Sound Check

Goat Don't Do That Voodoo That You Do

Sound Check

GOAT Having another transcendental experience.

Has someone wronged you? Are they wronging lots of people? Is revenge needed? It might be time for voodoo. Break out that handy-dandy burlap doll you made to look like said wrongdoer, and stab it in the face and genitals repeatedly. Revenge, done. But not all voodoo involves stabbing dolls. In a remote northern village in Sweden called Korpilombolo, they practice a voodoo that centers on love and family unity. It's this positive voodoo that fuels the earthen jams of recent Sub Pop signees Goat. They're a collective of sons and daughters whose numbers have swelled to a hundred people over the past decades. World Music is their first proper release, and sounds in the nine songs are guided through kiln-fired portals of psych, drone, and hypnotized krautrock. Guitar solos wander across a land bridge layered in skins and distorted wah-pedal. Medicine-woman vocals call to an oracle named Odgou. Songs like "Goatman," "Goathead," and "Goatlord" rise out from fireside trances. Who's Odgou, you ask? Why does Korpilombolo rhyme with YOLO? Could Randall Dunn be in this band? Questions abound, but Goat are unconcerned. They prefer anonymity and wear masks when they perform. All that matters resides inside the tents of their music. The member of Goat I spoke with said I could refer to them as Dr. Goatface. I think they were in Korpilombolo.

Please describe the type of voodoo you practice. How does it enhance your life? We keep our faith to the spirit world. We keep a close contact with it. Through transcendental experiences and music, we stay connected to the spiritual side of life. To have this belief and strive for spiritualism gives life a deeper sense of meaning.

For people who would like to start practicing voodoo, what should they do? Please guide me through some voodoo for beginners. Make an intelligent choice and start believing in your own version of God. To choose to do that is to choose to be happier and to give yourself a deeper mind and a richer soul. Open up to whatever brings you closer to your spirits. Let them guide you in your decisions.

If there is someone, an evildoer, that I wanted to bring pain upon, do I just make a doll of them and stab it with pins? Is there a type of pin that works better? Should I stab them in the nuts? Spiritualism is love. What you talk about is just some old Hollywood version of voodoo.

How can I tell if someone is using voodoo against me? I have this pain in my neck. Is someone using voodoo against me? How can I block it? Don't worry. No one can use voodoo against you. You can sleep safe at night.

Do you remember how your song "Dreambuilding" came about? How do songs arrive for Goat? Like most of our songs, they are created in the studio by jamming and overdubs. We record and produce ourselves in our own studio. I can't remember how this particular session was. Or if I even was a presence at this session [laughs]. But I know that the ending of the song was a coincidence that sometimes occurs when you record overdubs on tape, and suddenly a forgotten channel pops up and helps you finish off the song. I think everything that's fun and creative is a good idea. Doesn't matter so much who is there at the time. You can find your way in through overdubs.

What's your favorite music to listen to? Depends on the moment, of course. Can be whatever. This morning, I put on Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and fell asleep with my daughter. Later during the day, I put on Miles Davis for a while.

What parts of American culture surprise you? One thing I'd like to know is where this warmth and kindness comes from that you have in the US? Since your society is so individualistic. I don't get it, but I like it.

What about America do you enjoy? What do you not enjoy? I like the people. And I love going by car through your big country that feels endless. But when doing that, I find it challenging to find somewhere on the roads to eat that isn't McDonald's, Wendy's, Arby's, KFC, Checkers, or Denny's.

What is Korpilombolo like? What are your favorite foods there? Korpilombolo is a small village. It is beautiful. I really like all sorts of raw herring and roasted reindeer.

Let's do some quick answers. What's the first thing you think of when I say the following words:

McDonald's Filet-O-Fish. Boring.

Pac-Man Play Fort. Wasting time.

Grimace. Playing.

Florida. Sun.

Gimp Ball. Old pervert dude.

Dolly Parton. A doll. recommended


Comments (9) RSS

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Fnarf 1
Why can't they call this bullshit "philosophy" of theirs something else besides voodoo? There already IS a voodoo, and it's nothing to do with this bogus white hippie malarkey. They think they're doing theater, or something, but they're really doing blackface. I'm guessing they're not going to be doing a lot of shows in Cuba or Haiti, huh?
Posted by Fnarf on April 14, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Interviewer tries hard with "voodoo," but Goatman seems to shrug it off.

The record is good. Don't worry about "voodoo."
Posted by voodone on April 14, 2014 at 6:47 PM · Report this
"Should I stab them in the nuts?" Is by far the best part of this interview. Because if you have a voodoo doll, the first place you stab is the nuts.
Posted by Kerry Prender on April 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM · Report this
What @2 said.

The band's actual shtick doesn't have any especially troubling exploitation/vapid cultural appropriation problem. The band has, in this article, a Trent Moorman/flippant hipster bullshit journalism problem.

The show tonight was great.
Posted by d.p. on April 15, 2014 at 2:15 AM · Report this
4) - 2),

Have you all read this band's bio and seen the things they say? I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's all a joke. They made up all this "mythology" to have fun with their band bio. And "be different." They're probably from Brooklyn. Or if they're from Europe, I seriously doubt they're actually from a "small village in Sweden."

Trent did the right journalistic/entertaining thing by taking them to task. He's also dead on with his Randall Dunn proposition. Because Goat are doing what Master Musicians of Bukkake have already been doing for years.

That you say Trent's work here is a flippant hipster bullshit problem shows you have been successfully trolled and fooled. Take a step back to see what's going on. Laugh a little. You probably don't laugh very much.

I will agree with you that the show was great.
Posted by Kerry Prender on April 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Report this
@5: The band is definitely Swedish, and presumably rooted in Gothenburg more than any remote ritualistic commune north of the Arctic Circle.

I have no doubt that Goat's members (who seem young) are still figuring out how to balance their self-consciously ridiculous mythmaking against the seriousness with which they take their musical and performance processes, as well as their vague but seemingly heartfelt (again: youthful) spiritual explorations.

But that pursuit of balance is uninteresting to Moorman. So here he comes with his patented straining non-sequiturs and dead-horse beating, and his obligatory nod to a locally-significant insider reference point. The interview subject's apparent disinterest in answering "in character" only helps to illuminate the unrelenting bullshit that is Moorman's professional approach.

I promise you that I am a much lighter personality than I sometimes come across in text. I would not survive without laughter. Unfortunately, Trent's problem is that he thinks he's hilarious when he's invariably cringe-inducing. He's the hipster Jay Leno.
Posted by d.p. on April 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM · Report this
d.p., I laughed my ass off at this interview. I thought Trent's questions were well put, and I like how the member of Goat responded. Trent actually turned their boring voodoo story into something entertaining. I can not stand Jay Leno. I enjoy Trent's writing and interviews every week.

Trent writes: "sounds in the nine songs are guided through kiln-fired portals of psych, drone, and hypnotized krautrock. Guitar solos wander across a land bridge layered in skins and distorted wah-pedal. Medicine-woman vocals call to an oracle named Odgou." "All that matters resides inside the tents of their music."

I have yet to read a better description of this band's music, and I work in the music industry where I read music writing all the time.

How would you describe Goat's music? Let me hear what you have to say about them. Let me hear your "professional" description. What would you ask Goat that wouldn't bore the socks off me?

Dead-horse beating? Goat are beating much more of a dead horse with their voodoo "myth."

Non-sequiturs? You mean more non-sequitur than a "traveling witchdoctor who taught a remote Swedish village a loving version of voodoo centuries ago that they base their music off of"?

Pursuit of balance? What are you talking about? They're signed to Sub Pop Records touring the world.

Obligatory nod to a locally-significant insider reference point? You must not live in Seattle, or know any of Randall Dunn's music. He's been doing the same type stuff, better that Goat, for way longer than Goat. The first thing I thought when I heard Goat's music was, "This sounds like Randall Dunn's material." So I was glad Trent dropped Dunn's name. Extremely on point.

The fact that you use the word "hipster" shows how off-base and outdated you are. Hipster is lazy slang used by some who's frustrated with their own life.

Sorry dude, you're losing by a mile on this one.

Part of the Goat bio from Sub Pop's page -

"Legend has it that, for centuries, the inhabitants of the village were dedicated to the worship and practices of Voodoo. This strange and seemingly-unlikely activity was apparently introduced into the area after a travelling witch doctor and a handful of her disciples were led to the village by following an unknown Sami traveller from this area of Sweden.

The reason he led them there is unknown, but their Voodoo influence quickly took hold over the whole village, and so they made it their home. There they were able to practice their craft unnoticed and unbothered for several centuries.

This was until their non-Christian ways were discovered by the Church and they were burned out by the crusaders."
Posted by Kerry Prender on April 15, 2014 at 1:39 PM · Report this
The show was so epic last night I am going to drive to Portland to watch them tomorrow!!
Posted by EasterBunny on April 15, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Wow, @7, I guess I struck a whole lot of nerves in four short paragraphs.

You miss the point when you cast a record label press release as the final word on not only the band's self-marketing, but also its self-image. The tension arises from the artist's willingness to exploit this widely disseminated and obviously hyperbolic backstory, while simultaneously desiring to dial down the exoticism so as to be more casual and well-rounded in the context of this interview.

Unfortunately, Moorman completely misses his subject's cues, and thus proceeds to barrel through his not-funny voodoo clich├ęs while learning nothing from the answers, with typically embarrassing results.

I am familiar with Randall Dunn's production work, and I have seen Master Musicians. I would argue that Dunn has been more influential in the former role than in the latter, and even then only in the States. Master Musicians, like many music industry also-rans, is the kind of curious but ultimately dull band whose influence tends to be overstated by those too invested in a parochial scene.

The implication that a younger band that vaguely reminds you of an aging favorite must be indebted to that aging favorite (or at the very least should be educated about that favorite so that they may later offer tribute) is one of my least favorite music-snob tropes. Seriously, fuck that. If you're enjoying a band's output, why does it matter which antecedents did or did not provide inspiration?

I actually enjoyed Trent's musical description as much as you did. My objections to the piece stem mostly from the pretensions he brought to the interview.

As for your suggestion that "hipster" is no longer a relevant descriptor of a particular music-oriented youth culture, I respectfully submit that last night's Goat show proves you wrong. The truth is that Goat plays a very catchy and very good iteration of fairly straightforward psychedelic rock music. But now they play it on Sub Pop records, and their show receives heavy hype from KEXP. As such, I found myself flanked by the sampler platter of hipster archtypes: the e-cig-huffing, PBR-quaffing, slightly obnoxious attention-grabbers; the row of elaborate-equipped photographers who witnessed the show only through the viewfinders of their DSLRs; and the large-spectacled individuals who couldn't be bothered to derive any pleasure from the proceedings, much less to partake in any rituals of body movement. Three groups united by the transience and superficiality of their interest, who will have moved on to the next flavor faster than you can clap your hands and say "yeah".
Posted by d.p. on April 15, 2014 at 7:48 PM · Report this

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