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Goatsnake Vol. 1: an oral history

The story behind one of the heaviest debut albums ever recorded

Los Angeles doom metallers Goatsnake have teamed up again with producer Nick Raskulinecz for their new album 'Black Age Blues', some fifteen years after the release of their second record, 'Flower Of Disease'.

The quartet are hitting the UK for the Temples Festival this month, so we caught up with vocalist Pete Stahl and guitarist Greg Anderson to reflect on the band’s thunderously heavy debut – 1999’s Goatsnake Vol. 1– as the machine revs up once again…

**First of all, tell us about the recording process...
**Pete Stahl: “It was probably a unique one compared to how most records are done. I had just joined the band – those guys had already been working out a bunch of different tunes and they asked me to come in and sing. They were old friends of mine. At the same time I was travelling and working, so I wasn’t able to work on the songs with them. It was kind of piecemeal that way. They would give me songs and I would work on them away from the rehearsal room and we would have to cobble them together that way. And also budget-wise, we were kind of at the mercy of whenever the producer Mathias Schneeberger could get us in. It probably took a good year at least to get everything recorded and mixed.”

Greg Anderson: “It was the first stuff we had ever recorded, and it was kind of done in a few different sessions, if I remember correctly. At first we weren’t really intending it to be a full album – we just started recording demos really as we were writing the songs. The first session was probably four songs, and then when we had a few more and felt ready to go, we recorded those.”

Greg, did it feel disjointed as a result of Pete being away?
GA: "I wouldn’t say disjointed. I guess the band has always operated as in we did what we could when we had the time to do it. And it wasn’t really until the second album that we started writing in the same room. And on the new record, most of it was all in the same room as well. [The first album] was done somewhat separately, as far as the music and vocals were concerned, but there’s a few songs that were done together as well. Pete always has a schedule like that. It’s the way it is for everyone in the band really – we all have a lot of different things going on. Sometimes there’s other stuff that takes priority."

Have you got any particular highlights from the recording?
PS: “One of my highlights is Slippin’ the Stealth. It was one that we kind of came up with at the last minute. We were jamming it and some of the guys didn’t want to do it because they didn’t feel comfortable with it. But we recorded it and it ended up pretty much being the song that everyone wants to hear. An old friend of mine from back home in Washington DC, Danny Frankel, played percussion and he added a flavour to the record that is kind of characteristic of all of our records. We bring in different elements every time; we try to push the envelope.”

Were there any lowpoints?
PS: “Not really. It’s a bit trying when you’re having to work like that, here and there, trying to keep it consistent, trying to keep it sounding consistent. But nah, this was our first record. We don’t get to play that often anyway, even then, so for me it’s just a joy to be able to get together and tear it up.”

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