Goatwhore - Ben Falgoust

First of all, how is the leg and how did that all happen?

It’s doing alright. It’s been two weeks since it happened but it’s doing alright. It actually happened when the trailer door/ramp came down which is on a hydraulics system but that decided to give out and the whole thing came down on me and it trapped my leg. It threw me back where it came down so fast. It hit me on the head and the trapped my leg and it actually broke my leg. I was at the hospital in Rome for 14 hours. Luckily we made it out 2 hours before the bus call to Milan which I still played at but I’d say at first the 4 - 5 shows were pretty rough but I’ve been sitting on this case whenever I’m on stage, all the guys have been really cool so we work it out.

I’ve seen you guys a few times now and I can imagine it’s been hard for you to be limited to sitting on that case as your a pretty intense when your on that stage so I can imagine even a broken bone isn’t going to slow you down too much.

No it doesn’t but it keeps me in one spot now. Luckily it’s a small place tonight.

Some of the venues that you have taken in on this tour so far have been pretty big but this is a much smaller venue in comparison so it should make for quite the show with this diverse line up of bands tonight

Yeah there’s quite the mixture of what on offer in the extreme music realm and the crowds have been fucking awesome so far, they’ve been great so we couldn’t ask for any more. I would say that we are definitely playing in front of some new faces.

How do you feel that your latest album “Vengeful Ascension” was received by the fans?

I think it’s been received really well. Actually it’s been out 9 months now but it’s our first time in Europe and the UK on this record. We have already noticed people already know all the songs and they know the lyrics so you can tell they are proper Goatwhore fans.

Some people might even say that this is the strongest Goatwhore record to date.

For me personally I don’t look at each record like that. I look at each record as a growth and I still respect the last record. Some of these bands you read interviews with and they say that “we were so young and naive” but that’s part of it but sometimes when your young and naive, you don’t think about it so much and you just write some pretty fucking crazy shit and then as you get older and look back on it you are like “holy shit”. I definitely respect all those records as they have growing points and even the older stuff as there are some elements that are crucial to creating what we are as band today.

Was there anything significantly different during the recording process for this album?

We didn’t record with Erik Rutan on the new one. We recorded with a guy who comes out and does sound with us live called Jarrett Pritchard. He’s done like 1349, Gruesome and he did the new Exhumed so he does a lot of things but we wanted the impact of him in a studio. He knows how it comes together out of the PA in a live set so he could capture some of that coming out in a studio . We had Chris Common mix it. Chris Common does a lot of different stuff. He doesn’t just do all metal things so it added a bit of variation to it too as I think we have a rock n roll element mixed in with what we do so we wanted that approach to the mix to bring out the rock n roll elements.

What are you personally most proud about from this album?

I’m just proud of every single part of it. Everybody’s effort, seeing how everyone has grown as a musician, me as a song writer, how we intertwine and make things happen, it’s awesome. I think that when you get a little bit older you are able to see that. You can see how relationships have grown and how influences bounce off of each other. I might be into something and somebody else hasn’t really gotten into it yet but where I’m playing it a lot around them then they really start to take it in.

Who were your main influences behind you being in a band like Goatwhore?

Originally when it all kind of started influences were bands like Celtic Frost, Bathory and bands like that. They were the ones that spearheaded it big time. As you went along then others ones kind of came into play as where we grew up there were all kinds of extreme metal going on like thrash metal, death metal, hardcore and punk so all those things started to collide.

When Goatwhore was formed in the late 90’s, were there any other bands of the same genre in your home town?

Not really. We were kind of like the black sheep. We were definitely a little different from the others like Eyehategod or Crowbar and what those bands were doing so it was a little harder but it was cool because it was a bunch of dudes that were into that kind of stuff as we all grew up with Celtic Frost etc so it was a big part of all of our lives. As we were growing up we liked more of the newer black metal like stepping into the realms of Emperor and bands like that but we were still rooted to the traditional stuff.

Do you think it was harder for you guys to make it in New Orleans as you were the only band like that?

I don’t think that was really on our minds because by being younger we just wanted to do it and that was it. I think it’s where bands lose touch sometimes because sometimes you have go back and ask why did you do that originally. You didn’t know what you were going to get money wise, you didn’t know what you were going to get popularity wise, you did it originally because these are the bands you like and you want to do something like them.

I’ve spoken to Tom G Warrior before and he was saying about being the only band who played like that and how people reacted to it seeing as he grew up on a farm.

The thing about him and his era was that it was really obscure. There were people that sought after it because it was something new and something interesting and nowadays it’s hard to be something fresh and something new because everything has been done so much where at that time it was like “holy shit”. You didn’t have the internet, you didn’t have any of this shit so you were just passing around tapes to people. They were basically like the forefathers for introducing that kind of style into the realm of what’s going on which is cool, that was awesome, it’s amazing. Not only were Celtic Frost an influence to black metal but to death metal also. If you go back and read Paradise Lost interviews, they talk about how much of an influence “Into the Pandemonium” was for the whole creation of the doom, gothic style. I love Paradise Lost, I love Vallenfyre too.

Yeah I’m a big fan of Paradise Lost too and all of the different styles that they have brought us but I did love hearing Nick Holmes growl come back on the previous album.

Yeah definitely. I always felt it was so potent. Holmes had a really potent voice. When I was growing up it was always such a thing, such a recognisable voice, it was “this is” Paradise Lost. Not only that but Greg’s guitar riff, his tone and just the way he sounded but I agree the last two records sounded phenomenal.

Just now you touched on that there isn’t anything fresh anymore, do you think that there are too many genres nowadays?

I personally can’t keep up with everything and at my age too there are just things I listen to, things I know but I will go check things out if I see a lot of posts about something. I  might like it, I might not like it but it’s no big deal. People can’t expect us to like every single thing. We are all individuals.

There is one band more recently that have done something different and that is Batushka, have you listened to them?

Oh yeah Batushka. Yeah it’s different. It has a different approach. I think what is helping when we say it’s hard to be something new or unique, a band like Batushka can take something and the background heritage of a country and incorporate that into it as well which a lot of bands are starting to do that now, where back in the day everybody wanted to sing in English on everything but now a lot of these bands are singing in their native language and they are going into their native history which is awesome because it’s bringing out new level to expanding ideas.

I’ve spoken to a few black metal bands about that as they have some songs in English and some in Norwegian and it’s because they can get their true fellings across in their native language.

Yeah with bands like Taake, their songs are all in Norwegian and it’s a respectful thing that they can all go back into their culture and dig up stuff, older ideas, religious ideas, and bring these things out.

Why do you think that satanism is such a big part of black metal?

I thinks it’s because the idea of Satan or Lucifer has always been a rebellious thing and I think that extreme music has always been rebellious so I think it’s why it falls into that topic. I think a lot of people get it wrong, like this band is into Satan blah blah blah but if you look at a band like Behemoth and the intelligent angle that they present, how to go deeper into it. I tell people sometimes that when I was younger it was Satan but now it’s Lucifer. It evolved, it got smarter, there’s more to it. The story of Lucifer goes deeper than just  being satanic. Bands have delved past the idea of Christianity and the evil concepts beyond that like back to the Cabala and things like that so to me it’s getting smarter, they are going deeper and finding more and more people are writing more about it. I’m not like a satanist  but I do read a lot of occult and dark stuff like that because I’ve always been interested in it. I like to know about it and I like the knowledge from it too. Some people get it wrong when I have some lyrics for Goatwhore that are really thought provoked but I also have tongue in cheek lyrics like Satan. It’s more traditional to the early styles of black metal so it’s more tongue in cheek lyrics, throwing these ideas of what people think satanism is, like your cutting open this, your having sex with goats, so I’m playing into the scheme of things for people who like to fucking yap. You don’t go see a horror movie and the harass director and say to them “is there something wrong with you”. We are bands who have different things and different topics that we write about and so what. It’s a belief, it’s different things we believe in and it’s different things that we grew up with and evolved with and we want to put them down on paper, we want to put them within music and it represents the music in that fashion and they go together hand in hand. There are different impacts of Satan and Lucifer and different cultures on what represents evil and why is represents evil. Miltons Paradise Lost, he is always like an anti hero in the story. No matter what when he is at the bottom and he has got to fight his way back to the top, it’s like a story of life in a sense too. What we go through in humanity, sometimes we hit the bottom and we have fight our way back up. Some bands do take it more seriously than others and I respect that too. If that’s what you are into and that’s what you believe. It’s where a band like Batushka comes into full effect as they believe in something and it’s incorporated within their style, totally unique and it’s it’s own thing. When I was a kid you had bands like Morbid Angel and Deicide but now I think Behemoth brought that next level as there is something so much more intelligent about it and Nergal is really smart about everything, how everything is, what the lyrics are based on and the history behind things. When there’s not a band in that proper height in extreme music that doesn’t have dark lyrics or evil things, people poke fun but as soon as Behemoth get up there then people start to listen to it and think it’s cool, there’s groove etc but do you know what, this band has gotten the attention of people and people think that actually I’m going to read into this and see what it’s about so it creates this thing.

So how is the rest of 2018 shaping up for Goatwhore?

Yeah well we have the rest of this tour and then we will be back in Europe in July and August for some festivals.

Just thought I’d also ask what the current situation is with your other band “Soilent Green”?

I don’t really have an answer man as Tommy plays in Crowbar and Brian plays in Eyehategod so I don’t know. It’s always been something that’s a complicated machine. Everybody has their own thing and sometimes people butt heads a little bit. I’m at the point where if people want to do it then let’s do it. 

If you guys were to write and record new music then would you have stuff ready to use?

Whenever I write lyrics, I jot things down on my phone or on paper and do break things apart as in I think this will go more with Goatwhore or this goes more with Soilent Green because you never know what might happen in the future or I may even get into another band that’s kind of like Soilent but I need lyrics in that kind of sense so I still keep a lot of things. Even if Soilent isn’t writing anything then I will still think of lyrics and I will write them down because these might be important as you never know when they might be needed.

It's been great talking with you, I hope the leg gets better soon and enjoy the rest of the tour.