Svart Records announced last year that July 5th, 2013 as the international release date for Goatess' self-titled debut album. Goatess are a Swedish quartet comprising Chritus, Niklas, Kenta, and Findus. Despite having no records out on the market, Goatess have already created a massive buzz and appeared at such prestigious festivals as Doom Shall Rise in Germany, with more live appearances on the horizon.
GC: You started Goatess as a project called Weekend Beast – when did you change the name of the band, and how (if in any way at all) did that change your attitude to project/band?
Chritus: Yeah, we were told some people did not like and/or quite grasped the meaning behind WEEKEND BEAST, which the idea is about someone always partying but when becoming a parent is restricted to weekends, catching up on it the hard way, kinda. I came up with that as it was the way life somewhat changed for myself at the time. I personally couldn´t care less if people didn´t get it...but majority of us wanted a name-change anyway, as it were. Today I´m glad it happened. We changed the name to Goatess around August 2012. And no, not at all, ever since we became fully membered it has always been a BAND and not a "project".
GC: Your songs – especially the tracks on the second half of Goatess – are very layered and pull influences from virtually the entire history of rock music. How do you compose your songs? Do you start from a theme, lyrics, a riff or do you start from improvisation? Or do you use another approach?
Ch: So far the music created starts out to 99% from riffing and improvisation. Our main contributor and source is Niklas, our guitarist. He´s a bottomless well when it comes to that, simply amazing and very inspiring. We elaborate around it during rehearsals and everyone puts their personal touch and effort into it. Theme, is usually decided later on by the lyrics. That´s just the natural order for us.
GC: Now we know something more about how you write your songs. What about the lyrics, do you write them before or after composing the song, and what inspires you most for writing lyrics?
Ch: I find it varies, You know. I scribble stuff down before, during and after...polishing until poetic perfection! Hahaha! I might have an idea I´ve been working on, having it half way written at times...other times it might be the title first and I work around that instead. Every so often I tend to get some kind of writers cramp though, and don´t find it as easy as I used to. When we recorded the album there were still some bits and bobs remaining all the way up until I stood there with the headphones on. But sometimes being under that pressure is the actual release. And inspiration? I dunno...I tend to write about christianity a lot, seen from different and diverse sides. It´s a gratifying subject as it´s so full of self contradictions.Leaves a lot to be played around with. So I´d say organised religion, history, movies, reality, sex, science fiction...in no special order.
GC: Could you tell us something more about the artwork on the cover of the album Goatess? What is your message behind portraying the birth of Pan (if I see that correctly)?
Ch: No original plan there actually. We were still looking around for a cover when recording in the studio. Seemed hopeless to find something that we liked enough to represent us.A long time friend sent me the image one evening, all by chance, and I immediatly thought "that´s it, that´s what we want!", Showed it to the rest of the members and they all loved it. I did not know who the artist was, so I looked around asking friends on Facebook if anyone knew. Got a lead within five minutes, sent her a message which she answered almost straight away and that was that! All in all,it took like two hours or something! Very smooth! Her name is Aleksandra Aleksandrov, a very kind and obviously talented young woman. And it´s indeed called just that - "The birth of Pan". Not only I think it goes well with the name of the band, but also from a major point in terms of the lyrical content on there. A lot of them can be seen refering back to the cover, you know? it´s not a concept album per say, but there´s a red thread kinda going trough it and I´m very fond of that. On occasion some have been comparing it to Born Again by Black Sabbath, of course.In a way I can see why as they both happen to be infants with horns sticking out of their heads, but Pan and the devil are not the same mythological figures. Blame christianity there once more, I mean, I personally think they adopted the image of Pan for "their" devil to begin with. And if stuff did not have horns they portrayed them like they had, to underline the "evil", like adding them on the helmets of vikings!
Now where were we? Haha! Right...the comparison...we don´t really care. Born Again is one of, if not THE most underated album in rock and roll history if You ask me. We had no intention whatsoever to try copy THEIR idea and at the same time we are not the least ashamed of having the Goatess cover compared to that one either.
GC: What have been the most memorable moments while playing in the band so far?
Ch: What first comes to mind was the last edition of Doom Shall Rise festival in Göppingen (Germany) that took place in April last year that we fortunately ended up headlining, no doubt. It was very special for us to be there as it was our first gig outside Sweden...and third or fourth gig as a band! Think it went down pretty well concidering people hadn´t heard so much from us before that, save from maybe a demo song, "King One", on Youtube. Yeah, good times! And then when we recorded the album, of course. We felt we had an instant great connection with the guys at Reflection Studios as We mutually exchanged ideas and you know, the whole collaboration was really good. Relaxed. A highly productive atmosphere ...save from the times when we were just horsing around I suppose! Playing in Finland a couple of days in January this year together with EARTHBOUND MACHINE was also great. They are a really good band and just the coolest people. It was kinda strange for me personally at times, however magically pleasant, to be on the road with Jussi from LORD VICAR but in different bands.
GC: Besides doom and stoner bands, which bands do you listen to, and do you have any recommendations of bands you find particularly inspiring and creative?
Ch: Oh, Personally I have many sources of inspiration...listen to most kinds of different music. Might not know exact categories they´re under though. But for example ambient...especially DEAD CAN DANCE or older SHPONGLE, and earlier albums by THE PRODIGY. Modern traditional folk bands like HEDNINGARNA, GJALLARHORN and HOVEN DROVEN. Pop like KATE BUSH, PETER GABRIEL, TORI AMOS, THE KNIFE or JOSE´GONZALES. Some up-tempo metal like SLAYER, BURZUM, AT THE GATES and so on. sometimes I even put on "the four seasons" by VIVALDI, all depending on the mood. And yes, it DOES happen.
GC: One final question out of curiosity: what are the origins of the recording on “Tentacles of Zen”?
Ch: Niklas again. It was his idea and they are borrowed from British TV-series "I, Claudius". It sure added some extra spice to that one. Funny thing right there...Lyrics are about making passionate love and narration is about a fucking-contest! It worked out just fine in the end.
Thanks a bunch! / Chritus
Take a Listen: Alpha Omega