Goatwhore’s Ben Falgoust Talks ‘Constricting Rage of the Merciless’ Disc, Summer Tour + More
Goatwhore frontman Ben Falgoust was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's radio show this past weekend. The vocalist talked about his band's 'Constricting Rage of the Merciless' album, their return to the 'Summer Slaughter' festival and more. Check out Full Metal Jackie's chat with Goatwhore's Ben Falgoust below:
It’s Full Metal Jackie bringing you two full hours of metal each and every week. With us on the show this week, Ben Falgoust from the band Goatwhore.
How ya doin’?
Doing great, great to talk to you.
Definitely, good to be here.
I saw you on the Behemoth tour and I have to say, that was an amazing bill and you guys killed it that night. That must have been a fun tour for you.
Definitely, it was an amazing tour. Thank you by the way. It was an interesting evening, in a sense. I had actually flew the night before we played in Arizona and that Saturday during the day my sister was getting married. So I flew out of Arizona back home, went to the wedding and flew and got into LA about 30 minutes before we had to play. So they picked me up, brought me to the venue and I was at the venue 15, 20 minutes before we had to play. Everything worked out and it was really good, the crowd was great. The bill in general was really great. All the bands definitely put it out on the table, that whole tour was amazing.
We’re here to talk about the new Goatwhore album, 'Constricting Rage of the Merciless.' Erik Rutan produced the new album. It’s actually the fourth Goatwhore album that he’s produced. Ben, what makes him so essential to this band when you’re recording an album?
We’ve gotten into a niche with him where we’re all on the same page with things. He has his little differences on each record and as a musician you’re like, "Ah I want to change this or that next time." Overall, I think we’re really comfortable with each other but when work needs to be done, he’s fully on you, he makes sure he gets the best performance possible. It’s almost like he’s a secret member of Goatwhore. He doesn’t play anything. We had him do a solo on one of the records, but he doesn’t write for us. He doesn’t play guitar with us but he knows what we want and we’re all on the same page with that. He’s really flexible as far as things go. Being his past, being involved with Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal, being an engineer and producer at a studio [helped].
You’ve got these things, and things have to be real sharp and precise. Sometimes Goatwhore has to let that rule bend a little bit because we’re a little bit more dirtier and we like to have things a little more rough. We like the natural human instinct between playing the music. We don’t want to take that away from it. He’s worked really well with us throughout this whole time. It just felt right. Plus, this time we did it on two-inch analog which we’ve never done before in the past.
Ben, the record was recorded on two-inch tape. Why take that more technically approach? What did that allow you to do as opposed to recording digitally?
You record onto two-inch, and basically when you’re done tracking you essentially drop it into ProTools and finish up the job from there. So, in a way, some people might think it’s silly. Tape captures a warm sound that the digital media can’t really touch just yet. It’s definitely something we were interested in, we liked the sound a lot more traditional records, early Judas Priest that were done on two-inch. We wanted to see if we could pull that off with the style we’re doing, and we’re really happy with the outcome.
Some people may never notice the difference and some people might. For us, it was a big deal to do it. Nowadays, it’s such a hard thing to do. There’s really not any tape companies. I think there’s one, but it’s kind of shoddy. So you have to go back and find used tape or tape that hasn’t been used, old reels and hopefully it's a crap shoot they work. We had four reels and they worked really well. Everything worked out great with it.
Me and Sammy [Duet] had recorded onto two-inch in the past with other projects we were involved with but it was something new for James [Harvey] and Zack [Simmons] but they fell into place with it. You have to be on time with it too. It’s not like when you shoot into digital it’s like you can make mistakes, oh we can go back over. You have to do it through the whole shot, the drummer especially. He has to go through the whole song. No cut ins or anything. Everybody was really focused and on it, it was something we all wanted to do.
Rutan was interested, he has a tape machine. He had a tape machine that’s got a lot of nostalgia behind it too. He had bought it from More Sound back aways. It was a machine that was used for a lot of the early classic death metal records -- early Morbid Angel, Suffocation -- things like that that all recorded there back in the day.
Both lyrically and musically Sammy has described the new album as a catharsis of negativity. How conscious were you while recording 'Constricting Rage of the Merciless' that it was helping you expel bad vibes?
I think within the whole band, as a unit we weren’t together on a lot of things but through the structure of writing something you have a lot of different emotions that go on there with each member. It starts when Sammy comes up with a riff, then he brings it to Zack and then Zack puts his drum parts over it then James puts his elements on it. Then I'll sit and work out lyrics. Some songs that Sammy does vocals on we work on lyrics together, or sometimes he just lets me write the whole song. Just like anyone else in the world, you have different emotions going on between a period of problems. So through the structure of a song you have four different individuals and different emotions that are going on fully. There’s different aspects.
Sometimes Sammy will approach me about something and he’ll be like, "Hey I have this idea can you build lyrics around it?" So I’ll work on it or just come up with my own stuff outside of that and just roll with it. It’s funny, I’m not really a negative person and I don’t really see a lot of the stuff that we do as fully negative. I delve into it a little more thinking of it as individualistic and certain approaches of how you are emotionally at certain points in time. So that fills in different elements. There’s a lot more deeper angle to it than that. We could go on forever and dig deep into this but I’d rather people just listen to it and get their own just out of it and maybe do some research. Get the brain working and delve into it on your own level.
Ben, Goatwhore was on the bill for the Summer Slaughter Tour back in 2012. You guys are on the tour again now. What makes Summer Slaughter unique compared to other long running summer tours?
Every year it seems like they change a lot of the styles. Metal is such a broad term in general. There are so many different facets to it. Death metal to hardcore to metalcore to black metal to thrash metal -- the list goes on forever. Throughout the years they’ve put things together and they’ve had a lot of different layouts of bands. As opposed to a bigger summer thing like Mayhem, they dig deeper and reach into the underground a little more with all these different variations. Like the year we did in 2012, there was a little more variation as far as having someone like Goatwhore and Exhumed together. Then having Cannibal Corpse who ends out the night but then you have a bunch of variant, different things musically in there as well.
This year it seems like it’s a little more death metal leaning. A lot more bands like -- you have Morbid Angel headlining and then you have Origin, Dying Fetus then you have The Faceless which is kind of like a teched-out type of death metal. Maybe possibly in my opinion, not necessarily everyone else’s. You have that variation there even within that, then Goatwhore does their brand. We do our brand of extreme metal because we have a lot of different variations in there. We fit into the thing as a whole. We cover the terrain a good bit.
Thanks to Goatwhore's Ben Falgoust for the interview. Pick up 'Constricting Rage of the Merciless' at either Amazon or iTunes. And catch Goatwhore on the 'Summer Slaughter' tour at these locations. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.