1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
H.: Hello! Honestly, nothing special is going on. At least, nothing is to be mentioned in particular. We wait for release of our third full-length album and prepare the material for upcoming releases without any haste. That’s the point.
2. Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
H.: Regarding music, “Downstream” does differ from its predecessors. Noise and power electronics component almost disappeared in favour of metal, so we have atmospheric doom metal as a base of album, tightly woven with drone ambient and ethnic music. Getting more into metal, we got Kim to our band, to let his outstanding drumming skills serve our purposes, so “Downstream” has live drums, unlike previous releases. Some features of this approach appeared already on “Erset La Tari”, but at that time we were focused on other things and solved other problems.
Vaarwel: Our aim was to create certain atmosphere of Far North in music, and not North of European kind (vikings/Asatru/Welteislehre/Hyperborea/whatsoever), but North of nature and aboriginal people united with the nature, especially shamanism. We tried to represent as many authentic instruments (for example, H. played jaw harp, and I played sanshin, and we used more of them) as possible in addition to traditional ones. For the main goal we also played traditional instruments different ways – I used wide excess of guitar flageolets both as piercing solos and as supporting parts of chromatic polyphony, howling and discordant.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
H.: “Downstream” is a conceptual work devoted to Ancient North, its rituals and beliefs. We didn’t take any particular mythology or cosmogony of nations that live there, but tried to make something more general: to describe nature from the viewpoint of the man whose whole life is being spent within it, from birth to death. All he has and all he will have is nature, from it he was begotten and into it he will return.
Vaarwel: The whole album is a journey through life of North – from Grey Rocks where was your home (was it?), to vast and frigid shores of Sea, hiding from spirits of Death, through desperate rage of Hunt, merciless Hunger and finally – to the descent Downstream as the end of your current life, but also a spark for your next life - which will be pretty much similar to previous one. This picture we imagine is quite doomed and hopeless yet astoundingly beautiful, and it inspired us a lot.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Goatpsalm'?
H.: This name emerged during work on our debut album, soaked with dark and chaos. At that time it seemed very suitable for the description of hell we created. With every next album our style gradually transformed, and for now it is not as relevant as it was at the beginning. However, we certainly will not change it – we still have enough darkness in our songs and who knows what will our next album become?..
5. Has the band done any live shows or this strictly a studio project?
H.: For now Goatpsalm exists as studio only project. Sometimes we have some thoughts or intentions to perform live, but we couldn’t make it real because of personal, creative and financial troubles. Maybe one day…
6. The new album was released on 'Aesthetic Death', are you happy with the support they have given you so far?
H.: Yes. I am glad of our collaboration and can say for sure that AD is one of the best labels I worked with. Stu does know what he does, and does it honestly and decently without unnecessary fuss and playing of Record Company Big Boss – the thing I sometimes faced earlier. Finally, Stu is a nice man and is close to me by convictions, which fact is quite important.
Vaarwel: From my experience, Aesthetic Death is one of the few labels I met who really cares of promotion of its releases, unlike some labels of even bigger scale. This is more than valuable nowadays, when even a retard can spend his disability allowance to print the CD, but only a wise and experienced man can make it required and sell it.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal and other forms of dark and underground music?
H.: Feedback is usually controversial and often bipolar, from total rejection to total admiration. However, this is not surprising, taking into account the controversial music we create. I am pretty sure that “Downstream” will have much more favourably than its forerunners.
Vaarwel: “Erset La Tari” had wide spectrum of opinions on it, but it was not liked pretty much by metal fans, due to excess of electronics and being exactly non-metal music. “Dowstream”, on the one hand is metal in basis, but on the other hand it has a hell of non-metallic parts and additions. I often face this attitude to works of my another project, so I wouldn’t like to make prognostications.
8. Are any of the band members also involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
H.: Yes, every single band member has his own projects aside Goatpsalm. Kim works with Do Skonu and a plethora of other bands of different styles; Sadist is mastermind of SS18, Lashblood, Deathmoor and Misanthropic Art; I am part of Sickrites. Working on Goatpsalm music, each of us usually brings ideas that hardly could be appropriate for other projects.
Vaarwel: As H. said, we all have separate activities. I am the only member of atmospheric metal/ambient project Frozen Ocean and also play guitar in Smothered Bowels.
9. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
H.: It’s an uneasy question. Maybe we will continue our experimentation in doom metal, maybe sometimes we will return to the roots and record an album of classic death industrial, or maybe our experiments will lead us to novel fields of extreme music unexplored by us. Time shall tell.
Vaarwel: But we can say firmly that every new Goatpsalm release will be dissimilar to previous ones.
10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
H.: We all listen to completely different music and to some extent everything listened can find a place in new Goatpsalm songs, although it is not easy to recognize from outside. I can’t speak for other band members, but my personal influences are Mordor, Abruptum, Lustmord, Emperor, The Doors, Astral Projection, Dead World, God Is An Astronaut, Beherit, Pink Floyd… it’s really hard to list them all. =) Currently I listen to lot of Hindu ethnic music, Gnaw Their Tongues, underground Death Metal of early nineties and the last album of Mylene Farmer – such a tracklist doesn’t let me get bored.
Vaarwel: Influences in music is a bit of sore spot, because today the scene exhibits a severe lack of creativity. Problem is get influence not too much, to avoid borrowing or copying. Speaking of what really affected my work for Goatspalm, I can remember Jute Gyte, Leakh, diSEMBOWELMENT, Spires That In The Sunset Rise and Arckanum. Presently I listen to brutal and technical death metal with almost no exceptions in styles, and wait patiently for new Wormed album.
11.How would you describe your views on Occultism?
H.: We all have very different attitudes to this subject – from a sufficiently high interest to the total rejection - so we are can't to answer this question hardly. As for me, I generally try not to deal with such questions in an interview because I consider it quite personal. I hope you understand me.
12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
H.:Nothing special, I think. Good luck - and thank you for the interview!
Vaarwel: Take care.