The mysterious Swedish psychedelic collective GOAT has emerged once again from the shadows with a new single, "It's Time For Fun" b/w "Relax," the band's first new tracks since the release of Commune last October. Unexpectedly, the limited edition single debuted at #1 on the UK vinyl singles charts, proving that their fans are still as rabid as ever. The new music finds the band in an unexplored tangent -- a more sparse, laid back sound draped over a skittering drum machine. Both tracks start off roughly the same, with a nervous drum machine clicking over a simple repetitive baseline, but they split from there. The A-side, "It's Time For Fun" is a formal Goat track stripped down to the bone with a sparse arrangement of guitar and keys with a simple sing along vocal line, while the single's b-side, "Relax," is a hazy instrumental daydream with added layers of percussion and organ. "It's Time for Fun" has already been integrated into the live Goat set, and has quickly evolved far past the recorded version (it is at the 25:30 mark of their Glastonbury show) while "Relax" stands off to the side on its own as a welcomed anomaly in the Goat catalog.
Head Medicine recently caught up with GOAT to learn more about these tracks, their thoughts on recent live shows, and what lies ahead.
HEAD MEDICINE: "It's Time For Fun" and "Relax" were recorded in New York and Sao Paulo. These were the first Goat recordings from outside of your home studio, right? Can you tell us about the recording and final assembly of these tracks?
GOAT: No, not really. We did record some stuff in Thailand when we did Commune and some stuff was recorded in Korpilombolo. But early versions of these two songs on our new single were recorded on a trip I did in January. I met musicians and jammed with them in New York and São Paulo. I had found a cheap drum machine early in New York which we jammed to. Then the rest of the Goat crew arranged the jams and laid down some overdubs and vocals on it. Turned out pretty fine I think.
HEAD MEDICINE: What instrument is used to get that blaring sound on "Relax"? is that a pump organ or an accordion of some kind? i can't figure it out.
GOAT: it was some kind of organ this dude in São Paulo had at his home. Some kind of pump organ which is distorted in our studio.
HEAD MEDICINE: "It's Time for Fun" and "Relax" feature some pretty drastically different sounds compared to the intensity of World Music and Commune. Are these more laid back sounds creeping into Goat's new music or were these fairly isolated experiments?
GOAT: I don't know but the recordings we have done so far for the next album do not sound like this really, so this single isn't a change of our overall sound I think.
HEAD MEDICINE: Speaking of new music, how is the progress on any new recordings? Has Goat been able to get some solid work in over the spring and summer?
GOAT: during the summer, recordings have paused but we will start again now. Some stuff is nearly finished.
HEAD MEDICINE: Back in April, Goat performed a special show in Bristol, the "Sounds of Surrender." All phones, cameras, and money were left at the door and masks and costumes were handed out to the crowd to encourage an ego-less exchange between the band and audience. can you tell us a bit about that show? It must have been an interesting experiment. Did it reach the desired effect?
GOAT: For us it was amazing to see this crowd, all masked and dressed up but which effect that had on the audience I don't know. Unfortunately the club closed after the show, otherwise we could have walked around in the crowd without being noticed..
HEAD MEDICINE: We have already talked about how touring is taxing on the members of Goat, but the band has brought you to some pretty exotic locations, like Istanbul, and in December you will travel to Australia for a few shows. Are there times on these mini tours to enjoy the surroundings and the people or is it all work and no play? Any interesting non-Goat experiences along the way that are worth sharing?
- it's good fun and we get along so well with each other that we don't need much more stimulating things really while we are out playing, but our last show at Nox Orae in Switzerland was amazing. it was a very warm day and they brought us out together with this guy Anton Newcombe [founder of the Brian Jonestown Massacre] on boats right on the lake of Geneva and we could take a swim from the boats.. 22,5 degrees in the water, we had some beers and some wine.. That was a good day. It was Anton's birthday so we had some celebration there on the lake.
GOAT with Anton Newcombe, founder of the Brian Jonestown Massacre
~Rocket Recordings recently mentioned some music being released by GOAT offshoot Capri Informis. is there anything you can tell us about this band?
- it's the guy that plays djembe with us live and his wife I think. Wonderful people. And I think they have done some great music too!
~i'm sure this question doesn't have a definite answer, but what are your feelings towards the future of GOAT? Do you see the band as an evolving project over the years or something that will have a far shorter lifespan? Continuing to occasionally tour or becoming more of a studio-only group?
- I don't know. But I think we are not going to tour forever. Maybe take a longer break in some years, and then see what happens. Music will always be made though. It is in our souls.
~as always, special thanks to GOAT for taking the time to answer these questions.~
be sure to check out Head Medicine's GOAT archive, full of exclusive interviews, reviews, art, photos, and more HERE
all writing and art by kojak