of Heaven' are all really cool songs. It's really hard to narrow it down to just one song, three is the best I can do right now! Also the last song on the album - it's a real ripper with some stuff that is similar to the old material from the first album. Very cool song and very intense.
Doc: I've seen you guys stop through Calgary a few times over the years, and there is always a very stripped-down sort of quality to your set. Pretending for a moment you had a sold out stadium and an unlimited budget, what type of outrageous stage show would you put on?
James: I don't think we would do anything too 'outrageous', but it would be very cool to have a big production with lots of cool lights, large backdrop, pyro…you know, a traditional heavy metal show! Similar to the Judas Priest Live 82' video….lots of room to move around, but I would prefer the crowd not be 30 feet away. I like it when the crowd is right there and you are in their faces.
Doc: Goatwhore seem to have a very direct sound, is there any other type of music you'd want to record in the future, but just wouldn't fit into the Goatwhore sound?
James: Well, all of the members at some point or another were/are involved in other projects…So yes, we do different stuff that sometimes doesn't fit into the Goatwhore sound. Sammy and I had Ritual Killer, a stripped down, raw, all blasting black metal project, as well as other projects individually…Ben of course has Soilent Green, and Zack is involved with a new project called Doomsday.
Doc: 2011 saw 2 releases from 2 veteran bands; Metallica's Lulu, and Morbid Angel's Illud Divinum Insanus, both almost universally regarded as absolute garbage. As a metal musician, what do you think drives an artist to consider making something that embarrassing?
James: Well, without commenting on the aforementioned releases (I haven't even heard 'Lulu', and I've only heard a few songs from Illud…), I will say that I think this is just a case of trying to put too much emphasis on 'artistic expression' and experimentation rather than being what these people are (or were), which is metal musicians. I don't really know what makes people put out shitty music in general, especially if the band was once good…lack of creativity or too much creativity in a sense could be to blame.
Doc: That wraps things up. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Any last words for the Metal Storm readers?
James: I hope everyone checks out Blood for the Master…we are really proud of it and so far have had a great time playing some of the new material on the road. Hopefully we will be your way again this summer…see you on the road.
||Posted on 17.02.2012 by Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.|
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