In the short time since the band’s inception, Indianapolis black grind monstrosity, Black Goat of the Woods, have carved their own festering mark into the face of the extreme underground. Their absolutely crushing self-titled EP is proof positive that these five guys mean unholy business. And business is good, apparently! Having already shared the stage with the likes of Coffinworm and Dragged Into Sunlight, they’ll make an appearance on March 25 with Author & Punisher, for the one-man industrial doom machine’s tour stop in Indianapolis, Indiana. Forbidden Magazine caught up with vocalist, D, and drummer, Unger, for an in-depth look at the ever-growing BGOTW path of annihilation. Those not yet familiar with Black Goat of the Woods should prepare themselves for total filth and intoxication!
-Hails!! First off, can you shed some light on how the black grind killing machine known as Black Goat of the Woods came to fruition?
D: Hails, Nate!! Well, BGOTW came about when members of Tunguska (Eric Unger, Justin Rea, and Roy “da god” Hayes) decided they wanted to something different, faster, blacker etc. I actually got a text from Unger asking me if I’d like to do a blackened grind project called Black Goat of the Woods, as the name was his idea. I previously did Blokhed and Means of Terrorism with Unger for years before “Sick” Shane Barnett’s death in 2007,and I’ve always loved doing music with him, so I immediately agreed to give it a try. I also did a brief run of a crust punk/grind band called Self Abuse with Justin on vocals and Kyle Barker on guitar (we only did two shows). I had known Roy but never jammed anything with him or Damon, who was the only other person brought into BGOTW that wasn’t in Tunguska. BGOTW is also his first band, unbelievably, as he is a riff machine these days!
-As the band’s name appears to be an H.P. Lovecraft reference, I have to ask, what’s the significance behind it?
D: Well, to me personally, the Black Goat of the Woods name is like our version of being our own secret society that gets together and performs extreme rituals but for us, it’s in the form of music rather than something otherwise. Everything BGOTW wrote/or is writing takes place in a place called “the situation room”, in an undisclosed location. I’ve probably already said too much.
-As you know, the self-titled release easily made its way onto my Best of 2012 list. What are your thoughts on the process of creating that beast?
D: Yes!! I know myself and the rest of the band were very humbled and appreciative to make a ‘best of list” especially from anyone in the know (as yourself and forbidden mag). I believe we made a “best of” list of “Grim” Kim Kelly as well, which was extra mind blowing to make two lists, especially since the album was literally just being released and making its rounds through the underground! As of my thought on creating the “beast” known as our debut release was just recording the same way we rehearse…just playing our music at 110% rage. I did the same, though the vocals were the only thing not done live, but done immediately after all the songs were recorded, of course. Carl Byers, of Clandestine Arts and Coffinworm, was given temporary access and thumbprint check for access to the “situation room”, to be able to record the EP for us, on which he did a great job! Geoff Montgomery from Ensomberoom did a great job on the final mastering of the EP. Basically, we just definitely wanted our debut release to be 9 tracks of some of the rawest, heaviest, blackened grind not only locally, but worldwide, in the underground and try to take not only Indy but everywhere possible by storm with a record that is undeniably heavy, black, and pure rage! We had to prove we were no joke, and weren’t some kind of one hit/one record wonders that were putting out some mediocre bullshit and disappearing because the band members were flaky fucks that weren’t good at anything but over-hyping some weak release.
-D, how would you say that process compares to the way your other project, Late August, gets things done?
D: Well, first off, BGOTW being five members alone makes the process of creating a lot different than Late August, since LA is just a two piece. In that case, it just takes one person to agree with the other on an idea one of us has to follow through with whatever it may be, new riff, entire song, to even our samples. BGOTW’s has five of us bringing ideas to the table for each track, that we all have to make sure were feeling. Then we start putting the songs together riff and drum wise, making sure everyone knows the riffs, and then not only coming up with lyrics for each track but coming up with the patterns I’m going to use on each track. Patterns and song titles usually come before the actual lyrics, because both give me a better idea of what to write about and how much to write, since I know what patterns I’m doing by that time. Late August is pure crusty sludge/grind that lyrically touches mostly on drugs, addiction, and then (of course) our tracks dedicated to “Sick” Shane Barnett and BGOTW takes a darker approach talking more about satanism, bondage and other sexual excursions, as well as drugs, as well as our disgust for at least 95% of the human race, and conquering anything in our way!
-What would you say are the strongest musical influences on the Black Goat of the Woods sound?
D: Well, we don’t ever go in and say “Dude, we need this next track to sound like some new Portal.”, or anything like that. We just have a distinct style we have developed just from writing everything purely from feeling and knowing we want blackened and grinding riffs, as well as touches of doom/sludge we adapt to the tracks. But were all influenced by so much that I couldn’t begin to tell you everything without being here all day or still spacing something out. But things from Darkthrone, early Burzum, Judas Iscariot, Celtic Frost, Archgoat, Satyricon, 1349, Nattefrost, Marduk, and Dead-era Mayhem…all the way to bands like Eyehategod, Buzzov•en, Goatsblood, Napalm Death, Nasum, Disrupt, GG Allin, Autopsy, and just so many more influences that I could mention but it would take all day. I haven’t even touched on our death metal and Swedish metal influences. But I think that even through all these great bands we all love, BGOTW has still ended up with a sound that overall doesn’t sound like any specific band.
– Yeah, the band has definitely created something all their own! What words would you use to describe the band’s live ritual, for those not yet familiar with that kind of chaos?
D: I don’t think I can come up with just a couple words to describe our live performance, but a ritual is definitely what it is. It’s a ritual we let others come to, participate in or just watch it taking place. Things we also do is use nothing but our red light and not talk much between songs, or giving anyone much of a chance to think between songs, which is why our sets start and end in pure noise and feedback. In combining of all these things with our actual music, we’re giving to the crowd what makes our live a true chaotic, ritualistic experience.
-With song titles such as “Fisting Angels” and “Terrorize the Church”, it seems clear that religion plays a role in the band’s subject matter. What are some other sources of inspiration behind the lyrical content?
D: Songs like “Fisting Angels” and “Terrorize the Church” are pretty self-explanatory. “Terrorize…” is obviously about satanism but I also touch on the subject that always stuck with me during an old interview with Varg Vikernes and Fenriz about how Christianity started pushing itself into places like Norway, and worst of all, began building their churches on top of sacred burial grounds of Norwegian vikings that fought and died protecting their land, making their burial site forgotten about and also showing complete disrespect to their history/heritage. Other inspiration lyrically is just things I’ve already mentioned pretty much,..the state of our world right now, hatred for humans that are wasting our oxygen every minute of their lives, getting wasted, and sexual content.
-How did the band’s alignment with Necrology Rekordings come to be?
D: Our alignment with Necrology Rekordings came about as I’ve known Dave Britts for many years. He was the vocalist in Emotion Zero with “Sick” Shane, and was around the scene for years before that too. I know Eric and Roy have known him for quite a while too. Not sure, honestly, how long Justin and Damon have known him. Anyway, one day, he was granted access to the situation room. He heard four or so songs from what’s now on the EP and was truly blown away! From there on, he wanted to release it ,which led to Carl recording it, and even Chubbs did the EP cover art, which is a painting. So, not only are the Coffinworm dudes one of the best bands locally, they’re also stand-up dudes that have done a lot to help us make our debut a reality and got us some killer shows with them. Necrology Rekordings has put out some killer, limited amount releases, and we are proud to be a part of that list now. If u haven’t u should stop by their Facebook page, look into what they’ve done…give their page a “like” or something.
-We can all look back on 2012, the hype surrounding the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, and the fact that the supposed big day, December 21, came and went and we’re still here. If Black Goat of the Woods were to play an end of the world party, what other performers would you prefer round out the line-up?
Unger: We’d get a DeLorean and go back in time to the GG Allin & the Murder Junkies tour, when they were touring with Neurosis, Eyehategod, and Buzzov•en …and play on that tour! That, or Morbid Angel (‘89) and Impaled Nazarene (92-95). This would all take place in our DeLorean.
-If Black Goat of the Woods were transformed into a movie script, what would the storyline consist of?
Unger: It’d have to be the most satanic, violent movie ever created, with Caligula-style porn scenes. Caliglua-meets-The-Exorcist-meets-Hammer-Horror. Just ridiculous explosions and shit, for no real reason.
-The band has made quite a mark in the short time it’s been destroying all around it, what would you say has been your favorite highlight at this point?
D: Well, for me there have been a few highlights that I think from past conversations the rest of the guys would agree with. Firstly the respect shown and great turnouts to watch our sets locally has been great. If you can’t get your hometown liking you, it takes all the fire out of trying to get everyone everywhere else into your music. Secondly, playing the Albion house in Chicago with Coffinworm, Bongripper, Bogrot (awesome sludge that deserves more recognition),and Oozing Wound was a great show! We had a great time, good crowd, good response to our set, and got to play with all awesome bands! Next, of course is getting our debut music released, and getting the chance to play with sick bands like Fistula, Dragged into Sunlight, Radiation Sickness, Boddicker, etc. We are looking very forward to playing with Author & Punisher at the Melody Inn on march25th.
-What does the future hold for Black Goat of the Woods, in regards to new material and recordings?
D: The future holds a lot of good shit for BGOTW, like a solo 7-inch vinyl release we’re doing with the U.K label, End Tyme Records.Todd Robinson is a former employee at Earache Records, and just started this label not long before he contacted us about doing this release for him. We are one of the first five releases he is doing on his label. We’re also doing a 100-copy limit, 7-inch split record of LATE AUGUST/BGOTW. More merch like new shirts, logo stickers and patches would be cool. Besides that, we have ideas for our next cd release after the vinyl projects. Not sure yet if it’ll be another EP or an actual full-length when it happen. More shows in and out of town. The future for me is to get as many people as possible to know of and hopefully become a BGOTW fan.
-That about does it for now, man! Any last words for the masses?
D: Well, thanks for the interview and supporting the underground, and if this gets out in time, peeps in Indy or close by need to come to the Melody Inn march25th for BGOTW, Coffinworm, Author & Punisher!! Check out our Facebook page and blackgoatofthewoods.bandcamp.com. Go to our Big Cartel page and pick up a copy of the cd and a shirt (before their completely out of print,i know there close). BGOTW isn’t going anywhere. We will be right here, writing material that will always top the last. Yet, the formula that so many people like will always be there in the music. Thanks to anyone who has made it to a show, enjoyed our music, done interviews, reviews, and anything that’s helped get our name out there. Satan forever! Forever Satan! Hails and Cheers!