interview: Dawid Krosnia
photo: Felcher Goat
The Goat Tavern: Hi Felcher Goat, how are you? Thanks for taking your time to speak with me. How’s life in Sweden?
Felcher Goat: A pleasure to have a chat with you, The Goat Tavern! Life here is ok, I guess. Well, very good in some ways, horrible in other ways – the mess of a world we all live in.
First of all, I need to ask you about the name of your band. Felched by the Goat is a very strong name. When you hear this name it gives you no illusion, even without listening to your music that the lyrical and musical side of things is mega filthy. Is your band’s name just for fun or did you have any sexual intercourse or fantasies with the goats and that’s why the name is what it is? What is your view on being felched by the goat?
It’s a daily routine, just like breakfast, but more extatic. No, I’m joking – I separate fiction and reality, but the name is a good metaphor. You’re right about what expectations that the name conjures up, expectations to both embrace and sometimes go against, wherever the song and mood takes you. I like works of art that are balancing on a thin line between psychopathic and comical, like say the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, or Brainbombs’ recorded output. Sometimes it’s so psycho it’s silly, then seconds later it’s so silly it’s psycho – the dinner scene springs to mind, perverted in a mindmelting way. It’s the mood that counts.
True story of the origin of the band name: there was this person I had to work with for a while, who was too many times unbearable to deal with. Wild mood swings. Once, in February 2011, I got insulted by being falsely accused of doing something I didn’t do, so to let off steam, I wrote lyrics for a spiteful song called Brown Tongued Bitch. Unfinished and crap, never to be recorded, but in it, there were the lines ‘You kissed the goat / Now french his ass’ and later ‘You frenched the goat / Now he’ll felch your ass / (Bend over for the beast, Bend over for the beast…)’. When my childhood friend the guitarist known in FBTG as The Burning Dog read it, he laughed and said ‘Felched By The Goat, that’s a great band name!’. And there you have it. Then, in early December the same year, I started writing the songs that made up the first, rather primitive CDR album.
Could you tell me how your musical journey started from the young age until the moment you’ve decided to create Felched by the Goat? Who made the biggest footprint on your musical career? I know you’re a massive fan of Bathory, right?
Correct! Regarding FBTG, I like to point out five key inspirations: Bathory, Venom, Celtic Frost, Borbetomagus and Brainbombs, but of course there’s a lot more going on behind that tip of the iceberg. Beach Boys, Smog, Yoko Ono, Sparks, Lou Reed and John Cale.
Autumn 1982, when I was not yet 9 years old, I started playing saxophone. Originally, I wanted to play drums, but there were too few drum teachers in the small town suburb where I grew up – at least that’s what I was told. I’m really sloppy at keeping time anyway!
My real interest in music started about two years later, with seeing Slade on TV – The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome was new at the time, still a killer album – and exploded big time with KISS. Animalize was their then new album, but that didn’t get me hooked, what really did me in was hearing Firehouse on Alive!, the best album ever made as far as I’m concerned, and of course seeing pictures of them in their glory make-up days. Then the floods of heavy metal were opened, Ozzy, Dio and W.A.S.P. and so on, you can imagine the likes – Shout At The Devil era Mötley Crüe, before the poodle rot set in on so many artists. Accept became my second favourite band, this time the key track was Starlight and the Breaker album. We even had a childhood metal band, Slöphead – it’s like a metal kid version of The Shaggs on tin cans and toy guitar, the complete 1984-1985 sessions are up on YouTube. It was me, a younger relative of mine and my best buddy at school who introduced me to so much metal. True metal hearts at work, sounding unintentionally free form avant-garde. If you know of similar sounding kid metal bands, please let me know! There should be a whole subgenre! Check your drawers for old tapes, people … Then, in 1985 I was introduced to the sound of Venom, hearing Rip Ride made them my new favourites. I still like the At War With Satan and Welcome To Hell albums the best, they’re grittier in some way.
photo: Felcher Goat in 1987
And yes, then Bathory of course. I have a distinct memory of hearing War on the radio when I still hadn’t heard that much metal, it was way more raw and brutal compared to what I had heard before, it just left my jaw dropped on the floor. But I remembered the chorus ‘hook‘ and the band name. And I do have a note in an old school calendar that I bought The Return… on May 28, 1986 – it was a sports day at school, and the one thing that made it at all endurable, was knowing that we’d finish early so I could take the bus into town, bring my saved-up money to the record store and get that LP. After that, I followed Bathory eagerly – that Rockbox radio interview 1987 made a big impact, quotes like ‘just screaming is enough‘ etc. – up to and including Twilight Of The Gods, then he took a break.
Around the same time, I sort of took a break from metal too, I still listened to the old records I had, but didn’t follow what was new – I actually liked Metallica’s black album a whole lot, I didn’t scream sellout, even though there’s a ‘Steve Sanders going sensitive‘-cringeyness about that ballad, but when a friend taped a Morbid Angel album for me, it didn’t click with me at all. Maybe I should give them a new chance now? What I instead did get heavily into was Foetus, who was brutal, intelligent and playful, with excellent vocals. Genius! Also listened a lot to bands like Pogues, The Kinks, Einstürzende Neubauten.
Apart from KISS, I would say the other huge musical influence was when a friend played me Borbetomagus in 1994, their Snuff Jazz LP. This is an avant-garde noisejazz band that started in the late 70s and are still going strong, a sax-sax-guitar trio. Other noise acts such as Merzbow didn’t hit home the same way, probably because of the organic, guttural human feel in Borbeto’s music courtesy of the saxophones, and when I asked Jim Sauter what effect boxes they use, he said ‘I always refer to them as generic guitar effects pedals‘, i.e. rooted in good-ol’ distorted rock. Abstract chaos. Suddenly, saxophone went from being associated with utter cheesiness to being damn cool, and I was inspired to start my own minimalistic noise jazz band called Sugar Daddy, which can be seen as just another ‘pub band’ within the small genre, but there should at least be one in every town, even though they’re not in the same league as the absolute masters. Not that the pubs are very open to that kind of noise, unfortunately… I also resented the macho free jazz style, acting like a moose in heat with spread legs, so often we went for a colder approach, just played through the mouthpiece and neck, no intended interplay, just chaos within strict minute limits. Like an embroidered carpet of sound. Sometimes using people who’ve never played their instrument before was also a bonus, adds an element of unpredictability, a spice that liven things up. This ‘anti-music‘ contrariness of course has traces back to the dadaists, whom I hold in highest regard.
From a noise perspective, early Abruptum isn’t really impressive, to be honest, but from a black metal horizon, they have plenty of merit, loosening up the structures. I think I’ve read Tom G. Warrior commenting on Celtic Frost’s ‘avant-garde metal‘ labelling, saying that it’s only avant-garde viewed within metal, which is correct.
Anyway, in 1994-98, I resurrected Slöphead in a ‘mark II‘ line-up, playing a number of small gigs as a duo or a full band, sounding a bit more like we intended to at the time, but after a very cool reunion with the original singer, I felt that circle was closed.
This all was a parallel artistic life to writing and drawing comics, I lost myself completely in the comics fanzine scene from when I was 14 years old 1987, often drawing pretty violent stuff, then as time went by, with added thought behind it. I got professional after a couple of years, the first of many books came in 1996, you could say it is stuff in the same vein as what’s published by Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly. Alternative comics, rooted in the underground. Then I got more artsy in 1995, making some fanzines in ashes, they were burned and put in signed envelopes, another fanzine issue was a dead bird, a ready made that was mailed to a guy in the scene who sure didn’t appreciate it, he filed a police report. I’ve realised this sounds pretty ‘metal‘ in hindsight, but was in both cases inspired by art.
I found Quorthon’s first solo album in a sales bin around then, but I was disappointed, didn’t like it at all. In retrospect, I can very well understand him wanting to try something else, but to me at the time, it sounded like an old legend degrading himself, trying to adapt and cash in on the damn grunge wave. Never met or had any contact with him, but I was starstruck when in 1998-1999 I saw a Black Mark van parked in Vällingby, the Stockholm suburb where my then girlfriend lived at the time. I should have stayed around! To at least maybe get a glimpse of Boss, his producer dad; Black Mark is the label. Later, I have visited the grave a couple of times since realising it’s only a short bus ride away from where I live, the first time lighting 13 candles. I really wish the family would put out some sort of album of unreleased Bathory stuff etc, like The Beatles’ Anthology.
photo: Felcher Goat at Quorthon’s grave
Anyway, when I got my first porta studio in 1997, I started recording on my own and later with a few collaborative friends, an experimental rock band project called The Wonder Boys, that I poured a lot of energy in until FBTG took over. I also did a huge book about an old long gone faith healer madman I’m related to, debunking the myths around him, and a TV documentary about a more charming outsider who turned out to be a hoarder.
One of the things that brought me back to metal was Celtic Frost’s comeback album Monotheist. I’m still in awe of how great that is, especially experimental songs like Totengott and Winter, which I miss in Triptykon. When I listened to Celtic Frost as a kid, Into The Pandemonium was the big one for me. I didn’t really think about how eclectic it was, I just liked it all, but these days I’m even more of a fan of Tom G. Warrior than I ever was at the time. He keeps it interesting, intelligent and personal, with devoted attention to detail in all kinds of releases. Monotheist finally made me ‘get‘ Hellhammer too, it clearly showed the sharpened diamond hidden in of that lump of coal. I had the Apocalyptic Raids EP as a youngster, but only saw it then as a ‘B‘ version of Celtic Frost, well it was an earlier stage. This is of course embarrassing to admit in hindsight, but I traded it in during a record fair in 1994, because I was desperate to get Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music 2-LP. And that’s a masterpiece alright – but it wasn’t even a fold-out copy! Young man’s mistake equals paying for it not cheap on eBay many years later.
There was a great book about Swedish metal published in 2011, Blod Eld Död, named after the Blood Fire Death album. The Bathory chapter, I read ASAP, the rest half a year later. That sparked a curiosity in Mayhem and others, and soon I found myself listening to Norwegian ‘second wave‘ black metal bands a whole lot, I could hear what was new in it, whereas earlier, if someone played Burzum I just thought ‘who is this Bathory copycat?!‘. I wasn’t looking in that direction at all, I listened to Swans and Caspar Brötmann Massaker. Septic Cunts was impressive though, but I didn’t hear that one until maybe 1995. Sardonic Wrath is probably my favourite Darkthrone album. And Order are terrific! In the Swedish scene, I think Disa Draugurinn’s bands needs to be discovered by more people, she’s totally cool and genuine and I’m very fond of Turdus Merula’s Herbarium album – the track Actaea Spicata in particular – also her split-up band Murmurs‘ Fædd úr Eldi album, raw and intense as fuck. I like Grafvitnir a lot too, but I have yet to find the appeal in Ghost’s music. I prefer the original ABBA, by far.
photo: Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son – English nursery rhyme from 1795
FBTG is not a new project. You’ve had a few releases already. You’re also hidden in the darkest corner of the underground music scene and probably not a lot of people are aware about your doings. Your music is very creative and obscure in the same way. Can you tell us more about the writing process? Every release has got a different sound and different approach in my opinion.
Well, the idea at the beginning was to avoid ‘normal‘ song structures, I was so tired of that from my previous project. It was like The Goat, the main protagonist, was ‘too evil‘ for that! Instead focusing on those kind of cool intros metal bands used to have, before everything got much thinner sounding when the ‘real‘ song started. I’m a big fan of Black Sabbath’s experimental tracks, FX, E5150 and so on – Sabotage and Never Say Die are my preferred albums by them, it was such a mistake to have Rick Rubin produce the 13 album, all the fun and fleshed-out fat stuff went out.
The first FBTG releases from 2012 are primitive but not in the expected and usually preferred lo-fi of the rehearsal room, instead it’s closer to industrial music, I suppose. There are some cool ideas there and the ‘vision‘ of the band is in place. The two-track thing from 2013 was a try-out in doing something keyboard-based, or rather pretend that I had a field day in the studio with access to all kinds of instruments, but I had to make do with what I had at the moment … Then I started getting into ‘normal’ song structures a bit again, and getting The Slicer Maestro and more people to cooperate for the Black Beastiality Metal album 2014, the second full-length and the one that came with a torn-out bible page rolled into a felching straw. Four key tracks on that one are reprised on the Goat Prophet digipack, since I thought they deserved more attention. I thought the music had evolved to the extent that it deserved to be pressed in at least 300 copies, apart from being tired of cd burning and cover slicing-and-folding. By then, I had gotten a better program for mixing and bought a used pod board for the guitar – but I still prefer the razor sharp distortion that comes through my old Tascam cassette porta studio, especially for vocals. Nothing like it! But it’s all very DIY…
As for covers, we’ve only picked a few so far, but avoiding the expected, which I guess would be something by Von and Dissection. Brainbombs aren’t very well known in black metal circles as far as I can tell, and Queen of Necrophiles fitted FBTG very nicely in subject matter – we don’t sing much about bored psychopaths killing prostitutes. There’s also a black metal makeover of a short Doro song in German, a little tribute to the metal queen, and we’d also like to acknowledge the noise tradition in metal by covering Black Arrows by Manowar, another old favourite band of mine.
photo: The Goat Tavern – Felched by the Goat – Goat Prophet (2016)
One of my favourite songs from FBTG is Ballad of Thomas Granger. Would you be able to explain who is Thomas and why make a song about him?
Glad you like it! It was The Burning Dog who made the research on that one. Most of the information in the song is true, young Thomas Granger’s bestiality acts and execution in 1642, I just added a twist. Maybe his last name was Graunger, but that wasn’t as easy to rhyme with.
History is definitely worth studying, gruesome stuff that puts things in perspective. Previously, I had done a song about a Swedish guy called Erik Ahlgren, who wrote a letter in blood to Satan in 1727, trying to sell his soul for financial benefits. I think he too got the death penalty, but I can’t remember right now, but I once filmed the original letter and the court papers during a visit at the National Archives.
Another guy from history’s sordid pages was Erik Jöransson, who I didn’t write a song about – not yet, anyway – but used for a short story comic. He was, like Thomas Gra(u)nger, into beastiality and did his deeds in Swedish Bjurdalen, 1752, not yet 17 years old. Another death penalty.
I’ve noticed that the lyrical concept is different on each song and I’m struggling to find a link between them. Am I missing something? What are the lyrics mostly about and what do they mean to you?
Well, I like variation, think of the different styles on Celtic Frost’s Monotheist album for example, or the first Velvet Underground album. Each song can be viewed as is its own little world, but still I think there’s a unifying mood or FBTG vibe, otherwise the songs would’ve been bookmarked for another band or project. Bestiality, necrophilia, Satan, gore etc. – it’s a challenge coming up with new stuff since the subject matter has been used so many times. Kill The Bastards is a generic title, but written from the perspective of a religious-fanatical virus, being in it just for the violence. It’s our Born in the USA song if you like, satire behind a sing-along chorus! Stand In Line To Fuck My Corpse started out as a fanzine cartoon piss-take of Rembrandt’s painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Coprophages‘ Communion is in its blunt way pretty clear about my opinions on communion – ‘holy‘ shit.
I think that Rape Duty is one of the best FBTG lyrics, maybe someone else could’ve gotten the idea of The Goat travelling back in time to rape all virgins so baby Jesus never could be born, but to add to that, that he rapes all the men and cattle too ‘just to be sure‘, in case they had ‘cleaned it up‘ in the Bible, and then the Goat Rib Woman – an evil Eve made by a rib of The Goat – gets impregnated through the ass and gives birth to the Anti-Christ, who then also gets raped by The Goat and felched too, that’s where I feel we left plenty of others behind. A ‘trve‘ devil-worshipper would probably not get into such a scene, but isn’t The Evil One supposed to be the pervert of all perverts? Should he back off incest? Oh no, since he closes the circle that way and gets the ultimate power. It’s all of course a satire on the virgin birth, the trinity and all things religious.
I’m a devoted atheist at the core, there’s no soul-searching shit or ‘look, I did my occult homework‘ showing off, nothing mystical about it – just a heartfelt desire to create a really gruesome racket with bizarre lyrics to go. How humorous it all may seem at times, at the heart of it, I’m dead serious about my work. And blending the black metal sound with noise jazz, it’s a path with few footprints – the early Painkiller releases Guts of a Virgin and Buried Secrets should of course be mentioned! There are actually some reed-biting squeals on The Beatles’ Helter Skelter, even! Now and then a saxophone turns up, it’s refreshing, but often it’s more free jazz or Stooges rock style, instead of real reed-biting mayhem. You often need a couple of players so it won’t sound thin. Not that it needs to be noise all the time, but you don’t want to play sax like Bill Clinton, would you? My trick is, when I hear something extremely brutal, thinking could this possibly be improved in some way, getting even nastier? Then I open another window with a Borbetomagus track on it, playing at the same time, and as a rule, it just gets better.
Since were oldschool, raised on the first black metal wave, the idea of ‘orthodox‘ black metal is very strange to me and not very appealing. In the old days, people experimented with the genre and kept artistic persona and real-life separate, there’s plenty of of tongue-in-cheek humour about Venom, for example. I guess it’s like punk, going from creative individuality to conformity and a narrow-minded uniform with conservative genre and fashion polices trying to impress each other in who can be the most rigid. I have my own long-time reasons for doing what I do, and an obnoxious, violent biker gang attitude is definitely not part of my package. I guess we’re all familiar with the humourless ‘I wanna be bad‘ type of person, if you saw the classic back cover drawing on Peter Bagge’s Hate #2.
Two years ago, I contributed to Mark Rudolph’s comics anthology Morbid Tales, A tribute to Celtic Frost. In it, a famous ‘colleague‘ – VERY big quotation marks there – in the Swedish scene disses the project entirely beforehand, because he didn’t think it was ‘serious‘ enough. To each his own, but to me, that closed-minded lack of imagination surely isn’t much of a tribute to that experimental, genre-mixing great band. And on the other hand, that same guy didn’t have any problem with participating in one of the most commercial tv events, the local Grammy awards, where the music business kisses its own ass until it disappears up in it – not to be out-felched by me, anyway. So that was ‘serious‘, huh?
I think you’ve played only two shows in your career. Are you planning to play more in future? Your music is very specific. What would be the audience you’d expect to see on your shows and could you tell me about people’s reaction to your style of playing after the two gigs you’ve already had? Have you thought about playing in a psychiatric ward?
Like The Cramps, you mean? Well, if someone books us, why not? Bringing this studio project into a live situation is still very new. Last year, at the release party for my most recent comic book collection, a four-part graphic novel called Biting the reed, I played with my noise jazz band Sugar Daddy live for the first time in seven years, it was long overdue, the track being 6:66 – the John 6:66 track by FBTG is the same, 6 minutes and 66 seconds of music (=7:06!), with a spoken intro added. After that, we tried one song as FBTG as an experiment, with me doing vocals, the guitarist playing a simple one-chord riff and the horn players playing longer notes, less ‘shredding‘. It was a lot of fun, and this year, during the opening for an exhibition of mine with abstract paintings, we played a 10-song gig with a full band, which I think was a success and damn good fun. Several of the players and myself have been in a mailing list-based experimental orchestra called The Great Learning Orchestra, who among other things covered Metal Machine Music in 2006 and the same year covered The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie score. I like the live looseness of early Einstürzende Neubauten, free improvisation which is not slick, more atonal, like no wave. We hope to play live again soon! But both these events were for a small crowd of peers, imagine us at metal festival, we’d surely divide the audience, attracting more haters than fans… ha! But we’re up for it, if someone out there wants to book us!
Does your family and friends have any problems with the fact that you have a project called FBTG? Do you get any trouble of issues from people or animal organizations?
We’re not that well-known, you know… As for my family, I don’t shove it up their faces, and they’re pretty used since way back, with my sometimes provocative comics getting me in trouble now and then. Well, Mrs. Goat sings on two tracks. I’ve done perfectly well-adjusted work for kids too, one thing that actually inspired the longest track on the album, The Black Beastiality Trinity Go To Hades, which is a FBTG take on The Three Billy Goats Gruff story. A sleepless night quite recently, I thought of an even sillier version, with three Baphomets trying to cross a bridge, under which there’s a giant poser!
What does the future hold for FBTG? Can we expect any new releases very soon?
It’s a matter of economy and how much storage place there’s left in our apartment, but at the moment, I’m considering a future 2-CD called New Wave Of Black Beastiality Metal, where the first CD is the most recent studio tracks, and the other CD is the Live At Larry’s live recording, possibly with some bonus tracks to go. There’s still a couple of new tracks that need to get done, though. The Slicer Maestro and his friend sent me a backing track recently which was something else altogether. Raw, heavy and with a swagger groove just made for pole dancing for corpses. Of course, should anyone else want to release our stuff, that’d be a nice change! A 7” of Certificate Of Embracing Satan b/w So I Entered Hell would be great, a really powerful release.
Myself and The Goat Tavern would like to wish you fruitful years to come. Any last words or philosophies you’d like to share with us and your fans?
Thanks The Goat Tavern, and the same goes to you. Stay intelligent folks, dumb down the riffs and not your mind, vote left, and raise your hoof and felch!!!