Exclusive Interview: Godeater talk writing and recording “Vespera”!
The second of our exclusive interviews with Glaswegian Death Metal titans Godeater around the brilliance that is their sophomore album “Vespera” takes us behind the scenes to look at what goes into creating the record with guitarist duo Ross Beagan and Andrew MacDonald alongside drummer Tim Coulson telling it like it is. For the band it has been a journey over seven seas in seven years of seven deadly sins from 2016 single “Abyss Walker“ through 2019 debut album “All Flesh Is Grass” to reach this point…
How did your previous experiences writing and recording “All Flesh Is Grass” help to smooth the path of the new record?
Ross: “In terms of writing, it has been a fairly natural progression. I’d started to write for a second album before All Flesh Is Grass was even released and I was working towards that at the start of 2020. With Covid and the touring cycle for All Flesh Is Grass being cut short, we were forced to re-assess our release strategy and ended up releasing two singles, You Are No Exception and A Pale Shadow, in 2020 and 2021 respectively. I think these two songs helped ease the transition between the two albums because they allowed us to show off a refined, more atmospheric and more progressive side to the band which is featured heavily on Vespera!”
“The recording process was pretty similar as well – I track all the instrumentals at home and we go to a rehearsal space to record vocals! We’ve worked this way since day one so it feels natural at this point. The only major difference on Vespera was that because of lockdowns/Covid regulations, we weren’t able to get into a space to record pre-production versions of the songs. This has always been a pretty huge part of our recording process so it was a little strange to start working on the final takes without it, but we got there in the end!”
How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article?
Ross: “It’s a mixed bag, to be honest! Generally, when I write a section for a song, I write everything for it – guitars, bass, drums, synths etc. Sometimes I’ll write an individual riff and bank it, sometimes I’ll write a collection of riffs and start to piece them together into a song and other times I will write riffs in sequence and develop a song from there. It varies from day to day and song to song, so it’s quite hard to pinpoint what actually comes first! Coming up with the finished article can take anywhere between a couple of days, a couple of months or even a couple of years depending on when the inspiration hits!”
How did getting the legendary Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman (In Flames, Obscura, Architects) to mix and master the record come about? What was the difference between working with him and say Meyrick De La Fuente at Floodgate Audio who did “All Flesh Is Grass“?
Ross: “In the simplest possible way – we asked, he was interested, and the rest is history! Working with Meyrick was fantastic, he’s a great mixer/producer and we’re still really proud of how All Flesh Is Grass turned out but when we were working on You Are No Exception/A Pale Shadow, we really wanted a different sound – something more atmospheric and almost European sounding. I guess we were looking for a particular sound and the idea of going to Studio Fredman came up one day and that was it. I’ve always been a fan of the studio’s work so I guess that sound has always been somewhere in the back of my mind! The mix of those tracks turned out so well that we went back to have Vespera mixed as well!”
If you had the opportunity to work with a guest in the studio next time around, who would you like to work with and why?
Ross: “I’d love a really spooky guest vocalist, someone like Susanne Sundfør! We’ve experimented a bit with operatic vocals before, but I’d like something even darker and more pop-esque on there at some point”
Tim: “Simen hestnæs aka Vortex (ex-Dimmu Borgir). Dimmu Borgir were a big influence for me and his vocals are so distinctive. His work in Arcturus is great too. I love a big voice and something a little different!”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound?
Ross: “I’m still using an old Ibanez Prestige RGA121 with the classic EMG 81/85 pick-up combo! Amp-wise, I’m using the Kemper Profiler for everything these days, normally with a profile of a 5150/6505/5153 or similar. Strings are D’Addario NYXL 13-56 (with the fourth wound) and I’ve recently started using the green Dunlop Tortex Jazz III XL picks for some extra chunk, I think they’re 0.88mm thick”
Andy: “Devout ESP Guitars guy here – Horizons, Eclipse, Arrow, doesn’t matter! I use modellers too, but I’ve got an Axe-FX II – running either a 5150 or an Engl model”
Tim: “I’m a Czarcie Kopyto artist, their pedals are absolutely amazing! I pair them with On Trigger drum triggers and a Roland TM-2 module. I am also very fortunate to be endorsed by London Drumstick Company, with whom I have a signature stick with! I use a Gretsch bell brass or Mapex solid steel snare drum live, I love something that cuts through. I also have some cymbal endorsement news soon, but that will have to wait for now…”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer?
Ross: “Ideally, I’d like an endorsement with D’Addario so I don’t have to spend as much on strings! Clip-Lock straps on tap would be nice too!”
Andy: “ESP! Who do I need to talk to!? Connect with Godeater now!”
“Vespera” by Godeater is out now and available over at bandcamp