Ottawa quartet Goetia have been heaving sludgy post-metal into the great northern atmosphere for some time now, and recently they joined forces with Deathbound Records – home of melancholic crushers Woccon and historical battlefield-stompers Catuvolcus – for an official release of their album Le Vide. Lovers of grandiose epicness should take note, now that some of the celebrated luminaries of that sound have bowed out (Cult of Luna, Isis). We’ve heard dozens of other bands seeking to take up the torch, and Goetia are poised to succeed mightily at doing so. Check out the song “Heliotrope,” Le Vide’s fourth cut, for yourself while you read the band’s responses to our invasive interview probes.
What are the personalities/backgrounds that make up Goetia? How did you first get together to play music?
We all come from different musical backgrounds. When we first met, some of us were into death metal, others into hard rock, but it’s really Matt [Tessier, guitar and vocals] who pulled all of us into the post-metal/experimental scene. He posted an ad on the board of a ludicrous dating website (yeah he was desperate…) and that’s how we all met. We got together and started jamming. He already had a song written, which gave direction and made it easier to compose at first.
What inspires you to play this style of music, with its volume and distortion juxtaposed against slower tempos and relaxed structures?
We love being able to create something without the typical music structure. We try not to limit ourselves and don’t impose restrictions when it comes to length or song structure. We just go with the flow and try to bring in a melodic atmospheric vibe to heavy riffs. This is probably what characterizes our sound the most.
How did this music come together? Do you write as a group, or were the songs written by an individual member?
When the band first started, Matt usually came up with the riffs. Most of the songs were already written, or he had a good idea where he’d want to bring a particular riff, but being in a band also means learning from the other members and them learning from you. After a few months, the experience changed a bit and now we’re closer to a full band experience where everyone pitches in ideas for songs. In general, Matt or Ben [Groulx, guitar and vocals] usually come up with a riff, we build around it and put the vocals in at the end. We’ve found that for us, it’s the best way to do it.
What are the emotions that drive the music you create?
Goetia comes from a 17th century book used to invoke angels and demons. We picked this name because we thought it represented our music as a whole, as we try to express the duality between the good and the bad. Our music can be light and ambient, but it also has darker and heavier passages. But overall, “melancholic” is probably what comes to mind when you listen to Goetia.
How much time did the band spend rehearsing together before recording or performing live?
We rehearsed for a few months then headed to the studio to record our first song, Heliotrope, which we still play, seven years later. We were then ready for shows and ended up playing with Between the Buried and Me in Ottawa. The place was packed! It was pretty cool for a first experience as a band!
Your press kit mentions that the album’s concept is the downfall of society… is this a general idea, or are you writing about specific events or conditions you see around you?
The album’s concept is kind of a combination of circumstances. The songs were written over a long lapse of time and the lyrics were written by either Matt or Ben, with no specific intention of having a main theme. When the time came to chose a title for the album, Le Vide (“The Void” in French), Ben analyzed the lyrics and came to the realization that they all referred to a void in our society. Whether it is a lack of communication, a lack of compassion, etc., they all tell a story about a void in today’s empty society.
What do you think when you hear the finished recordings? How closely do they fit with your original ideas for the music?
We spent a lot of time in the studio. We were lucky enough to have our bassist, Frank [Beecher], record and mix the album in his studio. Bands that start out are usually in a rush when it comes to recording, but we weren’t. We took our time and really experienced with a bunch of ideas, effects and sounds to come up with the end result. Frank then took the tracks down to Alan Douches (Torche, Converge, This Will Destroy You, etc.) in New York to have them mastered. Being involved in every step of the process means that the record came out as we had envisioned it and we are very proud of this accomplishment.
What are your current touring plans? If you pick any bands to tour with, who would you choose?
We have a series of shows booked for spring both in Ontario and Quebec, however, we currently cannot schedule extended touring as some of us have children and we all have jobs that unfortunately restrain our possibilities to tour for a long period of time. As for bands we would like to tour with, we all come from different musical backgrounds and like different bands and genres. For sure, Matt would love to tour with Mouth of the Architect. Chris [Emery, drums] is a big Deftones fan. Playing with Cult of Luna or The Ocean would be great too!
What comes next for Goetia?
We just signed with Deathbound Records and they will help us promote Le Vide for the upcoming months. We are thrilled with this exciting news. We therefore have a few shows coming up to support the album. We are also working on new material. Two songs are already finished and hopefully we can release new material in early 2016 or sooner.