– Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What’s currently keeping GOATWHORE busy? Much promo going on prior to the release of your new effort?
Ben : Things are going rather well. The album is doing good and getting a bunch of great feedback. We just completed a US tour that started with Lock-Up then connected to 2 weeks with Hate Eternal and Fallujah, then connected once more with Dying Fetus. We are about to start our European/UK tour with 3 Inches of Blood, Angelus Apatrida and Havok labeled the Long Live Heavy Metal Tour. We recently had a video release for the track «When Steel And Bone Meet» that we did back in late January. We also have a festival tour set in the US called Summer Slaughter after the Euro run.
– «Blood for the Masters» is your first album with James Harvey after the Nathan’s departure. What has James brought to the band?
Ben : James is an excellent bass player and adds a different approach to the writing structure. He works really well with Sammy and Zack on organizing and structuring elements
– Once more you’ve gone for Erik Rutan’s production. Why him again? What has brought to the GOATWHORE’s sound?
Ben : Why not? It seems our chemistry has been working well since we did a «A Haunting Curse» with him. We all work well together and he has such an amazing ear for detail. He is also really good at pushing you to supply your best performance possible. Sometimes you need that extra shove to take it to the next level and he is just the person to do that. He is amost like the 5th member of Goatwhore when we are in his studio with him.
– In fact you are still keeping the guitar sound in front of everything, and with the importance guitars have on the band I guess this may be something important for you guys, as this is even a more guitar driven album than your previous «Carving out the Eyes of God»…
James : The guitars are thick as ever and very important. Sammy was definitely going for the ‘wall of guitar’ sound. The bass was recorded with a more dirty and thick tone than the last albums as well. These days it seems most albums come out with all drums and vocals, and thin and weak guitars. We wanted this album to be the answer to that…
– In fact, still taking about the production, I think its something that has made the band stand out all over these years, as your basis is traditional Metal and on my eyes you draw inspiration from great Metal classics, but you are not a «retro» band and have a cleaner production. Do you think this has something that has helped building your own personality?
James : Yes, definitely. Goatwhore is definitely not a ‘retro’ band and we don’t really fit 100% into any one style. We do have a basis in traditional metal as well as other styles. Clean, thick, and heavy production is important to us. The end result should be a wall of sound, not unlike a bulldozer!
– The album’s title is so «Metal», as the album itself, and I think this time nods to mighty bands as CELTIC FROST, VENOM or MOTÖRHEAD among others are more obvious… Are these those «masters» maybe?
Ben : Master in the record title is a very open term. In represents many things within our music. The long years we have put our «blood» into what we do and the influences that have assisted in our goal in that stand. It has meaning within our beliefs, lyrical content and the way we approach what we do as a band. It is a simple title, but a very definitive representation of everything that represents this band from day one.
– In fact when I reviewed the album I stated about «When Steel and Bone Meet» is something MOTÖRHEAD would create if they were an extreme Metal band. What are your feelings on this? Have they been an influence to you?
Ben : Motorhead has been a great influence on us, as well as many other legendary Metal bands like Judas Priest, Venom, Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath and the list goes on.
James : That is a great way to put it actually. We love Motorhead and their catchy, heavy, and consistant style. They are a classic band and have been an influence in some way or another to all of us. In fact we just covered ‘Don’t Need Religion’ off “Iron Fist” for Decibel Magazine flexi-disc. This album is 20-something years old and still rules.
– The album is 100% GOATWHORE (yet trying some new things her and there), but is simply overwhelming the way each song is different without being complex though having a superb technique. Each tune has its own elements and, surprisingly enough, everything sounds honest, straight-forward and flows really nicely. Is your songwriting as honest as it sounds?
Ben : I would say it is 100% honest. We write songs we enjoy and that we like playing. We have always been like this. We are crucial about what passes as a song, but in the same breath we are not restricted by our past.
– Moreover each track has its own atmosphere. Is this something you take care of?
Ben : Everyone in Goatwhore has their own individual influences within extreme metal and heavy metal in general. We all like different styles within this genre and it tends to come out when we put the ideas together in the writing process. The variance adds a unique approach to the atmosphere of what we do as a band and gives an intense approach to our songwriting and live show. With the variances of influences it assists the difference within each track but still allows us to give it that Goatwhore sound.
James : The songs really evolve over time, some things change and some things are added. They are strong songs and thats why I think they have their own ‘atmosphere’. We did some interesting guitar/bass work on some things and of course tons of guitar solos, which help add to an atmosphere – as well as subtle vocal lines, etc.
– It seems like the songwriting is something you work on carefully, as beside being great we can find a great balance between brutality and melody or even catchy rythmns. Is the songwriting process something that «studied» (so to speak)?
Ben : The songwriting process is a very focused and mind straining phase. We like the material to be a good feeling for us, but at the same time we want to be very pleased with the final outcome. We never try to over extend ourselves on technical approaches and love the simple approach of a strong riff. It is all about what the final song feels like internally for ourselves first and foremost.
James : It has evolved and takes practice over time to be able to come up songs with varied and balanced parts, like you say between brutality and melody. We wanted it to remain interesting and keep the listener on edge so to speak.
– I said you have tried new things on the album, but I could elaborate a bit saying it seems like you are still shaping your very own sound. Have you found your actual sound or is there always room for evolution?
Ben : There is always room for an evolving process. We don’t want to jump too far in that process and end up in a step too far ahead. We have a very gradual thing going on and it works in our favor. I personally feel we can always take one more step in evolving as a band with each record. I would hate for things to stagnate and become boring. It is about inventing, or even re-inventing ideas, to come across new paths in our development as a band.
James : Always room for evolution, within the confines of what makes us ourselves. There has always been a somewhat different sound with each new album but it you can always tell it is Goatwhore. I say this as a long time fan of the band before I joined the band.
– I have never been able to describe your musical foundations, as you have always been mixing Thrash, Heavy, Black, Death Metal… What could you say is your musical basis?
Ben : Pretty much Heavy Metal. We get labeled differently in metal genres, such as Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash, etc. We hate to be painted into a corner, but understand it is a necessity for people to put music into categories and sub-genres.
James : A mixture of the aformentioned metal styles…individually we listen to all of the above and have pretty diverse but obvious tastes and influences.
– You are hailing from New Orleans, which has a great Rock/Metal scene. Anyway, most bands from New Orleans seem to have a more bluesy approach, maybe this makes things easier for an extreme band like GOATWHORE?
Ben : We just do what we enjoy. We are a bit different then other New orleans acts, but that can be a good thing for us. At times it will make us stick out like a sore thumb.
James : The New Orleans metal scene has always been known for the ‘sludgy’ style of music, with bands like EYEHATEGOD, etc. One could make a parallel to some of their and the genre in generals’ riffs to being derived from blues. But then again you can also make those parallels to Black Sabbath and Motorhead and almost any other seminal rock/metal band…
We are different from the normal ‘New Orleans sounding band’ but with some of those ‘sludgy’ parts still mixed in.
– Well and finally, you will soon start a tour around the States but, aren’t there any offers or plans of touring Europe?
Ben : We are about to do a tour of Europe/UK with 3 Inches of Blood, Angelus Apatrida & Havok in May. Hopefully this will lead to some more touring of Europe for us to return in the fall.
– That has been everything from my side, thanks once more for taking the time. If you now feel like adding some final thoughts; last lines are all yours.
Ben : We appreciate the interview and the support for Goatwhore. Hopefully we will cross paths in the near future. Please check out www.goatwhore.net for any further information on touring, merchandise, and any other internet associated implements for us.