Monday, July 13, 2015
Interview: L. Ben Falgoust II of Goatwhore
Two Guys: You’re from New Orleans. Why don’t you play slow?
Ben: Because I always felt like I needed to do something different than everyone else. [laughs]
TG: So you just listened to Crowbar and decided to go the other way?
B: No, no, it was just that there was a couple of, y’know me and Sammy and everything, in the earlier days, we were into thrash metal, more grind-type stuff. Necrodeath stuff, Venom, Celtic Frost, Bathory, things like that, and then we listened to more grindcore stuff like Napalm Death, so we, while that scene was hitting on slower stuff, we just wanted to do the quicker shit. I mean, we write some slower, dirgier stuff but most of the time we import some kind of more upbeat, either it’s a d-beat or it’s grind stuff that we do.
TG: Your latest album came out last year. What prompted this tour?
B: Well, I mean - what’s today’s date? July 8th? Today’s actually a year since the record came out. So it’s not that old, really, with how records come out. We had toured a bunch last year, did some different tours: we did Metal Alliance with Behemoth, 1349 and all that, and then we did - did we do Summer Slaughter last year? I don’t even remember all the tours. Everything was just stacked...so we did, yeah, we did Summer Slaughter, then we did some shows with Samhain, on the east coast and the west coast, and then we did Europe with Dying Fetus and Fallujah, and then, this year, we started off in March by going to Australia for two and a half weeks with Psycroptic, and then we went from there to Europe, did Europe with Skeletonwitch and Mortals, and then came home, did things through the weekends in May. We planned out doing a headlining run, and bringing out a bunch of bands that were more associated in extremity with us, but unique to their own essence as well. So that’s how we come up with Black Breath, Theories, and Ringworm to kind of drag across the U.S. with us.
TG: So this was planned since the record came out?
B: Well, it started to get put together, to do a headlining run, in maybe September of last year. The idea was being thrown around, things were being put together, and, as the months passed, we kind of solidified things, solidified bands that were interested in doing the tour.
TG: Yeah, great choices. You chose the bands?
B: Yeah, we threw a lot of band names together on a list and were throwing ideas around and things. We definitely wanted that. Being in this business, you get a lot of push from other people, the music politics per se, and they want you to bring certain bands out. Somebody wants to scratch somebody’s back, whatever, however the scheme is. We just wanted bands that would kind of fit in with us a little bit more and instead of, say, some band that didn’t necessarily fit, and somebody was doing somebody a favor, y’know?
TG: How are you able to put out albums so consistently, every other year or every third year?
B: I think we got quicker. On the first couple records, it was like three years in-between, and now we kind of slimmed it down to two years, but we don’t really look at the time-restraint or anything like that, and we’re not pressured to do anything faster, so we just, when we get time, we go home, when we’re not on the road for a little while, we get together and we work on things and we write stuff. It just kind of unfolds the way it does. We don’t sit there and think “Alright, this is when things have are gonna happen by and we gotta get it done” because we don’t wanna put this pressure on the music we write. We just let it kind of go along. With the last two records, I think writing went really good. We’re kind of sinking more into our own, our own sound and everything. We still have our major influences for sure, but we’re creating more of what the sound of Goatwhore is.
TG: Yeah, it seems like, since Carving [Out the Eyes of God], you’ve been doing what Motorhead does, where you know who you are and you just keep doing that.
B: Yeah, yeah, yeah, and, every now and then, we inject something a little different. Maybe not necessarily on purpose, but because our influences shift like anyone else’s. Y’know, the years go by, you’re listening to different things and then you also go back to older things that you kind of put off to the side for a little while ‘cause you’re listening to newer stuff that comes out and you’re trying to keep up with things that are going on. You get influenced subconsciously by that too and it comes out within your writing, even though you’re not saying “This is how I’m gonna make things sound”, it just tumbles out with everything. Not only that, but when you were younger and you heard a record, it’s different than when you’re older and you go back and listen to it again because you hear it differently, especially playing music and being, like...a musician, I guess, you listen to it and you hear elements in it as a musician, rather than just being a young kid and going [dumb-guy voice:] “Oh, this is fucking awesome! Let’s eat pussy and drink beer! Let’s eat pizza! Let’s act like fools and go fucking headbang!” but then when you get a little older, and you’re doing this kind of thing, you stop and you go “Oh, damn! I didn’t really realize this record, but now I see it from a different angle,” and that in turn influences a certain perspective as well.
TG: Are you the lyricist?
B: Pretty much the majority of them.
TG: Word. Before reading them, to prepare for this, I always thought you talked about Satan the way, say, Venom does, but it seems as though you’re really plugged into this stuff. Is that accurate?
B: Well, yeah, I’m - We definitely have songs that are more tongue-in-cheek, per se, but then we have songs too that are a little bit more in-depth. Personally, when I was growing up, I was really into the dark arts. I read about a lot of things. It’s always intriguing. When you look, especially nowadays, there’s so many variations of things. Even with Blood for the Master, I got really interested in death-cults, the whole Santa Muerte in South America, where they worship Death as a high thing, and there’s even cults that are more leftist about it and the worship Death as the higher power, like there’s no god that’s higher than Death. He has the power to reap all.
B: So, there’s all these different things and when we were doing Blood for the Master, I got really intrigued by that and I kind of delved into it a good bit, so a lot of stuff was focused in that vein. I’ve always been into those things and I like to read about things and research a lot of stuff, so I don’t want it to just be basic. But, then, like I said, we have tongue-in-cheek, Venom-y stuff like that too, Motorhead-kind of ideas, because we’re not - I mean, we’re serious about what we do, but at the same time, we wanna have a good time. We want people to have a good time. We don’t want you to come to the show and then we’re gonna preach to you on what you need. You’re coming to the show to get away from all the bullshit for an hour or three hours that evening to come see bands and enjoy yourself, so we don’t preach, y’know? If you’re into it, cool. If you aren’t, no big deal. I don’t really have an issue with anyone’s religious structures. I don’t follow any type of it, that’s for sure, but overall I definitely don’t want somebody preaching to me.
TG: So you don’t do it to them. Cool.
B: Yeah. It’s about having a good time, basically. Heavy Metal and a good time, two things that go together. It’s like whiskey and ginger ale, like a mixture for the party.
TG: Which is my favorite mixed drink, incidentally.
B: Nice. Awesome.
TG: Looks like those are all my questions. Anything else you wanna say?
B: This tour’s been really good. We’re almost at the end. We finish up Sunday in Atlanta. We play tonight here in Philly. We play D.C. tomorrow and then we cut down to Nashville, Tennessee, and then Columbia, South Carolina, and then Atlanta, Georgia, and then it’s done. We’ve been out since June 5th for this. So I have to say that everything’s been smooth and great. All these other bands are fuckin awesome. It’s something to witness. Theories, Ringworm, Black Breath, all these other bands are really good at what they do, so the whole show is just intense, impactive kind of situations.
TG: Definitely. Do you think your being tour manager and band-chooser has to do with that smoothness?
B: Well, not really. We, universally, choose together, The only reason why I do tour managing out here is, on this scale of being a band, you don’t need to pay some cat who comes in, collects money, and hands in a guest list, know what I’m sayin’? It’s just unnecessary. I mean, some things do get hectic, sometimes things go a certain way and you’ve gotta try to organize it or whatever, but, overall, all these bands are self-sufficient. This is just that kind of level where these bands, they’ve always been D.I.Y. and do things internally so you don’t have to worry about it too much. Everybody’s self-sufficient. It’s easy.