Tuesday 5 February 2013

20 Questions w/ Year Of The Goat

Year of the Goat

I am happy to present another great interview with upcoming Occult rockers, Year of the Goat.  They released they debut LP Angels' Necropolis to much acclaim last year and I'm a big big fan of that record. 

I contacted the band at the end of December 2012 and the interview reflective of answers given then.  This does not detract from this being a great interview and hope you dig it too.  If you're not familiar with this band, you need to check these guys out.  They play a brilliant 70's inspired blend of Occult rock.  These guys are the real deal!  Enjoy the interview and as ever support the underground scene. 

Hey guys, How are you?  I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord.

Greetings Sludgelords! All’s well…

Q) Where are you at the moment and what are you doing in terms of the band?  Has it been a busy year for the band?  We at the sludgelord, love your latest record, Angels’ Necropolis

A) Thank you, we are very pleased to hear that you enjoy it.
We are currently at home, preparing for a small gathering to celebrate the release of Angels’ Necropolis on December 21 2012. It’s been a busy year with making the album and playing shows and festivals, new members in the band, injuries and so forth.

Q). For people may be new to your band, could you tell us a little about the history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from? When Year of the Goat first formed? Current band members?

A) Guitarist Per Broddesson and singer Thomas Sabbathi were playing together in the doom act Griftegård, when they realized they had a bunch of common denominators when it came to music, other than in the doom vein.  From one day to another Thomas had a clear vision of the band, sound, lyrical content and so forth. He sometimes mentions an actual vision.

Him and Per talked about putting something together and started working with the drummer Fredrik Hellerström of Misericordia on some riffs and ideas Thomas and Per brought in. This was back in 2006, and the songs of the Lucem Ferre EP (2011) and a few from the album Angels’ Necropolis came together. There were several other things going on for the guys, Griftegård, Bokor, Dead Pulse and Misericordia, so Year Of The Goat was more of a side project, but the idea of the sound was pretty much there from the get go. Stockholm based bass player Tobias Resch joined the band in 2008 after a decision to give the project a little more energy.

A demo had been presented to Van Records and they liked what they heard. The EP Lucem Ferre was released in 2011 and was met with some great reviews and a plan for the album was taking form. A few members came and went and in the beginning of 2012, a tour in conjunction with the Roadburn Festival, lead to making the outfit complete. The vocals for the album was recorded in a studio owned by Pope, with whom Thomas had played with in the bands House Of Aquarius and Dear Mutant, he fit the bill with his vocal skills, sense for melodies and that he could find his way around a Mellotron.

The third guitarist was found in the lead singer/guitarist Don Palmroos of Misericordia. After that first tour the guys knew this was the right constellation. A week in a crowded bus lets you know all you need to know and more. All of the band members are from Norrköping, Sweden, except for Tobias and Per who are from Stockholm and Hultsfred in Sweden.

Q). Is Year of the Goat a full time project?

A) We, of course hope for it to be, we’ve just released our first album and all of us work daytime jobs. Some of us play with other bands, but Year Of The Goat is our main focus.

Q) What was your motivation to start the band?  Were you friends beforehand etc?

A) For us music has always been a calling, we have to make music. Master Sabbathi had a vision in 2006 and was clear what the band would be from one day to the next. Most of us knew each other in some way before. We knew each other from playing in the same bands and through the rather small music scene in our area.

Q) When you started the band, what were your hopes or aspiration for the band?

A) World domination! Our aspiration has always been to make music that we love and to do it full time. When able to put full time into the music it will be even better, we assure you.

Q) Could you give us an insight into the gestation of producing Angels’ Necropolis?

A) It was a long pregnancy and very much like Rosemary’s baby it came out a thing of sinister beauty. We recorded the drums, bass and some guitars in Studio Hufvudstaden and added guitar tracks, Mellotron, backing vocals and lead vocals in other places. The work was held back a bit by injuries, rehearsing with new band members and touring. The songs were pretty much there when the EP was released in 2011, but the ones that didn’t quite fit the concept of Angels’ Necropolis was released on the EP.

Q) Are you big fans of rock/metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment? Any recommendations?

A) We are fans of lots of different music, Per is a total nerd for NWOBHM and is an unstoppable collector of rare releases. It’s so much stuff, there are six of us and we are heavy consumers of music. Pope has totally lost himself in the soundtrack to Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls and the demos of Margo Guryan. Per highly recommends and right now listens to Museo Rosenbach – Zarathustra, 2066 & Then – Reflections On The Future, Blue Oyster Cult – Secret Treaties and Thin Lizzy – Chinatown. Thomas listens to a lot of old and new stuff at the moment and can recommend Genesis – Trespass, Saturnalia Temple, Elonkorjuu, Ofermod, Mellow Candle, Warpig and Kalevala. Well, you see, a lot of different stuff going on. Tobias mainly listens to whatever dub step his neighbour chooses for him to hear through the walls.

Q) You recorded Angels´ Necropolis at studio Huvudstaden (Ghost, PG Lost), featuring (mostly analogue) equipment.  On your website you describe the importance of a true vintage sound.  If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound?

A) A guitar based rock sound, the melodies and textures have a touch of melancholia to them. We love beautiful melodies and to build around the motifs. People have come to our concerts expecting a black metal sound, but got something completely different. The sounds that intrigue us are found in music from the sixties and seventies. We like to experiment with clean, crunchy and distorted guitars, organs, Mellotron sounds and vocal harmonies. We want to build a landscape of sound, hills and valleys, dense rock formations, open fields and meadows, volcanic islands and violent earthquakes. Everybody doesn’t and shouldn’t like the same things, give it a shot, listen to it and make up your own mind.

Q) Reviewing records within the genres of sludge/doom/stoner, you often listen to a lot of stuff which is quite similar. What sets you apart from your peers and what are your thoughts about being part of a scene?

A) You tell us. Is there anything that sets us apart from our peers? We try not to compare what we do with the work of others. All we can do is to follow our instincts and make music we love ourselves.

Q)  Who would you say are your influences/heroes both musically and artistically in terms of the bands sound?

A) We believe that we are inspired by everything we come across. There are so many various influences it would be weird to point out any specific, some are probably obvious to some listeners, while others are not as obvious. We don’t strive to sound like anybody else, we don’t strive not to either. We go with more of a gut feeling. It’s not a thinking sport for us.

Q) I’m assuming all musician like to talk about gear, so with that in mind what gear do you use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use?

A) We use a drop C tuning and use a wide array of amplifiers when recording, to be able to create different sounds. Plexi Marshalls, different Mesa Boogie amps, Fender Amps and different guitars from Fender, PRS, Gibson, Grecco and so forth. The Mellotron plays an important part of the Year Of The Goat sound as well.

Q)  Sweden continues to produce amazing bands, some of which we have reviewed on this blog.   What are your thoughts on the current scene?  Where do you think Year of the Goat fit within that?  Any bands we should be keeping an eye out for?

A) There are many good bands coming out of Sweden, you’re absolutely right about that.
PG Lost and Saturnalia Temple are friends of ours and we think they’re really on to something. House Of Aquarius released their album from 2003 on vinyl earlier this year, we have a special bond to that band so. Graveyard are really cool and deserve all good things that are coming to them. Ofermod and Death Wolf are worth checking out as well. Gee, there are so many, better stop dropping names before the ones we don’t mention gets pissed off, guess it’s too late for that now.


Q) Occupying the 8th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Goat (or Sheep) symbolizes such character traits as creativity, intelligence, dependability, and calmness. Comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of their inner minds, Goats enjoy being part of a group, but prefer the sidelines rather than the center. Their nurturing personality makes Goats excellent care-givers. They’re quite and reserved because they spend much time absorbed in their thoughts.  Is that representative  description of your band?

A) You got our number there brother!

Q)  How valuable are blogs  such as the Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines?  Does all forms of media coverage translate to people buying merch, downloading music etc, coming to shows?

A) Publicity is important for all bands, especially so for an up and coming band.
Reaching a broader audience is imperative to be able to keep making music. It’s a struggle to be able to make more and better music. Time is of the essence and unfortunately time is money, and both time and money is in short supply before the shows, albums and merch is in higher demand. If the album and merch sells we’ll be able to invest more time into making better music and be available to do more shows. Like everybody else we have to pay rent, buy food and stuff like that. It’s simple mathematics. Hopefully more people who would enjoy our music get to know about us through blogs like yours and give it a listen. Hopefully they will support us by buying albums, merch and come to our shows.

Q) What kind of reception has your band received and does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch?

A) We’ve met a lot of people who were surprised how much they liked us when they heard us. We have met people who praised us highly and kneeled and kissed our hands upon meeting us. There have been people who hate us and think we are incredibly boring and called us the Toto of Metal and overrated posing Satanist wannabes. We haven’t met that many who don’t feel anything or doesn’t have any opinion. We like the fact that we stir up emotions in people, make them feel alive. We aren’t surprised people buy our stuff, we know it’s good shit, otherwise we wouldn’t bother, but we are very grateful to each and everyone who take out of their hard earned dineros and spend it on us, we will always do our best not to let them down and give them their moneys worth.
Q) How easy is it for bands such as yourselves to gigs?  From talking to other bands, some venues/promoters  just won’t book them, Is it a struggle?  

A) It’s always a struggle for new bands. We are fortunate to have the help of some great people who are totally into what we do. The record label and bookers, they’ve helped us land some great festival gigs in Sweden, Finland and Holland so far. Once again the demand controls everything, out of a promoter perspective they want to make money, most of them anyhow. If they don’t believe you’ll bring in a crowd they won’t book you. You play gigs for two people and a dog sometimes. Bands need to build an audience and find ways to compete with everything else that take up the time for people. Shit, we just want to make music. By the way, thanks for taking the time with us, it truly means a lot.
Q) Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite’s places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?

A) We haven’t toured that much with Year Of The Goat yet, we shared a dressing room with Ancient Wisdom at Roadburn Festival, what a great bunch! Griftegård toured a bit with The Devils Blood. Stories, hmm, we’re Goats, they’re “comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of their inner minds”, doesn’t make much of a story there. Love Berlin, Brussels was crazy cold when we were there, we slept in some weird room with the coldest concrete floor, got to sleep for three hours, thankfully, would have frozen to death otherwise, before we had to drive for 11 hours to Denmark. Denmark is always enjoyable for many reasons.

Q) What are your thoughts about Angels’ Necropolis, now that it has been unleashed on the unsuspecting public?

A) We’ve done what we can and raised her to the best of our ability. We’ll have to let her find her own way in the world now. Hopefully she will live long and prosper.
Q) What are the themes underlying the subject matter of your record? 

A) Perhaps an alternate ending to the Bible, an alternate gospel if you will. Hmm the Bible, that old book is rather biased when it comes to what is good and what is evil. The album could be based on a prophecy for the beginning of  a new world order if you like. Maybe it’s symbolic for the downfall of Christianity in favour of enlightenment through scientific progress or maybe just some good old-fashioned story telling. We leave it up to the listener to decide for themselves. We know what it means to us, but do not wish to stand in the way of people making up their own minds about it.

Q) What is your approach to writing material for the band?  What was your agenda when you began writing the new record? Is it your best work to date?

A) Fortunately our work doesn’t compete with itself, it all works together. Everything we’ve done is standing alone and united. For the Lucem Ferre EP and Angels’ Necropolis Thomas has brought in most of the ideas, we run it through the Year Of The Goat filter, that is the rest of the guys, and we end up with what you hear today. For our next album there might be more of us writing, ideas are already taking form. With Angels’ Necropolis it’s all based on a vision delivered to Thomas after a ritual of sorts. ‘Nuff said.

Q). In terms of the band do you feel that 2012 has been a good year for the band and what can we expect from you in 2013.

A)It’s been a good year, we’re moving forward. We expect to enter in to an eternal Year Of The Goat as of December 21st 2012, so 2013 will be the beginning of the new time. 2+0+1+3 adds up to 6, which is the number that connects the above and below, stands for creative intelligence, Venus, “the morning star”, the light bearer, Lucem Ferre… Of course it’ll be a great year!

Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?

A) This goes out, not only to whoever might like what we do, but also to everyone who has had the stamina to read all of the prior text without falling asleep. And of course also to you, who just like to start reading at the bottom of an article.

As far as we know, you are the only you there will ever be, no one else can be you, no one else can voice what you voice, no one else but you can take this short time you walk this earth and make it count for you. According to modern science you have been in the making for some 4,6 billion years, as are everyone around you. A seemingly endless series of fortunate accidents are the reason you are here today. What are YOU going to do with the few years YOU have left?

Another outstanding interview. As ever show your support to the band. Thanks to the guys from YOTG for taking part in the interview and Dave @EarSplit for setting it up. Check the links for more info on the band. Record is available to buy via their Label, Van Records store. Cheers Aaron