Goatwhore’s Ben Falgoust Talks Life on the Road, Evolving as a Musician + Future Material
It’s no secret that Goatwhore rock hard no matter where they go and while on their stop in Brooklyn, N.Y., earlier this year, we had the pleasure of talking to frontman Ben Falgoust in their van parked a couple blocks away from Saint Vitus bar.
Falgoust talked all about touring, his evolution as a musician and the timeline for a new Goatwhore album.
After three tours with 3 Inches of Blood, describe your relationship with them.
It’s like a man crush type thing. [Laughs] We get along really good and it’s really cool because we’re both metal bands but we both have our own element of metal so it gives something different to the crowd every night because of the different approaches we take.
You toured with Casualties and then 3 Inches of Blood. Were there different reactions in the crowd?
Oh yeah, of course – with the Casualties it was cool because there more of that extreme kind of punk they’re definitely straight forward old school punk but it’s unique because every city you play the punk scene is a little different. Some of them are really accepting of metal and others aren’t so there were a few shows when we kind of just got stared and things didn’t go so well but we did our piece but there were also shows where the punk kids loved what we did. It all depends city to city, too, and how the scene is so it’s unique to see that variation.
With all these different types of bills, what makes a good tour package?
You never know because you talk about things and I kind of think it’s a package of a group of bands that have the same kind of ideas across the board of what they want to do, they have that variant kind of crowd. Goatwhore is a little variant in general because it’s not necessarily locked in to one kind of metal idea – it has it’s different elements within metal. It breaks down to thrash metal, death metal but we have a lot of those different elements and sometimes it works for us, sometimes it doesn’t work for us. It depends on the crowd you play in front of.
In the past we’ve toured with certain bands and things went well – like the times we toured with 3 Inches of Blood and it went really well and times we’ve toured with Skeletonwitch and Black Dahlia Murder it went really well, so I don’t know I guess it’s this chemistry and things fall into place. I don’t think you can ever really pick it, it’s like all of the moons align and the sun and everything works in the favor of that.
Nowadays with the industry, how hard it is with things, financially for people, too, it’s better to have a really solid little package tour because it gives more bang for the buck in a sense. When you roll through town by yourself, people are like, “Well this band comes around on a lot of tours,” you need to have more added incentive, it really needs to work like that especially with the economy and the way things are – people are trying to be conservative about what shows they go to. You have to offer them something that’s more beneficial for them in general.
During your shows you make incredibly intense and personal eye contact with your fans and for you, how important is this connection?
In any show I think it’s important – like tonight, Saint Vitus is awesome because of the intimacy. We’ve played bigger venues and it’s cool but I love these kind of shows the most because of that, you can interact because if anything the feeding off of each other makes it a better thing, that’s what adds to it. If there’s a barricade and they’re that far back, it’s so much harder to get everybody involved – it’s this big thing you have to fight for and in this situation everybody’s there, we’re locked in, nobody’s going anywhere. There’s only one way in and out the room and basically when s--- hits the fan you’re either prepared or not but that’s what makes it so much more fun.
Even if we got to a level where we could play bigger rooms on our own – I’d rather play three sold out nights at Saint Vitus rather than playing one big place one night and then just having this open area. The reason why people go there is that they’re getting away from their daily routine and that’s what I want, I want people to show up and just have a good time.
How have you evolved both as a person and a vocalist after years in this industry?
Through the years of touring I’ve learned a lot of things. I guess I have my own strict guidelines, like road rules and stuff like that. I hate it when bands roll up and they have tons of trash in their van and it just comes out the side doors of the van and falls out into the street. I’m not this tree hugger liberal, but it’s easy to empty out trash in your f---in’ ride at a gas station when you’re fillin’ up instead of having it pile up and on the ground everywhere. New York isn’t my city, I’m from New Orleans but I’m not going throw trash all over the ground.
It’s a shame. People should be more inclined to keep where I’m from or where I’m at proper but yeah that’s my thing -- bands that have a lot of junk – that’s just something that I’ve learned on tour. I remember I reamed some band once like years back. I remember them opening up the door and trash falling out and I’m like “God look at y’all, f---in’ pathetic amateur hour, trash fallin’ all out your van," and everything like that. Some of my guys will crinkle something up and I’ll pick it up and be like, “Don’t throw that right there, we got the trash can right here.” I guess that’s something I’ve picked up after being on tour for so many years. [Laughs]
With the evolution thing - I look back and people have asked about older records and things like that, “Where’s Goatwhore headed,” in terms of direction. I like to look back at the older records and see the evolution process because it’s not something you can really put your finger on when you’re involved with it but at one point when you’re five, six records in you can look back. Some bands are weird about their older records like, “We don’t want to play nothing from that, that was when we were more immature,” but I embrace the older stuff because it’s all a part of the growth and the cycle.
As you’re going along you personally have different influences and things that go on as well as every other member in the band so things do evolve like that. We’ve never made any kind of huge drastic jump, we’ve always been in a cycle of what Goatwhore was – we’ve had member changes so it was like a natural evolution of what the band is, a natural maturity or immaturity depending on what’s going on.
‘Blood for the Master’ was released last year but are there any gears turning for new material.
Yeah, before we left for this tour we actually went and did SXSW and then we came home and were home for a week and a half and so we were like, “We know what we’re going to do for a set so why don’t we start throwing ideas around,” and we kind of got two rough songs put together so we do have that machine rolling. We are trying to get into the studio possibly the beginning of next year, maybe middle of next year release, something like that.
With all of this touring going on, what is one thing you must have on tour with you -- no electronics.
No electronics, I’m cool with that. Our big thing as a whole is hot sauce. We bring hot sauces and spices from home and we aquire hot sauces while we’re on tour and we utilize it on things when we’re eaten places constantly. It’s somewhere in here, we have a little spice rack but all it is – it’s like a cooler thing and you could put a six pack in it but it’s all hot sauce in it. Late at night we’ll stop somewhere and we’ll be like, “Bust out the spice rack and put the hot sauce on it.”