ZT INTERROGATION: GODHOLE READY TO MAKE SOME (MORE) NOISE
Edinburgh powerviolence trio Godhole’s debut Self-titled Double EP obliterated a lot of borders with its aural/emotional onslaught, an intense, intelligent release blurring the boundaries of powerviolence, crust and pure noise.
In the wake of the EP’s success the band are gearing up to release Anthrophobia, a collaboration with fellow Scottish noise terrorist Crozier to be released by Mind Ripper Collective/WOOAAARGH Records( hear a preview track here)
ZT catches up with guitarist/vocalist Jamie Christ to talk about the new album and the art of noise…
– Godhole and Crozier seems like a perfect pairing, how did you come to work together?
I first got to know Derek (Crozier) from putting on gigs at our house, The Palace of Crust in Aberdeen. He was the vocalist in SUFFERINFUCK, who for my money are basically the best band from Scotland in the last 10 years. They were utterly terrifying, largely due to Derek’s intense and intimidating stage presence. In recent years his label Vile Noise Records has becoming one of my frequent websearches, so when I decided I wanted to do a record with noise and electronics simultaneously with Godhole, he was obviously the first person who came to mind.
– The self-titled double EP seemed to really make an impact, were you surprised at the reaction it got?
Yeah! I thought everyone was going to hate It! Hahaha… I thought the band side was too weird and didn’t really fit into a particular genre and that the B-side would just be completely ignored or even laughed at. But I have had some amazing feedback about it. People have told me that the record touched them emotionally and that they felt less alone knowing other people feel the same as they do. That’s all any musician can really ask for isn’t it?
– The inclusion of the pure noise pieces on the EP added a whole other dimension to it, how did that come about?
Well actually I’ve been doing electronic music for some time. Making Breakcore and also an upcoming project called ‘The Fear’ that is like brutal, noisey hip-hop with Irish Dirtcore Legend Roysta. Though I had never really made any pure noise stuff, apart from just messing about with samplers and effects pedals for fun. I was having my first go at it, then decided I really wanted some vocals in there so I used the newly written lyrics for ‘Atrocious Forgotten’ purely just for something to say. Then I was like, ‘Shit, this is quite cool. I should do this for all the Godhole songs!’ The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of having a mirror image of the main band songs. As if the band is my expression of my brother’s suicide and the experimental side is my brother’s answer to that.
– Powerviolence necessarily has an aggressive element but pure noise can create almost any kind of atmosphere, do you find the two idioms/genres very different to work in?
What I love about noise is that because you don’t have to follow ANY musical conventions like tempo, key or scales, it is just pure artistic expression. With Godhole I really try to make it as purely expressive as possible. A lot of our riffs have very loose notation, so it is more just about using the pain and anger to attack the guitar. I guess I’m just trying to make writing music for the band and making noise as similar as possible.
– Who or what are the biggest influences on the music you make?
Full of Hell for sure, I saw them in Glasgow a while ago and it totally blew me away. Those guys really believe in what they are doing, and that is by far the most important thing to me. Bands like Daughters and The Locust have had a big influence in my guitar playing. The first time I heard Daughters I just totally loved how they had completely thrown away EVERYTHING you were supposed to be doing while playing the guitar and just using it as a noise making machine. Then of course every punk’s favorite Tragedy, and Darkthrone are a big influence for the black metal side of things.
– Powerviolence is sometimes seen as kind of pure chaotic outburst, but songs like Anthrophobia have a real sense of structure and dynamics, what is the songwriting process for Godhole, is there an improvisational element at all?
Usually I’ll just come up with riffs then the rest of the guys will help structure it. We definitely try to do as much stuff in the shortest time possible though. It’s always, ‘how long was that? two minutes? how can we make it one minute?’ I think a lot of bands from Scotland love a big sing along chorus. I have always been a massive Oi Polloi and Exploited fan so I do find it hard to not put chanty choruses in there. Those tend to naturally create more of a conventional structure. And as far as dynamics goes, I have always said, the best way to make something really fucking heavy is to put something really quiet in front of it haha!
– Powerviolence now has quite a long history now and as someone from Fife I have to say that it seems far more suited to Scotland than California! Do you think the Scottish/UK scene has a distinctive sound compared to elsewhere?
I didn’t know anyone was from Fife, I thought you could only be ‘Fae Fife’ hahaha… sorry to all English readers who don’t get that joke. Yeah, I’ve always thought grim and heavy music comes out well from Scotland as it is such a dreich and miserable place. I’m half Norwegian so I know EXACTLY what Norway is like, and it’s really, really not how all the black metal bands make it out to be haha! It’s all so middle class and lovely and friendly, so I’m like, ‘what the fuck do these guys have to be so grim about!?’ But I’d actually say the thing about Scotland is that the bands all sound really different from each other. Our best bros are another PV band called Endless Swarm. We get paired together on gigs all the time, but I still don’t think we sound much alike.
– The powerviolence scene shares a lot of elements/fans/artists with the whole crust/grind/punk underground scene, is it part of a whole lifestyle to you, rather than just music?
I think in Scotland there are so few punks that we really can’t afford to be dividing ourselves up into subcategories. So most gigs will be a mix of grind/sludge/crust etc. It makes it much more interesting than the whole night being at the same pace and timbre. As far as the lifestyle, I’M DIY TILL I DIE haha! I have been making a series of films called SCOTTISH DIY all about the different DIY music stuff that goes on in Scotland, they are all up on youtube to watch. Some are set in flats, houses and the famous Cramond Island of Punk fest.
– Your music often has a strong emotional impact, is making/performing it a cathartic experience for the band?
Well for me personally, I usually have to go be by myself for a while after a set. Singing about my brother is really painful for me, and there is no way of avoiding getting really worked up while playing. I hate it when you see heavy bands just standing there playing. So for us, its total commitment to performing and giving it everything you’ve got. I have wanted to make some sort of artwork about my brother for years but Godhole is the first time I’ve felt satisfied that it’s done him justice. So yeah it’s quite cathartic for me.
– How important is playing live to Godhole?
Although it can be painful, it feels like I HAVE to do it. I have to get it out of me somehow and I have always loved performing. Ever since I was wee I’ve always liked to perform for people, I guess I’m just a massive show off. I fucking hate guys like me.
– Edinburgh historically hasn’t been seen as a musical city compared to Glasgow, but in terms of harsh underground music it has quite a thriving scene, do you find the city inspirational (in a positive or negative way)?
I fucking love Edinburgh. The other day I was talking with my mate, what other city in the UK do you get places like Blackford Hill, Arthur’s Seat and the Pentland Hills as well as the sprawling city? My adolescent years were all spent getting drunk up a massive hill overlooking the whole of Edinburgh. It’s definitely a very beautiful place. However it’s also where Trainspotting is set. It can be pretty horrible as well.
– Powerviolence is a truly international phenomenon, do you find there is a sense of unity or comradeship in the scene?
I think with bands that would put themselves under the category of FAST definitely have a bond together. The network of people releasing music for free and working together to release records is great. Touring in this circle is easy as well. It really seems like, ‘Do you have blast beats? Yes. Ok you’re on the bill!’ There’s no, concern as to how new or unknown you are, if your music is good, that’s all that matters.
– What’s next for Godhole?
We are touring Finland with local grindfucknuggets Cut To Fit in June, it’s going to be my first tour in a long time so I can’t wait! As well as releasing our collaboration with Crozier we are featured on the Mind Ripper Collective, SPAZZ covers compilation which has just gone up for pre order. The band list on that thing is fucking amazing, it’s a pretty comprehensive list of the great fast bands going about at the moment. So check that out!