Goatwhore's Ben Falgoust Discusses Upcoming Album "Constricting Rage Of The Merciless" And Metal Alliance Tour.
A modernized, fancy van sat in the parking lot of Emo's in Austin, Texas. Goatwhore's Sammy Duet sat inside the van drinking a beer. The group's bassist, James Harvey, stood outside. Both gave a running commentary on the band's new album "Constricting Rage Of The Merciless," which raged through the van's speakers. Sammy told me that I didn't hear the album, so I there will be no descriptions of the album in this introduction, although I will comment on the track "Baring Teeth For Revolt" because the group premiered this song during their set.
I didn't approach Goatwhore's van to hang out and hear new tunes. I was there looking for Ben Falgoust to set up an interview time. The clearly visible members of Goatwhore sitting in an open van seemed rather inviting, at least for approaching the band for an interview. A man with long, blonde hair and goatee spoke with a European accent I couldn't place. I thought he was a member of Behemoth hanging out with Goatwhore. He actually was Archaon, guitarist of 1349 and the Goatwhore members were sitting in his group's van.
I learned this fact of van ownership during my interview with Falgoust a couple hours later. We discussed this massive tour that the band had only just begun. In the following interview, we also talk about the band's forthcoming full-length "Constricting Rage Of The Merciless."
Rex_84: Goatwhore has a new album, "Constricting Rage of the Merciless," on the rise. You have a way for fans to purchase it at your shows.
Ben Falgoust: Yes, the album comes out on July 8th. The thing we have now is a little bundle. It's a shirt that's exclusive. It will only be sold for this. Then there is a laminate thing that looks like a pass for a show. It has some art work on it; on the back there is code and a Web site address for Metal Blade. You go there, put in your mailing information, and then a couple days before the record comes out they mail you the record. So it's a sort of pre-order thing. And, as I said, the shirt is exclusive just to that. We're not going to redo it.
Rex_84: Are you playing any of the new material tonight?
Falgoust: Yes, one song from the new record. We were debating on doing some more, but then we were just like "The way the internet is and people throwing up videos, let's just do one for now. And then when it drops in July, we'll play more. We'll play like six more (laughs).
Rex_84: Do you play the same song every night or are you mixing it up playing other songs from the record?
Falgoust: We're just playing the same one every night.
Rex_84: What song are you playing?
Falgoust: We're doing "Baring Teeth For Revolt." That song is really metal, in the vein of Accept meets Celtic Frost. Of course! We've got to have the Celtic Frost! (video from separate concert)
Rex_84: You work with Erik Rutan again. Can you give us a few details about recording this album?
Falgoust: It's pretty much the same as the last three we did with him. Well, not really, we did do it on 2-inch tape, which is different than what we've done in the past. The relationship between us and Rutan is just awesome! It doesn't feel like you're going to record an album. It feels like you're going to hang out with your friend somewhere, even though when you get there, you do your part and it's down to business. Most of all, everybody is really comfortable with each other. We all know what we want to do, which direction we're trying to go in, so everybody is on the same page. Every record we want the same thing such as louder guitars but you can still hear the drums.
Rex_84: The production on the drums sounds really good.
Falgoust: We went for a more natural sound with it, especially recording on the 2 inch. We wanted way more natural tones with everything overall. We just wanted more and more of a solid feeling. Not only that, but there has always been this thing with records, especially metal records, if you want to raise the guitars up you lose some of the drums. Or you bring up the drums too high and it's like drums and vocals but the guitars are really low. So we've always been on this quest to even it out. You still have the guitars crunching through, but you can hear everything with the drums. This record really gets that big time. Everything just falls into place. I think that's something that Erik appreciates, too. He appreciates that we're always trying to push a different angle to things. If you look at past metal records, many records, big bands have done stuff where drums and vocals are on top and the guitars kind of sit back. To me, metal records were made for the guitar. I'm not saying the guitar should be the only thing. It's all a personal choice, but we're definitely a band that likes the guitar to come up, but not bury everything else. We want everything to cut through just as equal. I guess that's a task we've always thrown at Erik.
Rex_84: Do you think that comes through on this album?
Falgoust: Definitely on this album. I think the new one is really, really ruthless. I'm pretty happy, everybody is happy with the way it came out. It's funny because you get to the point where you record everything and then you get to the mixing point, and you get the first or second mix and you're like "it's not what we're looking for." When we got the mix from Eric everybody was like "yes," which is really rare because you usually have a lot of conflicting things going on. Maybe we had to tweak a few little things, but it was so fucking minor. Then when you get to the mastering, that's a whole other era of things. Mastering will change things, maybe drag the snare down a little too much, pull the guitars down or squash things depending on how much compression or if they use compression.
Rex_84: Don't you lose some of the sound quality when you compress drums?
Falgoust: Yes, so we had to make everything was good with that, too. With that, we went through a few different masters until we got the right one. We wanted to keep it as original to the mix as we possibly could.
Rex_84: What kind of tweaks do you need to do with your current mix?
Falgoust: It's done. Everything is finished. What you heard in the van today was the product. I wasn't there, so whatever you heard may be the mixed, un-mastered version. We have a bunch of mastered versions. The mixed version sounds great on its own, too, which no one will get to hear except you because they were sitting in the van when they did it.
Rex_84: Goatwhore is suppose to release a song in the coming weeks. Will this song be the one you're playing tonight, "Baring Teeth For Revolt?"
Falgoust: Actually, I don't know what song we're going to do yet. It's kind of up in the air. Everything just falls into place as we go along. We're not good at planning things, really, we just go with the flow. I think we're going to do one or two videos for the record. I think "Baring Teeth..." may be one of those videos, but I'm not sure about that. We're going through our songs and seeing which ones we want to approach for videos. We usually do a lyric video and then a video, but there is talk about doing a second video besides the lyric one. I guess we're trying to decide which three songs we want to roll out. It's so close yet so far away. July 8th is just around the corner and still trying to throw these things together (laughs).
Rex_84: Goatwhore came here as part of the Metal Alliance Tour. How is this tour going?
Falgoust: It's going amazing! This is the sixth show. We had two days off between Denver and here. Us, 1349 and Black Crown Initiate played in Kansas City and Little Rock. We do some off-day shows.
Rex_84: Are you playing a San Antonio show?
Falgoust: We played San Antonio before we started the tour. We did it last week. We did San Antonio and El Paso and then we started the tour in Phoenix or Tempe. I just say Phoenix, it's the same thing. We do shows to get out and to start, so when the tour ends in Seattle, we play shows to get home, instead of just driving home from Seattle, which is an exciting drive if you ever have to do it (laughs sarcastically). We're playing Missoula, Montana; Salt Lake City, Utah; Cheyenne, Wyoming--really obscure places. We have a bunch of Canadian shows for the Metal Alliance. We're playing Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver. It's going to be awesome! Really, this tour is in the early stages. It's doing great. Everybody gets along great. We're toured with 1349 in the past. We've toured with Behemoth in the past, so when you get back out with someone you've been with then it's right there in the pocket. You say to each other, "Hey, what have you been doing?" "We've been playing metal." "We've been playing metal, too." Cool, you move forward with it. Usually, the first day is hectic. Your time is off and everything, but our first day went smooth. From there, it just rolled the whole time. This tour has been really good. The crowds have been great. The response has been great. All the bands have been playing amazing shows, too. L.A. was sold out. Phoenix was sold out. San Francisco almost sold out. That room was huge. I think it was 1,600 capacity. It was a few from selling out. It might have sold out. I get different words on it.
Rex_84: What's after this tour?
Falgoust: Hopefully more tours. We're working on stuff for July--our record drops in July, and some stuff in the fall and onward into 2015. You know how we roll; we put a record out and then we just go. We do what we have to do. Once the record hits, we'll be out there when it drops and just continue at that point.
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