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James Harvey (Goatwhore)

Interview with James Harvey from Goatwhore
by Phil Lawless at 17 March 2012, 1:29 AM

Recently GOATWHORE came out with their new album under Metal Blade Records, “Blood For The Master”. While nothing really changed, our own Phil Lawless talked to newly joined Bass player of the band James Harvey about the new album and other proceedings within the band.

 Hi James. Thanks for taking time out to speak to
“Blood for the Master” will be out soon, and it’s a killer. Tell us a little about the writing process for the new album.

Well, the writing process was pretty simple…coming up with riffs and jamming on them, creating songs. Other elements like guitar solos, intros, etc. come in later, after the songs are pretty much complete.  Nothing really too out of the ordinary.

Who brought in material? Did you guys work on any songs as a band?

Yea most of the stuff we worked on as a band – we would get together and jam pretty much every night and work on stuff.  Sammy would usually bring riffs in, he and I might tweak them some, and then we would start to assemble parts into songs, etc.  If I was out of town, Sammy and Zack would usually get together and work on stuff as well. Once the basic skeletons are there it is easy to customize drum parts, bass parts, guitar solos, etc.

Which songs do you think will be your favorites to play in a live setting?

So far we have chosen a few new songs to play live.  “In Deathless Tradition” and “An End to Nothing” have been really cool to play live.  In the future we will work in more stuff, including “Death to the Architects of Heaven”, which should be a fun one to play.

There seems to be a definite theme to the lyrics on the new album. Who was the main force behind writing them?

Benwrites the lyrics.

What was it like working with Erik Rutan in the studio? How did he contribute to “Blood for the Master”?

It was great to work with Rutan – He has an awesome studio and really knows what he is doing.  He drives us to get the best performances possible and has a good ear for detail.  Erik provides input and feedback for the overall sound of things as well as getting good instrument sounds, etc.  He also provides input regarding more detailed things in songs, such as a certain guitar solo or bass line, or vocal pattern, etc.  If it doesn’t sound quite right he will let us know, and it is helpful to have a 5th person outside of the band to contribute an opinion.

The new album cover is pretty sinister. Where did the album artwork originate?

Our friend Jordan Barlow did the artwork – He is a very talented tattoo artist in New Orleans.  Ben reviewed ideas with us and they talked about what it should look like, and he drew it up.  All the artwork came out killer.  If you are ever in New Orleans, stop by Jordan’s shop – “Hell of High Water Tattoos” - and get some ink!  He is one of my best friends and is a great artist.

Whose idea was it to unleash the album on Valentine’s Day?

Actually it was a coincidence.  It just ended up that way with Metal Blade’s release schedule.  It worked out quite well though.

How is the band’s relationship with Metal Blade Records? Is it a good situation for Goatwhore?

Well, I have to say Metal Blade definitely stepped it up with this album…They did the pre-order bundles, vinyl, etc. as well as advertised.  We were pleasantly surprised.  This new release is a good situation for GOATWHORE and Metal Blade.

You are the newest member of GOATWHORE, having joined in 2009. Take us back a couple years. How did you land the bass player position in the band?

Well I had been jamming with Sammy for a few years beforehand in RITUAL KILLER, so I already knew him and all the guys from living in New Orleans and going to shows, etc.   The timing was perfect as I was just finishing up my Master’s degree when I joined the band.  I got the call one day and hit the road shortly after…

Did the other guys put you through a hazing period when you joined?

Of course they did, I think we always still ‘haze’ each other to some extent still, but I get it the worst! Ha ha

How does living in New Orleans affect the band sound and attitude?

Well, the sound still retains that super thick and heavy sound, even though we do much faster stuff than the traditional ‘New Orleans’ sound that many people associate with EYEHATEGOD and CROWBAR.  As far as the attitude goes, it affects us in positive and negative ways.  – there is more to New Orleans than shrimp po-boys and daiquiris.

Since you’ve joined in 2009, what’s been the strangest show you’ve played with GOATWHORE?

We have definitely played some strange shows  before…probably the craziest was a show we did a couple of years back with EYEHATEGOD and PIG DESTROYER – on a boat that went around the Hudson Bay while the show went on.  It was packed and was absolutely insane.  I couldn’t fully stand up on the ‘stage’ – it was too short!

What are some bands you haven’t toured with that would be a good fit to share the stage with GOATWHORE?

We want to go out opening for SLAYER!  As far as other bands to play with – touring with new bands is usually how I am introduced to new music.  I don’t really listen to too much new stuff myself.  Some bands that we have gone out with and really had a good time with include SKELETONWITCH, BLACK ANVIL, EXHUMED, HAVOK, SAVIORS, and TOXIC HOLOCAUST to name a few.

James thanks a lot for your time but before you go, please tell us about GOATWHORE’s upcoming tour plans.

Well we are out on the road right now with LOCK UP, we will be meeting up with HATE ETERNAL for a 2 week run of dates then meeting up with DYING FETUS for a short run.  There are plans to go to Europe in the spring/summer and Australia in the summer…Then we will be doing another US tour in the late summer.  Stay tuned for details.


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