Curse these genre tags! Music is music, a language transcending boundaries… even tags and brands. Post Metal bears rather tedious connotations for some reason within the Metal community, at least to my knowledge. It´s too sluggish, uninteresting, nothing happens, lengthy songs that are going nowhere, dull instrumentations etc. I started my descent into this seemingly unexciting realm a few years ago and slowly uncovered a very exciting path and understanding of music. Ultimately, this has led to the band Goetia. I was stricken with wonderment by their album “Le Vide”, a mammoth project that started back in 2007 with a recording period of over four years, and only recently properly released by Montreal´s Deathbound Records. The album takes you on an ascending journey above pristine skies only to plunge down again to witness the downfall of humanity. I wanted to dig a bit deeper, so I sent some questions to the band. Here´s my report!
Hi there! How´s everything going up in Canada
Hey man! Thanks for the interview, we really appreciate it. Right now we’re enjoying what’s left of summer. As you know, summers are short over here, so we try to enjoy the nice weather as much as possible!
Congrats on the re-release of “Le Vide” by the way! How´s the feedback looking?
So far so good, it has been a long process for us to release that album. Lots of things happened between the beginning of the recording and the cd release show. But, we’re glad we got the help of Deathbound Records to give us more exposure with “Le Vide”.
Are you busy in doing promotion for the album mediawise? I´m thinking with a proper label setup, there´d be a better chance for you guys to do more interviews and getting more attention in general.
Yes indeed! Our label is well connected and has provided us with many more promotion opportunities such as interviews and online exposure. It has really helped with bringing our music to new audiences.
I really enjoyed the album. Granted, this is not a genre I spend a lot of time on, but I quite liked the overall atmosphere that tied all the songs together.
Thanks! Yeah we tend to put a lot of effort into creating riffs and songs that blend one into another. Just like you mentioned, we also believe that creating a general common atmosphere for an album really ties the songs together and makes the overall listening process smoother and more trance-like.
I felt a strong sense of conceptual atmospheres as I was listening to the album. Is “Le Vide” a concept album and a part of a bigger statement than just a collection of songs?
It’s funny because “Le Vide” is originally just a collection of songs we put together. We had 6 or 7 songs written at first, took 5 of them and put them on the record. We then decided to tie them together with interludes and ambient atmospheres. But the general concept of the album, which is the downfall of modern society, really came later in the process as we were looking to find a title for the album. We soon realized that all songs and lyrics related to one general statement, which is the void (“Le Vide” in french) in multiple aspects of our lives.
Is the grand scale of continuous atmosphere the key for your songwriting? How do you go about writing the music you do? I imagine it takes time to craft such lengthy tunes.
Haha indeed, we are very slow at writing music. We’ve written less than 10 songs in 8 years of existence. We really take our time to make transitions between riffs and songs as smooth as possible. But what helps us to build up such lengthy tunes is probably the fact that we don’t limit ourselves with structural and musical restrictions. We really go with the flow, if we feel the song is complete at 4 minutes, that’s the way it’ll be. If we feel it needs one more riff at 10 minutes, we find another one. We just go with the flow.
The vocal aspect of the album, to me, sounds like an extra instrument for atmosphere instead of being used in more common patterns. How do you approach the vocals, both in style and where to place them in a ten minute song?
Vocals are usually the last “instrument” we put on tracks. Usually we’ll wait until the backbone of the song is finished, then we add vocals where we feel it would add a little extra something. Ben will usually just growl in an incomprehensible language where he feels the vocals should be, then puts words on the melody afterwards.
Goetia was formed back in 2007 and from what I see online, the band has only done the one album so far. Approaching a decade together as a band, some might say that´s quite a small scaled release load. How come?
Well to make a long story short, we were pretty much tied up with our everyday life during the whole recording process of the album, which took 4 years by the way! A number of circumstances (kids, houses, jobs) just made the process longer.
Is it a conscious decision from your side regarding the limited discography of the band so far? I mean, again, this type of music doesn´t write itself, so I´m guessing you don´t want to rush things?
Exactly! We’ve never been in a rush to do anything. We’re playing music because we love it, not to become successful. If people like and share our music, it’s even better, but first and foremost, we’re doing it for us. It might sound selfish, but that’s our vision of what music should be. We’re looking forward to releasing new material, but as we said before, our writing process is fairly long haha.
A more obvious question, what are your main influences when it comes to songwriting. Post Metal is a vast spectrum of atmosphere and usually the creators have a wide range of also non metallic influences.
It’s tough to list our influences… we all come from different musical backgrounds and all enjoy different types of music. But to sum it up, we can’t deny the influence of bands like Cult of Luna, Isis, Mono, Mouth of the Architect, Amen Ra and Sigur Rós to name a few.
Alan Douches mastered the album. I guess he´s done almost about everything in the Metal field. How did you get him to work on your album?
Coming out of mixing, we had the songs sounding just right, so when it came down to the mastering and giving it that extra polish, we wanted to work with someone who understood the style and wasn’t going to change the sound of the mixes too dramatically. Frank had worked with Alan on other projects he has produced or mixed and was always happy with his work. He contacted Alan to see if he wanted to master “Le Vide”. Frank drove down to New York and attended the session. Alan is such a nice guy and really has an ear for all that is heavy!
This is a re-release by Deathbound Records. How did the cooperation come about? Have you signed with them for more albums?
We released the album on our own, but about a year later, Deathbound came to us through our friends in Rhino. We discussed the re-release of the album. For us it was the best of both worlds as we knew they were going to give us more exposure on an international level. We’re currently discussing with the guys at Deathbound regarding a potential collaboration for the future. Who knows what’s coming!
Do you plan on playing concerts in support of the album?
We have played shows in Quebec and Ontario last year to support “Le Vide”, but we took the summer off to write new songs. We’ve been carrying songs from the album since 2007 so we feel like we have to move on. We’ll still play songs from that album, but you can expect new tunes as well.
I saw that you were opening up for Sólstafir earlier this year? How did you get this opportunity?
Yes, we played with Solstafir a couple of months ago. Their set was tight! We got the gig through Black Widow Promotions, a booker in our hometown. We’ve been working with them a lot for local shows since we’ve started Goetia. We also got the chance to play with other bands we enjoy like Intronaut, The Atlas Moth and Between the Buried and Me.
How is the touring climate in Canada? Is it easy to set up shows? Are there several venues, booking agencies etc that make it possible to have an active live scene?
Canada is a great country, but it’s also huge and sparse! It is very difficult to tour throughout the country because of that. We tend to tour mostly in Ontario and Quebec. The population is more densely concentrated in those provinces, which makes it easier to move from one venue to the other. There are bookers available to help us, but our best friends when it comes time to book a tour, is often other bands in other cities. We trade shows and make friends, it’s the easiest way to proceed!
Do the members in the band have other music projects going on?
Yes, Ben (guitarist) and Chris (drummer) have a common post-hardcore project called We All Rise. It’s very different from Goetia, check it out!
It´s getting harder to have music as a career path today. What are your views on the music industry anno 2015 with regards to downloading/streaming of music, labels declining to invest in proper bands, social media insanity etc?
The music industry has changed quite a bit in the last decade. More and more, the internet tends to divide the scene. More than ever, it is easy to record and share your music with the world. The outcome is that the listener has so much choice, and everyone has their own favorite band. There are less and less single pivotal bands who are followed by all.
Alright! So what´s next for the band? I´m guessing you have more music coming?
What´s next.. we’d like to get new material out in 2016. We’re currently finishing up the writing process. We’re almost done… we just have to tighten things up. We’d like to do a few shows before the end of 2015 to see how these new songs feel when played live. It’s usually a good indicator to see if everything’s in its right place.
Thanks for taking the time for this chat! Any last words you want to shout out?
Many thanks for exposing our music to your readers. We would love to hear from those who enjoy our music, so please feel free to hit us up and let us know what you think! Cheers from Canada!
For more info about the band, check out their Facebook page here
“Le Vide” is out now through Deathbound Records
Extreme Metal Voyager review here