(N) Interview with Ben Falgoust

By Danielle Partis

Denim & Leather: Hi Ben, thanks so much for your time this evening/morning, whatever it is.

Ben: No problem man! Thanks for staying up so late to talk to me.

D&L: It’s a pleasure. So let’s start off, what was it that first got you into rock and metal music?

B: Well, it was a few things. One of the main things was I had two older sisters who were into classic metal, bands like Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and I used to listen to a lot of their music initially. Then as I got older and met new people, I started getting in to more hardcore bands, underground bands; back when I was growing up people I knew used to swap tapes and that was how we discovered new things. It’s funny because I don’t really listen to metal much at all these days; it’s become kind of a nostalgia thing for me!

D&L: That’s the way to do it! Tell me, are your main influences derived from some of the bands you first got in to? Or have they changed completely?

B: Well, it’s evident that Goatwhore aren’t trying to emulate the sound of Def Leppard. *laughs* I’d say our main influences are probably bands like Celtic Frost, Priest and Bathory. Although we’re mainly influenced by classic bands, we are influenced by modern bands too, like Dark Throne. I think it’s important that as a band evolves, so should their influences.

D&L: I guess so. Tell us, what kind of crowd do you like to attract at your shows?

B: Honestly, I don’t think it’s about the type of crowd you attract. I found that when I was young, I supported this ‘barrier’ between genres, and that seems to be the case for kids today. However, as you get older, these barriers become blurred, and you’ll just go to see or listen to what you think is good. I like to see a genre cross-over. One thing Goatwhore support is diversity; we don’t like to stick to one particular style, and I think that is reflected when a lot of different people come to the shows. It doesn’t matter really, I think going to shows is about just forgetting all the shit you’ve had to deal with in the day or the week, and having a good time. Whether you’re a party animal or a weekend warrior, it’s all about having fun man.

D&L: Nice Maiden reference there. Here’s an interesting one: Describe Goatwhore in a single sentence.

B: ‘Lethally aggressive extreme metal.’

D&L: That’s awesome. Okay, let’s talk about the new album. Blood for the Master is set for release in the UK in February. What themes are prevalent on the album?

B: The thing that’s shown on this album particularly is evolution, and how we’ve grown as a band. We tried to keep the same sound and not do anything too odd, but we wanted to try new things too. We take everything as it is at that moment, if it sounds good, we’ll do it. It might sound awful in 2 weeks time, but that doesn’t matter yet. We apply the same thought to our past albums, we don’t wanna replicate anything we’ve done before, but we want to stick to the traditional Goatwhore sound.

D&L: What did you guys try to do differently with this album, if anything?
B: We didn’t really do anything different with this one. However we do have a greater understand of how to structure and put songs together. With the previous albums like ‘A Haunting Curse’ and ‘Carving out the Eyes of God’, we would bring riffs recorded on tape in to the studio and sit around listening to them, then try to build a song around it. The addition of James has helped us also. We’re just four individuals going in the same musical direction, bringing our own ideas to the band – it’s just a case of tweaking and slotting them together like a puzzle to get the best result. That’s what we did with ‘Blood for the Master’.

D&L: Do you have any favourite unsigned bands?

B: I can’t really say because I could name hundreds. I’m really in to some of the newer bands though, guys like Sketelonwitch, Toxic Holocaust, who are amazing. There’s an awesome band from Colorado called Havoc I really love at the moment too. It’s really cool to watch new bands and see how they evolve.

D&L: Speaking from experience what is your best way to conquer pre-gig nerves?
B: I don’t really get nervous as such anymore. You get to a point where it just doesn’t matter. You usually have some stage guy going “Dude, you ready” and during the early days I was kind of like “No, not really, but okay.” But it gets easier the more shows you do. I don’t really drink or do weird rituals or anything, as soon as I’m on stage, that’s when I’m completely focused on delivering a great performance. As soon as you’re out there, you just think, ‘GO.’ And your nerves are obliterated!

D&L: You make it sound so easy! Okay, what would you say the highlight of your career was?
B: To be honest I can’t really pick a highlight. I could name a lot of new experiences, but I wouldn’t call them a highlight. Like the first time we went overseas and toured in Europe, that was an amazing thing to be doing, but we just got used to doing it. A really surreal moment was when we recorded one of our earlier albums on Vinyl. It was awesome for us having grown up collecting vinyl, so to see our name on one was just great. I think it’s the small things grouped together that make one big significant change, and it’s difficult to pick a highlight, because there’s always something better just around the corner.

D&L: That is very true. Do you have any advice you’d like to share with new bands that are looking to do a similar thing to what you’re doing now?
B: It’s not an easy road. But don’t get discouraged, do what you have to do to make it somewhere. And don’t be afraid to experiment with members early. It’s important to make sure you all have the same musical direction before you take off. The music industry is a tough one, and you have to be smart. I wish I had the benefit of knowledge when I was starting out. Younger bands tend to jump at every opportunity to get their name out there, but you really have to think about who you’re about to sign yourself over to. Do you really want some stranger taking your creations? What you have to remember is that most of the time, no one knows what’s better for your band, more than your band. It’s so easy to sell yourself to the wrong person.

D&L: I’m sure all our readers will now be extra cynical. Last question from us: You die. What three albums do you take to Heaven? Or hell as the case may be?
B: I wouldn’t be heading to either of those seeing as there is no determined place to go after death. *laughs* Okay, this is hard but these are my big three.

- Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith
- Metallica – Ride the Lightning
- Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales

D&L: How very existential of you. Okay, we have a few questions sent in from fans for you. First off, why is your new album so fucking good?!

B: *Laughs* I guess that’s down to opinion. I mean, we’re pretty proud of it, but there will be someone out there who thinks its total bullshit. But thanks man, it means a lot to us.

D&L: This is one we’re all curious about over here, where did the name ‘Goatwhore’ come from?
B: Haha, it’s a funny story really. Our guitarist Sammy used to get a little crazy when he drunk a lot – we all have that friend right? That gets a little too drunk? Anyway, we were at a strip club, and he encountered this one stripper, who had like, pigtails, and a really disgusting face. And as she approached him, he stood up and screamed ‘GET OUT OF MY FACE YOU GOATWHORE!’ and since then the name has always stuck.

D&L: That’s ace! Alright, which bands would you like most like to tour with in the future?
B: Well, I’d quite like to tour with bands we’ve toured with before – guys like Sketelonwitch and Toxic Holocaust, because I like to see how they’ve evolved since the last tour. But if I could tour with any line up, it’ have to be Slayer, Priest and Black Sabbath. Then I’d be like ‘Holy shit, now this is what it’s all about.’

D&L: Good choices. One final question: Do you have any plans to tour the UK?

B: We sure do. We’ve never really had the chance to due to financial issues and label issues and things like that but we’re definitely ready to hit the UK now. We’ve got a lot planned for the year, but I don’t want to reveal too much, so you’ll have to wait and see. All I’m saying is that we hope to see you in May.

D&L: We’ll be keeping a close eye on you then. Well, thanks a lot for talking to us tonight, we wish you the best and hope to see you very soon.

B: Yeah, it was a pleasure, thanks for staying up to talk to me, I appreciate it, and you have a really cool accent!

Goatwhore's upcoming album 'Blood for the Master' is set for release in the UK on Valentine's Day 2012.