Goatwhore – Interview with Ben Falgoust
March 14, 2018
Interview by Pete Mutant
Goatwhore were back in Glasgow at the SWG3 as part of the ‘Machine Messiah’ tour package which brought some massive names in the world of metal in Fit For An Autopsy, Obscura and the mighty Sepultura. It was a new venue to me but it was one that was easy to become fond of if not just a little bit out o the way compared to the city’s other music venues.
Time was short due to a very early opening to proceedings and I even missed a bit of the first act’s set whilst interviewing Ben Falgoust, the main man of Goatwhore. Ben has had a bit of a mix in fortunes on this tour, having broken his leg but also celebrated his birthday whilst on the road. Ben had his crutches by him as we found a more quieter spot to get on with the interview and discuss all hings Goatwhore and of the wider scene that they are a part of.
Full transcription of interview below:
PM: It has been an eventful tour so far, have you been enjoying it?
BF: Oh yeah, yeah not bad. A few little things happened but what can you do? Just keep forging forward.
PM: Few bumps on the road yeah.
BF: Yeah, something like that. It was like four shows in or something, yeah it was pretty crazy.
PM: You had your birthday as well didn’t you?
BF: Ah yeah, that happened just this past Sunday; that was interesting (laughs)
PM: Always is in another country…
BF: Always, yeah.
PM: So how does it feel to be back on tour in the UK?
BF: It’s good man, we played in Bristol last night. That was the first show for this tour and it was awesome. It was a real small place so it is was pretty crazy.
PM: Intimate as fuck, yeah.
BF: Oh yeah it was intimate. People were you know stage diving and stuff off of the stage.
PM: live that lack of security.
BF: Yeah, I don’t think you could have fitted security in that little space that was near the front of the stage but it was a good start to the whole thing.
PM: Yeah, I love that and we have venues like the Audio that have no security as well and it’s just pandemonium you know, people getting on stage and stage diving…
BF: Oh yeah it can be good like especially with this lady you know I had to kind of, I was kind of like overlooking everything and making sure that I didn’t get hit (laughs) but it was fun. It was fun, it was a good time.
PM: Everyone enjoys themselves that’s the main thing.
PM: So this package, we need to talk about it because it’s massive.
BF: Yeah there’s a lot of really good bands involved and everybody offers something different you know. I mean, I say that on a lot of tours but it seems like there are a lot of tours that are being put together like that instead of four bands sounding the same, the same kind of genre, it’s four bands within extreme metal or whatever you know. It’s like the various kind of genres within it (extreme metal).
PM: Especially with your last tours (UK tours) yuk now, Dying Fetus, Skeleton Witch.
BF: Yeah and all of that’s very good you know. It puts Sepultura fans that have never seen us, it puts our fans in front of other people; Obscura fans. No otter what, as much as you tour, you still haven’t played in front of all the people that are into extreme music. There’s so many band out there and so many variations that, you could tour for ten years and still not play in front of ll the fans that like all these different styles.
PM: And you have all these other generations coming into it as well.
BF: Yeah we have a whole new..a lot of these shows I notice that, a younger generation coming in. Some are coming toes Sepultura because of the background and you know how it started so many things and then they’re coming to see the other bands as well so its really good.
PM: And it’s a mix of length in terms of bands being involved in the industry like Fit For An Autopsy and Obscura who have been about for a while but not 20 years like a band such as yourselves. So there’s different cycles…
BF: You know being around a certain amount of time doesn’t mean anything, I mean there’s bands that pop up and are huge immediately and then there’s bands that have been around for twenty years and then all of sudden get this thrust. There’s been bands about for five years and they get this thrust and there’s been bands about for a long fucking time and never did fucking anything so I don’t really think, I just think that some of it’s luck or just how things are played out you know. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s controlled. Think in this business you can’t really control much, you know there’s only so much that you can kind of…you can’t let things get to young you have to just let things roll.
PM: I just think that it’s quite admirable to put those sort of packages together as you are mixing some older band with some younger band and you are getting that mix and with the fanbases and such as you get more dedicated fans from the new bands and you’re getting the old diehards as well…
BF: It’s just a shame when people do come out and they don’t stay to watch other bands, you know what I’m saying? Say if they come out for the second band ad they don’t stick around for the third or fourth band it’s just like you should stick around. You may not like it but you should see how things are headed or where they’re going you know and what kind of things are going on within a scene.
PM: It’s the experience after all, the whole thing from start to finish…
BF: It’s about the journey not the destination (laughs).
PM: Do you think you have seen an increase in stature in the last few years, you’ve got your seventh album out now…
BF: Oh definitely. Definitely like dong this over here because when first started coming here, it was a little rough you know. The audience here is definitely used to so much really good stuff. If you don’t come with 110% then you’re going to be like “I don’t know…” and I think because of the kind of band we are we do things, we do have that sort of like traditional black metal background but we have other stuff like death metal, thrash metal, things like that within what we do. And, I think sometimes that kind of makes a certain people, people of a certain genre will be like “I’m not really into that”. After a while people get used to it and they see that oh it’s an element of all these kind of ideas all blended in.
PM: I noticed that throughout ‘Vengeful Ascension’ that there was a bit of the NOLA groove like really coming through and the previous album as well. Bit of sludge but then again you get the black metal elements, death metal elements and a lot of thrash metal elements as well.
BF: I think sometimes that people are like, they’re like, I want to say elitists in a certain genre and they’re like “we don’t want to mix this, we don’t want to mix that” and I mean, it’s understandable. I think that’s how some things stay pure to a certain nature but after a while they do start to mix. Everything mixes: hardcore with metal, punk with metal, punk with sludge, you know all these different things start mixing and blending together. Then you get all of these like subgenres of subgenres of subgenres you know.
PM: I mean it all comes from a certain point but it’s natural evolution isn’t it.
BF: Yeah, of course. But, I do think that things have been improving for us out here and I think us focusing more on festivals stuff. Like two years ago we done Bloodstock and that was awesome, We’re coming back this summer to do some stuff so we’re trying to get that wheel rolling out here so that we can come back and do more things and get that impact and get people used to what we’re doing. You know this is what Goatwhore is.
PM: Do you think that you’re far away from a headlining tour in Europe?
BF: Yeah, I don’t think it’s quite there yet but I think things are moving really nicely at this point and people are a little more comfortable with us. I would say maybe by the next record possibly.
PM: I like the sound of that.
PM: So talking about talking about your latest record, it’s been out for almost a year now; nine months or so.
BF: Yeah nine months or so. Came out 23rd of June last year.
PM: That’s right, you know (laughs).
BF: I’m pretty sure I’m right on that one (laughs)
PM: So nearly a year on, how well do you feel it has been received?
BF: It’s gained a lot of really good feedback man. Like I noticed on bunch of these shows that a bunch of people, they know the lyrics. That’s something too when you’re playing like wherever, in Poland or Germany or something and they know the lyrics and it’s really fucking cool. So you know people are listening and that they’re into it. They know what’s going on with it. I can see a lot of that growth and it’s fucking really cool. People know the songs and you can tell when somebody knows the song and they’re watching it or listening to it for the first time. Because, I think the good thing about it is even when I do see people and it’s the first time, you can tell when someone’s interested in it and when they’re just like whatever. There’s a lot of people like really focusing in and are like interested in what we’re doing.
PM: Understanding it and getting more familiar with it. Again, it takes a lot of touring to get to that place like you are doing and have done for the last twenty years. As you said, some bands shoot to fame and a lot of bands have to slug it out on the road and it’s something to build upon always.
PM: What you looking forward to most then?
BF: Well getting this cast off my fucking leg.
PM: (Laughs) Yeah walking again on your own two feet.
BF: Yeah walking on my own two feet and not using these fucking things (crutches).
PM: Have the doctors been alright yeah?
BF: Yeah I mean everything was fine. It’s not something I’ve never been through before; I mean I’ve never been on tour and stayed on tour with a broken leg. Whatever, you know I guess it’s just things in life
PM: C’est La Vie. But, it’s an experience again. You’re going up there on stage and…I don’t know how you’re doing it but…
BF: Well, you’ll see it
PM: I’ll see it (laughs).
BF: I’ve got this case that I sit on.
PM: Ah, so not quite the Axl Rose throne then…
BF: Nah, I don’t have a throne. I tried to get them to send it but they wouldn’t do it (laughs)
PM: Maybe next time eh…
BF: Maybe next time. But you know, I am looking forward to just finishing this tour and hoping things grow at that point and coming back in the summer and doing stuff and out here and growing some more. And I think we are going to do some things later this year in the States, maybe even come back here.
PM: Plenty of potential isn’t there?
BF: Yeah. That’s when we’re hoping that a tour like this and then the festival stuff in the summer brings things up a little more and provides more interest
PM: And it’s variety as well because it’s a total different game doing the festival circuit then it is doing the tour.
BF: Yeah it is.
PM: So for the next album, has the writing process started?
BF: We’ve been throwing ideas around for the next album. Sammy has a bunch of riffs so we’ve been throwing some things. We’ve kind of put a skeleton together of a full song. It sounds really good and I like how things came out with it but it’s still a skeleton you know. Everybody has to sift through it.
PM: It’s a base point but. So just skeletons then, nothing concrete?
BF: Nothing concrete.
PM: Ah well…
BF: Just a bunch of little skeletons, but they’re all good.
PM: Yeah skeletons are good; skeletons in the closet are always interesting.
BF: Yeah of course.
PM: I was going to ask a bit about how this decade compares to your first decade but we kind of covered that a little bit. Now you are twenty years in, do you feel there’s a major difference in the way that you’re received when you play?
BF: Yeah not only that but I think people in the last ten years, people have gotten to be more open with all the subgenres and the mixing and all that stuff so some of the more obscure stuff and the people that are into certain ideas..it’s not fully gone and I don’t want it to be gone because you still need to keep the pure essence of certain things of good genres. And you got to have that around, you have to have people doing them and you have to have people into them. But you also have to have the subgenres too you know so I think it has opened up more with that because there are so many subgenres now and everybody is trying to do different things. Everybody is trying to find that different quest.
PM: Which is variety and it’s interesting because we can’t have everything stay the same.
BF. Well no because after a while it becomes stagnant and then it dies off so you got to have the variation thereto keep things alive. Like I said, I don’t want the traditional ways to be gone. I want them there still and I want bands to still do that. I want bands that are into that to be into it but I also want variation because it keeps the blood flowing in a sense, so it keeps things alive.
PM: In that sense there’s not really expectations because it’s a maelstrom and you never know what’s going to come. I think it’s a symptom of modernity. The mixing of this, the blending of that and ou are just getting so much more. All the bands that we grew up with or you grew up with are getting to the stage of retirement you know?
BF: Yeah, I mean if you stick with that and the bands die off then what do you have? And if you don’t support anything newer you don’t keep the legacy of that idea going.
PM: There’s a duality with fans anyways like you have Slayer who are retiring and everyone complains that “oh they’ve been doing the same thing for thirty years” but if they done anything different they’d probably get complained about as well.
BF: Well I think that some people just like to fucking complain
PM: I think so too.
BF:It’s like you know what, Slayer proved their shit. They really don’t have to prove anything else. Like when ‘Reign In Blood’ hit, that changed the game for so much shit and so it’s like they did that and altered so much shit and what else do you want form them. There’s so many people that still try to complete with that record and that record still holds up today in 2018 like there’s fucking nothing. All their records are really fucking good but I just remember being younger and when that shit hit there was a drastic shift. Me, my friends, everybody was like “holy shit, this is fucking insane”.
PM: Even for thrash metal at the time it was like “boom, what the fuck is this?”
BF: And you know what, they were a bit crossover too. Not only did long hairs like them but punk kids liked them and hardcore kids liked them. What they were doing and the element they were doing kind of brought that whole scene together.
PM: Gelled it. And that seems the problem, everyone gelling because you get that elitism and you get all these camps…
BF: Like I said, you’ve got to have them. Even though some people make fun of it. I think it’s a necessity, it’s all a necessity.
PM: As long as we can all get along and party that’s the main thing.
BF: Yeah, exactly.