Interview with Ben Falgoust of Goatwhore
Goatwhore has been relentlessly touring since the release of their amazing album "Carving Out the Eyes of God." Off of the DevilDriver Tour and about to begin the Behemoth Tour, Goatwhore played one night in their hometown of NOLA, where I was able to have a chat with the incredibly enertic vocalist Ben Falgoust, and we discussed working wiht Erik Rutan, having fun with Suffocation and the Who Dat Nation. A transciption follows the videos below.
Buick Mckane: Welcome home.
Ben Falgoust: It’s pretty good, actually. We’ve been gone now since January 7th maybe. Actually, it’s cool because we got to pass through the day the Saint’s were playing the Superbowl, and we got to stop in New Orleans for that evening.
Buick Mckane: What did you do when you found out that they won?
Ben: Well, we were home. We got to come witness all the fucking chaos down here. We were sharing a bus with Suffocation, so one of the guys Frank the singer was hanging out. And after it happened, he was drinking during the Superbowl and everything. I brought him down here to see the fucking madness that broke out, so. It was actually cool to be here during the whole experience.
Buick: I met Frank. He’s a cool guy, so
Ben: Frank’s a good guy. Did you meet Frank or did you meet Frank the Tank? Because he’s got like an alter ego when he drinks a good bit.
Buick: I met the nice one.
Ben: Well it’s nice either side, but when he’s Frank the Tank, if you rub him the wrong way, it might be a bad experience.
Buick: Well, we were drinking with him, but he had not yet gotten really drunk, so.
Ben: All the guys in Suffocation are great, man. We had never been on a bus before, and to share with them for the first time being on a bus was pretty much awesome, I think. They were all really good individuals. No problems. You hear these horror stories about bands sharing busses and not getting along with the other band. But we all got along really good. I mean, you have wound up nights, that’s a given. But, overall, everybody just worked together really well.
Buick: That’s awesome. Well, you’re latest album “Carving Out the Eyes of God” is very, very successful. Everybody loves it. I gush about it constantly myself, but what accomplishments did it have?
Ben: Um, we never really went in, like, with the idea of creating something, you know. We just had this basic idea of what we wanted to do, and what we like to do. You know, it wasn’t like this thing set out, “Hey, we’re looking to hit the market like this,” or, “We’re looking to appeal to these individuals.” We just went after stuff that we liked, you know. And with every record, you’re just trying to improve, and, whatever, sound-wise, music-wise, things like that. So, it’s all part of the cycle of the growth of the band, too. And we tour a lot. Obviously, you can see, we’re always on the road. When the record comes out, we’re for, like, a year to two years. Just steadily touring for it. And, you know, it’s awesome. It’s got a lot of good response and feedback. It’s made a lot of top ten lists. When it first came out, in its first week, it made the top Billboard 200 chart and everything. So it’s really cool, but, you know, it definitely does put us in a position where, when we go in for the next record, that there’s achievements that we kind of need to build on to overcome that one. Not saying that we’re going to change our style for anyone or anything like that to make things, like, more appeasing. But definitely, internally, within our own writing and everything that we want to improve and get better as a band. So things like that just kind of assist, and make you work harder towards a goal and go for that goal.
Buick: Do you have any idea yet how your sound could improve?
Ben: Um, I guess in different ways. It’s hard, man, because on “Carving,” the recording’s really good. We’re really happy with how the whole recording came out. I mean, I guess you could always improve, but sometimes you don’t want to examine it too much because you could end up moving backwards with it. And I don’t think right now we really examine a lot of things with it. I think we’re just touring right now and doing things, and we’re kind of talking about what we’re going to do for the next record and getting ideas together, and stuff like that. But usually, because we’re on the road so much, we don’t get to really lock in a lot of ideas because every day’s crazy. It’s like drive eight hours to a city, play a show. Everybody’s up all night drinking and doing things. Go to sleep at six, seven, eight in the morning. Wake up a couple of hours later and drive another eight hours. So I guess the ideas are in everyone’s head, and then we all get together and everybody’s on the same page. We kind of share ideas then we build it off like that. So, it’s just a matter of, I guess maybe not over-analyzing things too much and just going in with a level head and being like, “Hey, this is what we want to do. These are the things we want to improve whether there’s certain writing structures in the way our songs flow, if we want to make them flow a little better.” You know, I think some of its subconscious, too. It’s the growth of the band and being with the individuals you’ve been with for a certain amount of time. It just, maybe, improves as it goes along, or, I guess, if things aren’t going right, it doesn’t quite often. So, it’s always a toss-up, you know, because, too, bands always say, “Oh , this next album is gonna be the best ever!” And, you know, I don’t think we really want to be like that. We kinda go after things that we enjoy and like to play. It’s more of what’s in our hearts when we’re doing it than anything else than being worried about the whole populous thinks.
Buick: And Erik Rutan was the producer of the album.
Ben: Yes, yes. Second time, too.
Buick: You really like working with him, obviously.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Well, he’s very stern, you know, and he’s really hard-nosed about a lot of things, but he’s really looking for the benefit of you as a band and basically the whole outcome of the record for his end, too, you know. But he definitely wants to make sure you put forth your best performance when you’re in there. But it’s really cool know because I think at this point, Rutan and us, we share like this little bond I guess, you know, because we’ve worked together now two times, where we can kid with each other, you know. We’ll be in the studio, joke about something, rag on each other, if somebody gets fired up, we bicker, and then you move on to the next thing. It’s a comfortable environment because everybody knows everybody and they’re all comfortable in the situation. Like with “Carving” compared to “A Haunting Curse,” “A Haunting Curse” was cool, we just ran into some problems, Sammy had some problems with his gear and stuff like that. But, like, going in with “Carving,” everybody was just on the same page including Rutan. Even before we went in, the guys were recording songs, like, on a computer or a four-track and sent Rutan samples so he was kind of familiar with the music once we entered. And then once you enter, you know, everybody’s on the same page and it makes the process so much smoother. It’s not like this stressful fuckin’ idea. I used to feel like the studio was a bit stressful. But now it’s kind of like a comfortable feeling. Like, “Okay, we’re in here. Let’s do what we’re going to do and this is what goes on for the week and this is what’s gonna go on next week. This is how the cycle’s going to be,” and everybody just works together. And there’s times you sit, usually the vocals are the last thing to get done. So, you’re in there for weeks, you get the last week. So, you know, there’s a lot of time sitting around. But, you know, it gives you time to go over stuff, too, like I had gotten with Rutan and we worked out something where late at night when, like, all the major stuff was finished being worked on, he would run the songs and I would, like, sing along, kind of practice. Because, basically, you’re sitting there for so long and it’s almost like you fall out of sync with what’s going on in a sense. So, you know, he was like, “Wow, this is cool. We can do this. It’s a really good idea.” And he’s like, “I think I’m gonna start doing that with bands when they start coming in so the singer’s fresh when he steps in to actually record because he’s been practicing with it.” And all he’s gotta do at the night when he’s saving everything down and it’s copying out to a hard drive, he just runs it and lets it play and you just sit in the booth and you just kind of sing along with it; kind of get the idea going and kind of building up yourself to it. So, yeah, he’s a great individual, man. I can’t say too many good things about him. He’s really easy to work with and we’ve all come to a really good bond together as far as working together. And I definitely believe that he will be the one that we’ll go to for the next record.
Buick: That’s great, and I really think that focus comes out in the record.
Ben: Yeah, it does. And it’s not like we’re getting too comfortable, you know, where all of the sudden, people are getting lazy and it’s going to back off of something and not going to evolve with the music. I think that everybody, not only everyone in the band, but even Rutan were all, like, even critics of our own selves that we won’t let that kind of thing happen. Where we just let things, “Oh, we’re all comfortable here, let’s just relax one day. Oh, let’s relax another day and then try to do this,” and all of the sudden, you’re rushing at the end. I think that everything just builds better and better as long as the relationship goes smoothly.
Buick: It’s not too tempting being on the beach or anything in Florida?
Ben: No. I mean, you got time. Like I said, in my case…Well, let’s take the drummer’s case now. He’s the first one that pretty much does it. And then when he’s done, he really doesn’t come back into play until the end when you’re mixing. So he finishes it within the first week then he’s stuck there for two weeks doing nothing. So basically each member, when they’re finished their thing, they can go run off and do what they really want until you have to come back to the studio and be there for any certain things that need to go on like mixing and things like that.
Buick: Well you have been on tour a lot, you said. A ridiculous amount. Almost two years, it seems like.
Ben: Well for “A Haunting Curse” I know for sure we toured for, like, two years, maybe a little over two years, pretty much steady. This record’s been out since June, I’m pretty sure, so it’s still kind of early stages. But we still have things going, we still have things coming up. We’re going to Australia next month with Behemoth and Job for a Cowboy, and then like a week or two after that we do three weeks in Canada with 3” of Blood and Toxic Holocaust. So, you know, the cycle is still there, it’s moving. We’re doing what we have to do for it.
Buick: Were any of the shows you’ve done recently headlining shows?
Ben: Yes, we did. Okay we did, starting in January we did the DevilDriver Tour; it was DevilDriver, Suffocation, us and Thy Will Be Done. And we went from that to doing some Canada shows with Shadows Fall and Bison B.C. and Baptized in Blood. Well getting up to Canada, was a pretty crazed drive so we did, like, a couple of shows on our own up there. And then we came out, we did shows that took us pretty much to the East a little bit and cut back through the South to head us to Texas because we just did South-by-Southwest in Austin, Texas. So we did some of our own headlining shows per se. It wasn’t labeled as, like, a headlining tour. It was just something to get us from point-A to point-B and play some different markets that we never usually play.
Buick: Would you like to do a headlining tour in the cycle that you’re doing for “Carving”?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Definitely, definitely. We’ve been talking to some people about, we been talking to the guys in Misery Index about doing something. You know, something kind of small, but yet cost efficient, especially with people’s budgets nowadays because of the whole financial crisis or whatever the hell they keep talking about in the U.S. But, you know, like, bring a decent ticket then have some really hard-hitting bands; like maybe three to four underground, but really hard-hitting upcoming bands. Bands that kind of have a grain in what’s going on. Something like, what I was saying Goatwhore, Misery Index, maybe a few other ones, obscure, maybe upcoming new underground bands. So it’s kind of being thrown around, but we want to do it right and kind of set it way ahead so we can promote it well and everything goes really good with it.
Buick: Well, when you do take some time off, are you going to do anything with Soilent Green?
Ben: Uh, yeah, yeah. Actually the guys are working on new material as we speak. You know, they’ve been in and out. The drummer also plays in Crowbar, the other guitar player plays in Eyehategod, so it’s kind of been like musical chairs with all the bands right now. But they’ve been working on new things, and I think we’re trying to look to record a new record maybe like late fall/early winter, something like that. So the gears are turning there too. Soilent’s just a little bit more of a complicated machine. You know, the way it writes and everything behind it’s complicated in a way. Not in a bad way, but there’s just so much shit going on with the way Soilent does things that it’s a lengthy process. It’s not like this thing you just walk in and BOOM! here’s all the Soilent Green songs. It’s definitely a serious, deep-ass process.
Buick: I know Housecore Records is releasing the earlier stuff before you were the singer pretty soon.
Ben: The singer Glenn Rambo, yeah.
Buick: Do you think that you’ll stay with Housecore for your new album?
Ben: Well, no. I mean, basically, Soilent Green and Goatwhore, actually, are both on Metalblade Records, and the next record that Soilent does comes out on Metalblade. I think something, like, Phil worked out a deal with Metalblade to allow him to put out the older stuff. And I think a lot of the proceeds from the sales of that go towards Glenn’s family or something like that. I think it’s something like that, I could be mistaken on what I’m saying, but I thought somebody was talking about that, like a percentage going to his family.
Buick: That would be great.
Ben: So, yeah. Soilent’s record will be out on Metalblade, but that record will be coming out through Housecore.
Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Ben: Um…not much. We pretty much covered everything. This is where I’m always stumped; the last question. It’s either, “Is there anything else you would like to say,” or “Is there any final words?” And Sammy once said, “I hope there isn’t any final words.” But, you know, just if you ain’t never heard us, check us out. I mean, the internet nowadays, you can just listen to any given band at any given time. If you want to download off the internet, no big deal. Come to our show, buy a shirt or something. Just support the band, even if it’s not us. If it’s some other band and you take from the internet, at least go to the show, support them. Help them out a little bit. You know, these bands really hard to bring sick metal out there, so.
Buick: You could say “Who Dat?”
Ben: Who Dat. Of course, Who Dat. You know what’s funny though? I did an interview in Atlanta, Georgia. And we know how much the Falcons are huge rivals of the New Orleans Saints. Well the guy interviewing was a Falcon’s fan, and, you know, he brought up the Superbowl thing. But, basically, he lost a bet with his friend, so we got him to sing the Who Dat song on video, and it was so funny, but at the same time you could see that he was going through hell trying to sing that song. He’s a good guy. Oh, what’s his site? Skulls and Bones? Metal Mark. Metal Mark, you got busted again! Two times.
Buick: Well, they won. Thank you so much.
Ben: Thank you. Have a good night.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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