YEAR OF THE GOAT (EN)

–  Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything going right now with YEAR OF THE GOAT with the release of your second full-length album?
Hello Tania, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. It’s been a busy time, lots of interviews, rehearsals, signings and all that comes with a new release. We’re very fortunate when it comes to reviews, we got a nice one from you guys, thank you so much, now we’re awaiting the most important part though, the recognition of the audience. The bigger the audience the bigger our chances are to come out and play shows and see more beautiful cities and people out there in the world.

 

– I don’t usually like to ask for the meaning behind bands names, but considering YEAR OF THE GOAT can have a lot of different interpretations I would like you to elaborate a little bit on the subject. Is it more related to the association of the goat to the Bringer of Light or maybe it has something to do with what the 8th position in the Chinese zodiac symbolizes? Both seem to fit the themes of the band.
We like that it can be interpreted in different ways, and yes it kind of fits with the Chinese zodiac as well. For us the idea came from the Judaeo-Christian tradition of separating the sheep from the goats and the idea of goats being opposite of the followers of Christ. The goat goes his own way and will not be herded  in the same fashion as sheep. We’ve had around 2000 years of Christian domination, with all the set backs that brought us, and we figured ”enough of the sheep bullshit, this is the year of the goat”. So basically for us it is about rebellion against the evils of Jahve/Yehova. Therefore the connection to Lucifer, who rebelled against a God, who is an evil baby killer, a genocidal maniac and a slavery endorsing oppressor of women, just to mention a few things wrong with the Judeo-Christian concept of a God.

 

– Now getting into your newest «The Unspeakable»; how satisfied are you with the final result? And how is its feedback being thus far?
We’re pretty satisfied, we feel we have created an album that made us grow artistically. The feedback from reviewers has been pretty sweet, but like I said before, reviews doesn’t really matter, of course they can boost ones ego, but in the end the only thing that matters is if we reach out to the listeners. Every single one of them is more important to us than all the good reviews in the world.

 

Year of the Goat promo 2015 209_bw– What I always loved about your music is how gentle, almost elegant sounds, and how you play with that to unleashe somehow «forbidden» topics. Did you have this particular idea in mind for the band?
The topics, at least on the previous album and the EP that proceeded it, revolved around Lucifer and that topic has to be treated gently. The bringer of light and progress is all about beauty. From the beginning we set out to make music we love, melancholic, sweet, atmospheric and dynamic. Lyrically it was a no brainer since we all gather round the idea of the true light and our interest in the darker gloomier parts of the artistic world.

 
– Musically the contrast between the elegant and somehow soft melodies and the overall dark and sinister sound/ambient is superb. How important or necessary are contrasts? As instead of diminishing the other details they enhance them.
For us contrast is very important, it sets and varies the mood. Dynamics can be so many things, not just soft or loud, it can be textures, airy or dense, minor and major, fast or slow, high or low, vivid or bland, dissonance or consonance, dirty or clean…and pretty much everything in-between. Well, yes, it’s important to us.

 

– Do you think this also fits your lyrics? As I have always thought they can be interpreted in different ways, as I have always felt like they are also quite symbolic, sometimes refering to earthly events. Is it actually like that or is it just my perception?
Your perception is as good as any. We hope every listener gets something out of the music and it doesn’t necessarily have to be what we get out of the lyrics. We want the lyrics to have more meanings than one and I’m pretty sure we haven’t thought of all the ways a lyric can be interpreted. If a listener cares enough to make their own interpretation of our lyrics we couldn’t be happier, that’s the ultimate payoff, to have someone care enough to be thinking while listening, thank you!

 

– In this field you seem to also be influenced by literature. What authors have been a source of inspiration for you?
There are many, we rather enjoy literature from the ”dark side”, Edgar Allan Poe to name one, but for this album, and the EP that proceeded it, it’s rather obvious where the inspiration lies, that is also the key to unveiling many hidden and not so hidden references in there. The really clever listener might also find the prophecy about the end times hidden between the some fifty-two minutes of music on it.

 

– Now if you don’t mind I would like you to comment a little bit on some songs that specially caught my attention. The first one was the opener, «All he Has Read», a 13 minute beast that somehow tells you how the album is going to head to with a lot of different elements, and also sets the mood painting pictures with the sound. How was this epic born?
In the darker corners of Thomas’ mind it began its journey into the world. From first being channeled as a riff, that inspired other riffs and moods, it turned into the track that sort of brings out the essence of this album for us. Lyrically we wanted it to be able to fit all other stories of the album, therefore it became ”All he Has Read”.

 

Year of the Goat promo 2015 174– Talking about such, you easily build landscape of sounds. Your sounds transports us to misty mountains, to open fields… What landscapes do you want to build and what kind of feeling do you want to convey?
In this particular song we went for a gloomy desert landscape, the roaming place for one certain ”Mad Arab”. With other songs, like ”The Emma”, we’re taken out on and appealingly endless ocean where the waves roll as she meets the wrath of an ancient cult. We like the music to portrait the setting for each story, and it’s great to hear we’ve been able to make it so. If we manage to create the setting for each scene in the music, then the lyrics can revolve a little less around that part of the storytelling.

 

– One that same style goes the closer, «Riders of Vultures». It feels like the circle is closed. It leaves the impression on the listener that we have been part of a journey and we are then back to the real world. Was this something you wanted to get?
You’ve been part of a journey! Thanks for embarking on it with us. Our ambition is to make albums that feels like one complete work, each song can be enjoyed alone, but we have a thought behind the whole album and are ourselves suckers for concept albums, so to answer your question, yes.

 

– In between there’s «The Wind», which I think has a certain Gothic Rock flavour. What could you comment on it?
When we wrote this song, we felt the verses needed the voice to be in a lower register and luckily Thomas has a rather vast range and it makes it possible for us to experiment a lot with vocal melodies. When it was done we felt it had a bit of a gothic feel to it, ”cool” was the word uttered when listening back to the first pre production of the tune. We try to be openminded in the process of creativity and follow our gut feeling rather than anything else.

 

– And then there’s «Black Sunlight», with a certain americana nuance, specially on the guitars. What’s the story behind this tune?
It was one of the first songs we wrote for the album, I don’t quite remember how it came to be, we had a demo finished of it back in 2013 that sounded pretty much like it does today. We like very much to experiment with different grooves and for this one it turned out this way. Don’t quite know what else I could say about it at this point.

 

– Maybe the elements you use aren’t new, but the way you blend them and make them one it is unique and new, creating something fresh yet without losing that honesty element but, what could you say sets you apart?
This question might be hard to answer without sounding too pretentious, but I’ll try. First off we look around us, but try to be inspired, instead of copying. We write everything out of the perspective of moment, what feels and sounds good to us at the moment is what is right. If this sets us apart from anyone else I don’t know. All we can do is to do what we do and be honest to ourselves and not try to chase some trend, what’s hip today is a train that has already left the station, no point in trying to catch it. ”Do what you feel like and let’s hope people will like it.” Could be some sort of motto.

 
– Anyway, even though you are often tagged as «Occult Rock», do you really think there’s a tag that can fit you?
We understand the need for genre or sub genre labels to enable communication between people, but we refrain to stick labels on what we do as far as possible. I read somewhere that we called our music ”occult doom”, but I’m not aware of any of us putting any label on it what so ever. People can call it what they like, hopefully it will work for their communication. Not important to us.

 

– After experiencing your new album I think everything on YEAR OF THE GOAT (not just on the new effort) works as a whole. Due to this I would like you to comment a little bit about the cover artwork and its link to the lyrics on the album and with the Year of the Goat promo 2015 099_bwoverall theme of the band?
After discussions with Russian artist collective ”Rotten Fantom” about the album and the kind of artwork we’d like, they presented this beautiful artwork to us. I’d prefer not to comment on the link between the artwork and the lyrics, it can remain a riddle for the clever to find out, it can make the whole album experience a little bit deeper for some perhaps. Like I said, we’re suckers for concept albums and there are several links between songs, artwork and other things in the universe.

 

– Anyway visuals, from covers to promo pictures, seem to be an important part of the band. How important are they? Why?
We have a rather clear idea of how we want our music to be presented and packaged, we feel the music has a certain feel to it and we hope the artwork and photos can communicate and maybe enhance the vibe.

 

– All this about «The Unspeakable» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Oscuro, melancólico y dulce!

 

– And finally, what are now your near-future plans?
We’re working with our booker on booking festivals for next year and also the work on the next album is slowly beginning.

 

– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Thank you Tanja for taking the time, let’s hope we get to come to Spain in a not too far distant future.

 

Tania Giménez
tania@queensofsteel.com

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