By Isabel Corp
After the 2020 release of their debut album, Long Haired Locusts, the heavy experimental rock sextet Godcaster has upped the ante significantly on their brand new self-titled sophomore album (out today via Ramp Local). Abandoning the more abstract freak-funk approach to songwriting, this album takes a more traditional and less abstract approach to structures, while maintaining the band’s quintessential ravaging, ear-splitting sound.
In between the sensory overload brought on by ten-minute epics like “Didactic Flashing Antidote” and “Draw Breath Cry Out” — the latter of which was written about lead singer and guitarist Judson Kolk’s recurring night terror about drowning in a sea of debris — the listener is brought back to earth by slow, stripped down reprieves like “Albino Venus” and “Pluto Shoots His Gaze Into the Sun.”
Recently, Penny caught up with Godcaster to discuss the album’s recording process, anticipating their inaugural SXSW appearance, and maintaining refined song structures as a foundational skill.
This album has been described as a much larger and more grandiose body of work than its predecessors. What sets this album apart from your previous projects?
We realized recently that previous Godcaster music was all about sabotaging our own songs. In our songs, at any given moment, around every corner would be a musical ambush. A tuneful trap. This was exciting for a time but I started to forget how to put together an actual song and that scared me. And there’s something evil about smothering your own song. This record is all about exploding and dying a wonderful death and life’s heartfelt sensations and we do not sabotage the songs we do our best to execute them properly and with maximum sincerity. It’s more difficult but the music is more rewarding.
Which song on the album was the most challenging to complete?
I can think of a handful that were very challenging. The song "Death’s Head Eyed Hawkmoth" was tough because it was completely gutted and redone in a big way in the midst of the recording process. "Didactic Flashing Antidote" was also challenging. It took around 25 takes to get right.
Two songs, “Didactic Flashing Antidote” and “Draw Breath Cry Out,” are over ten minutes long. What do you feel is the secret to keeping ten-minute songs exciting?
I have no secret. I’m not sure why they both got as long as they did. It was surprising. We got carried away with both of them. We like to think of them as big movie scenes.
Your debut album, Long Haired Locusts, came out in September 2020 while we were all still inside. How does it feel to finally be out and about for the release of this new album?
Very great! Indoors was no good.
“Pluto Shoots His Gaze Into the Sun” and “Albino Venus” are very nice reprieves from the chaos of the remaining tracks on the album. Speaking in a dynamic sense, how did these softer cuts play into the sequencing of the album?
A good band has all kinds of songs. We like music that's very soft and beautiful and music that's very loud and gorgeous. Having both on a record increases the drama. It’s music about the maximum.
Which song on the album is the most representative of your zodiac sign?
I don’t know my zodiac sign but "Vivian Heck" is my favorite song on the record and I feel the most me while singing it.
You’re hitting SXSW this year. What are you most looking forward to about being in Austin?
We like how surreal SXSW is. Every American band migrates to Austin for several weeks and just tries to play as much music as possible. There’s a literal din of music in the streets sometimes. It’s a very bizarre thing to observe. It’ll really run you dry if you let it.
If you could be a fly on the wall for any music-related historical event (be it a famous festival, legendary recording session, etc.) what event would you choose to be present at?
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. Woodstock ‘99.
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Godcaster LP - TRACKLISTING
1. Diamond's Shining Face
2. Vivian Heck
3. Didactic Flashing Antidote
4. Albino Venus
5. Death's Head Eyed Hawkmoth
6. Draw Breath Cry Out
7. Pluto Shoots His Gaze Into the Sun
8. Gut Sink Moan