Q&A: Goatwhore’s Ben Falgoust Talks New Album, Touring

NOLA blackened thrash quartet Goatwhore release their seventh album, Vengeful Ascension, today. Decibel caught up with frontman Ben Falgoust from the road to discuss touring with Venom Inc. and Goatwhore’s latest release.

[Note: This interview was conducted before the release of Vengeful Ascension.]

You’ve been on the road for a week now. How’s that going for you? 
It’s going good. Just a few small shows, we’re heading up to Seattle to do Northwest Terror Fest, so we just hooked up some shows going up to that and then some shows around that, heading into Canada for like five shows, and then coming back down and another week of shows to head home. We’ll be home for a couple months, then do a tour with Venom Inc. and Toxic Holocaust.

You’re doing a pretty extensive run that you’re on right now and then you’re going back on the road for over a month with Venom Inc. and Toxic Holocaust. Is it tough for you to be on the road so often? 
It is. I think we’ve done it so much over the years that we’re kind of fairly used to it. I think the only thing that you battle against as far as this goes is getting a little older, being in a vehicle constantly. There’s a lot of time when we just sleep in the van, and we’ll be out for maybe a month and maybe get a hotel room twice during the whole entire tour. So there’s just different scenarios and things like that but we’re pretty used to how things are as far as we do touring wise. We’ve always did everything internally — we have our own van, our own trailer. So touring’s not a hard thing as far as North America goes.

Coming up in the future, we need to pull back and focus on outside of North America, especially like Europe and Asia, other places like that. We’ll see how everything unfolds in that sense. The thing about the tour right now is it’s not a huge thing for us, it’s a lot of smaller, little intimate venues but it was something to do to go around the whole Northwest Terror Fest thing and also because the new record drops on June 23, push it out there and get the momentum flowing with it.

You put out the record a week from tomorrow, right? Are you stoked about it? 
Oh yeah, I’m really excited about it. We’ve released two songs via internet and things like that so far, the title track “Vengeful Ascension” and a lyric video for “Chaos Arcane,” so we’ve been including that in the set because we figured a good portion of the people that come to the show that are into us probably have heard it via the internet in some sort of way so we wanted to put it out there in a live setting, see what kind of feedback we got. It’s been going good, people are pretty familiar with it since it’s been out.

You’re putting out [Vengeful Ascension] next week. How will it be different or how does it vary from other work you’ve put out in the past? 
I don’t think it varies a lot. If anything, the variation comes from us growing and evolving as musicians and how we write. And also, with this record we decided to go kind of a different route as far as where we were recording, who we were recording with, who was mixing it and everything. We kind of went off the path of the last four records we’d done with Eric Rutan at Mana Studios in Florida.

This time, we decided to do a different route and have our good friend Jarrett Pritchard — he also does sound for us when we’re on the road. Just to make it clear, he’s not just our sound guy and we pulled him off the road and had him come into the studio. He has a lot of experience working in studios and stuff like that, around those scenarios and he did the last 1349 record, he did the last couple Gruesome records, he’s just finished the last Exhumed record that’s going to be coming out soon, he’s doing the next Gruesome thing in a couple months, he’s doing Wolvhammer, so he does have this studio knowledge as well. It’s just that he’s there every night in front of the PA and he would have this idea of what our tone is coming out the PA and that’s what we wanted to focus on a little more. Not necessarily like “Oh, we want to present ourselves in a live way” because the live experience is basically that moment in that time between the fans and the band. I don’t think you can ever duplicate that but you can definitely take the tones from that situation and try to work them more toward the record.

We had Chris Common mix it. He was a different kind of mixer too because he didn’t really do a lot of metal records. He’s done things like Chelsea Wolfe and Pelican and other obscure things, maybe some things more in a rock element but we felt that might be a little addition added to it as well.

I think it all came out really well and it presents us really well on this one. I think the difference is that people that know us and have all the records will hear it and will notice the change with all that, the elements of that, and bring out more of what we are as a live band.

Get the album here