Exclusive Interview: Goatskullt talk “Tevras”!

Hailing from Helsinki Finland, Goatskullt are a Second Wave of Black Metal outfit who explore  dark tales of mortality, death and nothingness filtered through the traditions of Finnish Folklore while incorporating elements of Hardcore Punk fueled Speed Thrash and Folk. Earlier this month they premiered “Tevras” and we enjoyed it so much that not only did we review it, but we spoke to them about their World…

How have you found the reaction to “Tevras” so far? “Those who have actually heard the record have liked it. Although, having said that, most people have been baffled by the variety within the six songs. Some listeners seem to gravitate towards the straightforward riff-oriented songs, while others appreciate the more atmospheric and experimental approach. Yet we never plan these things, we are the biggest fans of our own music, and to us “Tevras” is a cohesive mish-mash of our individual tastes. As was the case before, Goatskullt songs just happen, we never sit back and go “oh, but this sounds too much like this and that”… No! Honesty is to put on tape the things that come naturally, and there is nothing that was forced on “Tevras”. Some people give credit on going beyond your so-called “comfort zone”, but I for one have never understood that. What does it mean? Soon enough you’ll have your inner Brian Eno shouting: “play it like it’s yellow!” It is Black Metal after all, sonic violence which should all just flow from you and be spontaneous. If it happens to be atonal, otherworldly chaos that comes out from you, then great, but in our case it is usually more like something you can really sink your teeth into. And here we come to the conflict between the vision, the image one has of his creation and what happens naturally. Bands and artists that hang themselves on their vision are usually musically meaningless and draw themselves into a corner. Trying too hard to sound like nothing before is great for some people I guess, but I rarely feel that kind of an approach offering anything real”

One of the things that makes “Tevras” great is the blend of different styles within the one record; do you still consider yourselves a second wave of Black Metal band three years into your career? Second wave Black Metal is a term for people who like to put things into boxes, myself included. But sure, without the music coming out of the Nordics in the 90’s Goatskullt would not exist. But what does it mean in 2021 to be labeled 2nd wave Black Metal? Is that Retro Black Metal? I think Goatskullt is simply Black Metal fused through everything we are collectively influenced by. And to me all the different styles you’re referring to we’re already on display on the first two releases. But I guess this time around there was less variation within individual songs, as the fast ones are fast from start to finish and the slower ones stay slow. I believe that is the reason why there seems to be so many different styles. I didn’t even think about it until people outside started to bring it up. There will always be some punkish, thrashier, borderline cross-over riffs, and some folkier passages, because that is just what happens when I pick up the guitar. And the same goes with the other guys in their songwriting, although they have a slightly different taste. Goatskullt is not a band for over-analyzing things. I couldn’t and I wouldn’t write a fucking Deathspell Omega song even with a gun on my head. Let other bands do that, that is not where we shine

You’ve been compared to everyone from Impaled Nazarene to Moonsorrow but who would you say your biggest influences are when it comes to formulating your sound? Oh, way too many bands to name. In my case it all started in my early teens, when our current drummer gave me a mix-tape with all the classic Nordic bands on it. And it was actually the Mayhem song “I am thy labyrinth” that made me go whoa! What is going on? But hearing Darkthrone was even more of a life-changing experience, “Under A Funeral Moon” made me feel like being home. After that I just dove into Black Metal headfirst. So to us, that is what Goatskullt is all about, reaching that initial feeling awoken in us when we heard Black Metal in the first place. But to truly answer your question, we all have different but very eclectic tastes in music, and all that will find its way into our music. Lately I have been for some reason listening to mostly Swedish stuff, the eponymous record by Wulkanaz is simply sick, and I could rave about Panphage for hours. Then again, a while ago someone dubbed us the bastard child of Satyricon and Impaled Nazarene, I can live with that

What was the thought process behind going with an all Finnish language release for this EP after 2019’s “Kinahmia” was in English? Actually, half of the lyrics on both “Kinahmia” and “Refuse To Exist!” were already in Finnish. And there really was no thought process with writing all the lyrics in Finnish this time. Again, it all comes down to doing things that happen naturally. The english written lyrics on earlier releases are actually quite old, things I had written way before Goatskullt’s formation. Nowadays however, I would not feel comfortable trying to sing in english, especially since I use a lot of Finnish folklore and idioms. Besides, in this day and age I feel it is very important for people to be able to express themselves in their native tongue. Sure, it would be great for non-Finnish speakers to wholly understand what I am screaming about. Probably I should just translate the lyrics at some point and post them on Metallum or something

Ruho” (or “Carcass”) has a slower industrial tinged style with oppressive tendencies that builds sinister atmosphere; what was it that nudged you in the direction of using programming to augment your sound? Simply put, for some reason, we recorded the basic skeletal structure of the song completely with a synthesizer, although I had written the song on guitar some time earlier. Then we decided to do a loop with an anvil sample, because the rhythm and the lyrics were simply begging for it. The name of the song is indeed carcass or a dead body in english, so we wanted to create the atmosphere of an otherworldly abattoir with all kinds of dark ambiences. Soon enough we realised we had pretty much nailed the essence of the track already on the demo, we only added a live rhythm section and guitars. And that is the version you hear on the EP

Musipedia Of Metal suggested you’re lovers of waving your bullet belts around and necking cans of Special Brew; do you ever throw your bullets in the fire and run like hell? If not Special Brew, what’s your beverage of choice? Well, we sure do run like hell. About bullet belts then, I think we’ve been influenced by bands waving them belts but it wouldn’t fit our carefully crafted image to do it ourselves. Special brew will do, however me and the lead guitarist, we are hopeless beer-hipsters, totally smelling our own farts while sipping the latest neipa from the local breweries

What next for Goatskullt? We are constantly writing new music, a full-length is the natural next step. We have also decided to put out a compilation of all the music we have released so far

Tevras” by Goatskullt is out now and available over at bandcamp

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