Sunday 8 December 2013

Interview with GOYA

The Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene can be a total bitch at times. There are bands that deserve to be so much bigger than they actually are. They have the talent and vision to play with the best of them but sadly it takes a lot time for people to catch on.

Today's guests – GOYA – are one such band. They are about to release their incredible début album – 777 – in early 2014. Though they were smart enough to release a very limited edition run of different vinyls in October 2013 which have now all sold out.

I was smart enough to buy a copy of the 1st Stage – Black Light Edition – as did our very good friend and resident vinyl expert – Heddbuzz.

I said this about the album.

"777 is a gigantic bulldozer of riffs. Nothing much has changed since Goya’s début demo release. Well apart from the band have upped the volume of their music to huge levels.

GOYA unleash some unwanted anger and fury off their chest. It is a song we can all relate to when having a bad day and this song is the perfect soundtrack to get all the negative things off your chest. 777 is an excellent début record. It is full of mean riffs that should get GOYA more exposure within the Doom/Stoner Metal scene. The production is immense on the album. So no complaints on that score.”

GOYA are a band who I predict very big things in the next few years or so. Until people catch on it's my pleasure to be interviewing Jeff Owens (Vox/Guitar) these truly talented Sludge Rockers. So lets see what Jeff has to say.

Q1 – Hi Jeff, How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this.

Doing pretty well. Thanks for all of the kind words.

Q2 – Can you give a brief history on how the band came about.

I was playing guitar in a punk band at the time and wanted to start doing some heavier material. Needing a greater outlet for all of the anger I seem unable to escape, and really itching to sing and write lyrics, I started working on songs for a new project. Shortly after that, our drummer moved out of state and we disbanded, so I formed what would become Goya.

Q3 – How would you describe your overall sound. As you guys pack a lot of different sounds and vibes on your brilliant demo release and excellent new album 777.

I always try to bring a lot of myself into the music I write, so I hope that there is something unique somewhere in our sound, but I think labeling us "stoner metal", "doom metal", or "stoner doom metal" is pretty accurate.

Q4 – Where did the name GOYA come from. Any specific meaning.

It is a reference to the Spanish romantic painter Francisco Goya. Toward the end of his life, he painted a series of paintings on the walls inside of his home that are now known as the Black Paintings. All of these paintings are absolutely spectacular works of art (as are all of his paintings prior), and they are what made me gravitate toward the name, as it was tough to choose just one favorite. (Though, if I had to, it would probably be Saturn Devouring His Son.)

Q5 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians.

I am a really big fan of Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, and Sleep, so I think those bands tend to weigh fairly heavily on our sound. Since I frequently listen to them, it's a constant battle of trying not to sound TOO much like them, but I think the influence of those three is apparent. Some other personal influences that aren't so apparent in our sound are Thin Lizzy, Bathory, David Bowie, and Darkthrone. The list goes on and on. I'm also a huge Nirvana fan. Kurt Cobain is the sole reason I started playing guitar.

Q6 – Now lets talk about your brilliant début album – 777. Thank you for letting me reviewing it early. Loved the album from start to finish. Now whose crazy and insane idea was to release the album in different stages. Limited Edition Vinyls in October 2013 and the normal album release in Dec 2013/Jan 2014.

Haha. That was my crazy idea. When you order vinyl a lot of times, there is an overage, so we ended up with 16 extra records. Since I was getting antsy to get 777 into our fans hands, and was trying to figure out what to do with the extra records, I realized we could do a limited edition using the overage and cutting into the 500 regular editions a little.

Q7 – You must have been pleased that both Vinyls sold out pretty quickly.

It's definitely a nice feeling when you pour time and energy into something and it is received well when you put it out there! Hopefully it does well when the regular edition comes out.

Q8 – Who came up with the design of both editions. As you have created a truly stunning package from the pictures that I have seen. Though I will give a more in-depth description when it finally arrives in the UK.

Laney Oleniczak did the drawing for the cover. It was definitely a collaborative effort though as far as the concept. I knew I wanted to do a 12x18, fold-over, screen printed cover. From there I gave her a handful of things I would like to see together, and she went with the reaper, wolf, and poppies. She spent literally dozens of hours working on the art. Then we loaded it into Photoshop and she spent another dozen or so hours coloring it. After that, I sort of took over and tried out a few different logos before we landed on the one you see on the cover, which will probably be around for a while. I finished it up with the background and layout, made sure that she loved it as much as I did, since it's her work of art, and that was it!

We knew we were going to do two different colored versions the whole time, but somewhere as the art went along, someone decided to make one of them a blacklight sensitive version.

I did the layout for the insert, as well. She drew up the skull with the beetle on it, then we loaded into PS again, and I put the weird upside down negative triangle thing over it. The vines you see on the other side of the insert are Aubrey Beardsley's work, lifted from a book.

Q9 – Did you pay for the pressing of these vinyls yourselves. If you did then I have lots of more respect for you guys. Paying this yourselves for something you truly believe in.

I paid for it all out of my own pocket. It's definitely something I truly believe in and I'm just happy to have a Goya 12" of my own to hold, no matter what the cost.

Q10 – Was 777 a hard or easy album to record for.

Honestly, most of it was pretty easy. There were a couple of hiccups. Recording live is always interesting because you're basically doing take after take of each song. There is a certain pressure I think every member of the band felt because if you screw up, you ruin the whole take for everyone. This really sucks when it comes time to play a solo!

Our bass player recorded the whole thing in our practice space/warehouse (excluding vocals which were done later in his bedroom), so it was pretty stress-free, since we weren't paying someone an hourly studio rate. In the end, I think the hardest thing was getting everyone to be there every day for four days in a row. Haha.

777 cover art

Q11 – Why did you call the album 777. Any specific meaning.

It's the title of a reference book. There's more to it, but that's a secret.

Q12 – I first noticed you guys back in 2012 when you released your demo release. It caused quite a stir within the Stoner/Doom metal community. Were you pleased with the responses you received from the demo release.

Definitely! We sold out of the original run of 100 fairly quickly, and a lot of them were selling to people all over the world. When we made the demo, it was so we would have music to have to get to people who saw us at shows, and to send out for reviews, but we sold so many online that, before long, there weren't any left to sell at shows. We then made a second run of 25 which were gone even more quickly.

Q13 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal community been in getting your music across to fans.

Bandcamp is great. As I said, a lot of our demos went out to people all over the world, and without BC, that would have been much more of a hassle. Plus, so many people only want digital versions of their music now, and BC makes it really easy to make a high quality, professional download of your music. They also give you your own merch store, which is really cool.

Q14 – What is the songwriting process in the band? Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual

For the most part I write the music. I spend a lot of time at home playing guitar and coming up with riffs. Often, I'll have a complete demo version of a song recorded at home before anyone in the band knows it exists. That being said, everyone contributes their part. So, basically, I'll come up with a skeleton for a song, bring it to the band, and we'll go from there.

Q15 – Do you play a lot of gigs in your hometown or do you have to travel further away to perform on a regular occasion.

We've played mostly in our hometown. We've played a couple of gigs in Tucson, but that's a stone's throw away, so it's hardly an out of town gig.

Q16 – In 5 words or less describe the GOYA live experience.

Loud and soulless.

Q17 – What are your views of bands using websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their new album releases. Some people and bands are for it. Some are not. Would you consider doing some thing like that yourselves.

I think it's cool that those things exist for people that want to use them, I suppose. I'm not exactly a fan though.

Q18 - What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band? Obviously, the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect.

I think the most rewarding aspect is getting to play guitar really fucking loud, and getting to yell at the top of my lungs, meaning, the most rewarding aspect is performing the music. The least rewarding aspect? I don't know that there is one. I guess it would have to be that we don't have enough albums out yet. We'll have to fix that.

Q19 - What pisses you off most in music. Or do you not let the bad things in music stop you from performing and writing songs

Morrissey pisses me off. Fuck that guy. But I don't let how much he sucks stop me from making music.

Q20 - If you could provide words to wisdom for people wanting to start a band – What would they be.

Don't listen to what anyone tells you you can or can't do. Actually, scratch that, listen really closely to them, and then stab them in the fucking throat.

Q21 - Finally do you have anything to say to your fans.

Smoke weed and kill yourself.

I want to thank Jeff for taking the timeout to talk to us at Sludgelord. We are huge fans of this brilliant band. Their debut album is now available to Buy/Pre-order on Digital Download and Vinyl now from BandCamp

Check The Band From Links Below