Interviews

Published on August 18th, 2015 | by The Beige Baron

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The Myrrors Interview Goat

promoSweden’s Goat and Arizona’s The Myrrors might be based on opposite sides of the globe, but these genre-defying bands have much in common.

Both share a passion for vintage and contemporary ethnic, experimental, and avante garde music and filter these influences to create their own distinctive sound.

Both seek inspiration in the mystery of improvisation that — when the planets align — elevates their music to transcendental heights.

So when I discovered through various interviews that both bands enjoy and respect each other’s work (and with The Myrrors embarking on a European tour with some dates in Gothenburg as well as at the Copenhagen Psych Fest this November) I thought it would be cool to put The Myrrors and Goat together.

Their conversation covers everything from music influences, writing and recording music, and the story behind Goat’s new single It’s Time for Fun out now on Rocket Recordings.

Myrrors: If you don’t mind, let’s start with some basics: how is it that we arrive from the birth of Goat to the band we have performing today? We’ve heard that there have been some lineup changes since the band first began?

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Goat in Athens, Greece. Photo by Martin Ehrencrona

Goat: Yes, but our lineup is constantly changing. For a while now it has been more or less the same people performing live, because otherwise it becomes too much rehearsal of the songs and we really don’t like to rehearse much.

We like to jam and create and record music instead. And when it comes to recording, the line-up varies a lot.

Myrrors: Swedish underground music has a wonderful and complex history of which we ourselves are huge fans, and we were just wondering how you all see yourself fitting into this continuum… do you think there has been a continuous thread tying what’s going on there today with earlier bands like Träd Gräs och Stenar, Arbete och Fritid, Kebnekajse, Archimedes Badkar? And on a related note, what Swedish bands should we be listening to right now?

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Photo by Matt Schiels

Goat: I can hear a lot of International Harvester/TGS in The Myrrors’ music, or maybe I should say that I recognize the vibe since the music, of course, is your own.

So the way I see it, this thread of music isn’t bound to Sweden, it’s ancient and international.

And I don’t see us fitting in in any particular Swedish music history, but I hope that when someone analyze the world’s music history in the future, we might fit in somewhere there.

I dig all those bands you mention but I also think that even though they have similarities, they also go off on different vibes.

It’s just nice and fun to experiment with the recording process

Today there are a lot of Swedish bands that are good. Listen to Uran or Slowgold, for example.

But my question for you here is about your music: did you play in this style before you ever discovered any old music with this vibe that you also create? Or did some discovery bring this music out of you?

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The Myrrors’ Nic Rayne

Myrrors: There’s no pretending that discovering the International Harvester family records didn’t affect us heavily, but it was more a case of discovering music that clicked with what we had already been doing… elements of drone, repetition, and cyclicism were a huge part of what we were about, and to find these musicians who had more or less perfected those forms more than 40 years before was hugely inspiring to us!

Through them we discovered the rest of the aforementioned prog bands, all of which are really rooted in improvisation… We sort of get the feeling that despite the tight structures of Goat’s recorded works so far, your music must evolve in much the same way.

What does the creative process look like, taking a song like, say, Talk To God?

Goat: It’s mostly loose jams from the beginning. But we enjoy making songs out of it while recording. It is a very satisfying creative process. But almost everything we do is based on jams. Talk to God is a jam that we have removed instruments from, added others, and added vocals and some overdubs.

For us, it is interesting to work this way instead of only releasing the jams unworked, even though that can create wonderful albums too. For us it’s just nice and fun to experiment with the recording process and the songwriting process.

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Goat in New York. Photo by Alexander Kusak

Myrrors: The album Live Ballroom Ritual definitely gave people a chance to hear you all expand and jam on your material, though for a song­-oriented group, a live album seems like a surprising choice for a sophomore release.

What inspired you all to put together a live album so soon after releasing your debut, World Music?

Goat: It was actually Rocket’s idea. We just said, okay, and they recorded and released it. That album is mostly a funny memory for me.

Myrrors: The title of that first record certainly emphasized the already apparent international flavor of Goat’s music. This might be a tough one to answer, but what are some of your favorite “international”… and by that we’ll clarify to mean non­-European, non­-American… records?

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The Myrrors (channeling Michio Kurihara)

Goat: Hmm… there is something buggy about this question. I mean, if someone were to ask you what are your favorite records from US and Europe in the last 70 years, what would you answer? It is impossible to answer, right? If you were honest, you probably would have to say something from The Beatles and Kraftwerk, maybe since they have had the biggest impact on western music since the ’50s.

So if I should have to say some great records from the rest of the world in the last 70 years, that would have to be something by Bob Marley and Fela, I guess…

But I understand your question, so here are three albums I think everyone would enjoy. Boubacar Traore – Mariama, Guelewar – Touki ba Banjul, Hailu Mergia – Shemonmuanaye. What are yours?

It all just happened and we are happy right now to play wherever people want us to

Myrrors: Fair point, though when it comes to personal favorites it doesn’t seem like there ever should be a “right” answer!

Some of Grant’s favorites are the Deben Bhattacharya recording Gamelan Music of Bali and Bismillah Khan’s Shenai Nawaz, and Nik really digs Caravan’s Khon Kap Khwai and the Smithsonian Folkways compilation Teahouse Music of Afghanistan

So it seems as though Goat hit “the big time” almost overnight, signing with Rocket Recordings and touring internationally. What sort of effect has such a meteoric rise had on the band at a local level? Do you feel as though you had a chance to develop a strong fan base at home before taking things international?

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Goat, Sweden

Goat: We have never felt we needed a strong fanbase anywhere really. It all just happened and we are happy right now to play wherever people want us to.

But we also don’t want to play too much live in order to have energy and time to create new music. But the more we can go abroad the better; playing in Sweden isn’t maybe what we enjoy the most.

Myrrors: You all have just released a new single called It’s Time For Fun and it’s exactly as it advertises. What’s the story behind this track? Is this brand new material, or did this originate from the sessions that brought us Commune?

And are we mistaken or do we hear a little Omar Souleyman in the mix there?

Goat: Haha! He might have sneaked in there. Haven’t thought of it before now, actually, but it’s like that all the time. All music has already been done, you know?

But the tracks on the single are recorded after the release of Commune. Foundations were recorded by one of us travelling from the States down to Brazil in March, and then we used it to make songs out of.

Myrrors: Well, we’ll go ahead and wrap this up with a relatively broad and cliché closing question: what does the immediate future look like for Goat?

Goat: We are recording a new album at the moment, probably our last. And we have some shows to play, some vacation, some family business, then back to some shows again, and then we’ll see.

What are you up to? Would be fun to jam together sometime. Make sure to tell us when you are in Sweden and we can jam.

 

It’s Time for Fun is out now on Rocket Recordings (Sub Pop in North America) or via bandcamp. Check here for tour information. The Myrrors latest album Arena Negra is available on bandcamp. See here for European tour dates in 2015.


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