Interview: Ben Falgoust – Goatwhore

James Weaver with Ben Falgoust from Goatwhore

American blackened death metal act Goatwhore are deep in their run with Dying Fetus, laying waste to venues across Europe. I sat down with frontman, Ben Falgoust to talk about touring, Goatwhore’s writing practices and the financial situation of buying music.

I’m with Ben from Goatwhore, it’s James from One Media Group, how are you doing?

Ben: I’m doing really good. How are you doing today?

Yeah I’m alright, a bit wet outside!

Ben: Ah that’s alright, we’re from New Orleans it gets wet down there

You are well into the tour now with three pretty big bands, hows the tour going so far?

Ben: The tour is going really really good man! I can’t say anything bad about it at all, it’s been kind of overwhelming in a way. It’s been really intense, all the bands involved and the crowds that have been coming out have been pretty f***ing crazy.

And has there been any particular highlights, any shows in particular?

Ben: All of the shows have been really good as far as like the amount of people that come out, I mean even yknow Monday through to Sunday they have all been really good and really packed. If anything the one show that was really intense, but only because it was two tours colliding in Prague where we collided with the Cannibal Corpse tour and they made it all one show. So it was Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Revocation, Aeon, us, Malevolence and Fallujah so it was a pretty intense night!

It must have been pretty good to be with Cannibal Corpse and Revocation?

Ben: Yeah yeah, plus like a lot of those guys are our friends. Us and Dying Fetus and Fallujah know the Cannibal guys and the Revocation guys and the Aeon guys so a night of complete debauchery. After each band played it just got worse and worse haha, not worse but more and more crazy as the night went on! It was a rough morning lets say.

Lots of alcohol then?

Ben: Yes!

Your sixth record, ‘Constricting Rage of the Merciless’, has been out for a fair few months now. Are you happy with the reception that record has got?

Ben: Oh definitely man! I think that record has been doing really well and the feedback from it has been really good and even like the feedback at the shows where we are playing a lot of material off that record has been really awesome. A lot of people have been getting into the stuff or familiar with the stuff, and if they aren’t familiar with the stuff then they are interested after the show, I mean we are sold out of CDs right now for the next few days until we get a new shipment!

So when it comes to balancing the setlist, do you mainly focus on new material?

Ben: Yeah, I mean we try to look at our releases and see where things sit. Definitely if there’s a new release then we are going to focus on the newer material and kinda try to get the new release going more as well. And we put in some songs from older releases here and there depending on what our times are and the restrictions are.

And with it being your sixth record, do you find it a lot easier now when it comes to writing to when you first started back in 1997?

Ben: Ummm, it’s kind of like a cache 22, there’s easier aspects but there is harder aspects. After you are at this point when you’re at your sixth record you have to dig deep for stuff, you definitely have to dig deep. Luckily enough, we don’t throw away things we don’t use. So if we tear things apart and we have riffs and elements there we don’t just ditch them. Whenever we write a record it could have a riff from when we were writing the first record we ever did because we keep everything because you never know when that riff can step into place in a song and make a song. So it’s like a puzzle piece thing with the riffs when we lay it out like that so everything has to fit a certain way so we never ditch anything. Originally we had tapes and we used to record on little jam-boxes and then we got into modern technology and dropping it into a computer and lay them out and see how things sit like that. But we keep them all man!

You mentioned about new technology, with today and social media do you find it a lot easier to promote the band and build new fans?

Ben: I think it helps. I think there is two variations to it, yknow it can hurt a band and it can help a band. But most of all I definitely think that it can help a band because when I was growing up you didn’t have all that stuff so you had to buy something to know what it was. Where as now people can go and listen and see if it’s something they are into or not.

Yeah, like with the suggestions on Youtube videos…

Ben: Yeah yeah. I mean there is a lot of variations to that now which is really good. I mean I’m definitely not one of those bands that complains about, I mean me personally, I don’t really mind the Spotify thing and the download thing. It is what it is, but only in the same sense in a statistical level you can only expect people to buy so much a month. I mean you! Can you buy £400 worth of records a month?

No haha, definitely not!

Ben: So you know that’s pretty much the majority of the population in buying records. And if labels are putting out so many records each week throughout a year yknow, it’s insane! Do you have four grand a year to drop on records? All these records keep coming out, so those type of means help people because of the financial basis to find bands and then when they are into it, they come to the shows and they come and buy shirts and the CD at show and things like that. So I know as me, as an older adult I don’t have the money to spend $400 a month beside all the other bills I have to pay.

So really, what’s next for Goatwhore after you finish this tour with Dying Fetus?

Ben: Let’s see, we’ll finish this up and then in March we will go to Australia for a couple of weeks. And then we’re supposed to come back out here in April, and at the end of May we’re doing Temples Festival.

Oh brilliant! So with Temples Festival, have you got any other festival plans?

Ben: On the tour in April we start off at Inferno Festival in Oslo, Norway. And then from there everything is kind of open, we’re hoping that this tour and coming over in April will open the gate to more festivals for the future. You know, something like Hellfest or Wacken, anything! As I know those festivals help a lot like getting you in front of a lot of new eyes and ears and push the band and everything!

‘Constricting Rage of the Merciless’ is out now via Metal Blade Records