Interview August 2004 - KING GOBLIN
Back in 1997 KING GOBLIN were formed as a two-piece, later joined by a second guitarist but still without a bassplayer. While the first brutal musical steps were strongly influenced by grind and death bands like Brutal Truth or Carcass f.e., the band changed their sound in 2001 into a doomier 70's rock direction. Well, that maybe sounds very familiar, but if one listen to this band it's obvious that they come up with a lot of bizarre surprises within their sound, and especially the brandnew demo is a very interesting experience for the open-minded listener. Be aware that you don't get your typical dose of downtuned doom or sludge! Although I never had the chance to listen to the debut album that has been released in 2000, I really like both demos and decided to do an interview with Naoto (dr./voc), Masashi ( g./voc.), and Hidetoshi (baritone g./voc.). Here's the result, and if you're a huge fan of the Japanese underground like me you should do yourself a favour and discover KING GOBLIN right now!
A friendly welcome to King Goblin here in the Cosmiclava ! The latest material I enjoyed from the band was the self-titled promo tape. What happened since this release? Have you recorded any new material and found a label?
Ehara (baritone guitar & vocal): I sent promo tape and CDR to about 100 webzines and labels. Well, we already had the opportunity to release from a small underground label. However that label stopped activity. We lost a deal.
Araki (drums & vocal): It was too bad timing.
The tape offers in interesting mesh of different heavy styles from sludgier bizarre elements over to the Flower Travellin' Band to straight forward Sabbathian Doom Rock. What are your personal musical influences and how did you create your songs?
Araki: I was influenced from JUDAS PRIEST, CARCASS, CATHEDRAL, PARADISE LOST.
Suzuki (guitar & vocal): Yes! PARADISE LOST is absolutely great!!
Ehara: I can't say "Yes". Hahaha! I am really heavy metal hamster. So, Suzuki made a lot of riffs and parts of our music. His arrangement makes songs bring about strange doom world. Of course, we have a discussion to brush up strange song in detail at studio.
I noticed that you don't have any bassplayer, just two guitars and a drummer, but to speak for myself I don't miss the bass. What's the reasonfor this line-up? Haven't you found someone proper for the four-strings or don't you want a bassplayer?
Ehara: Mmm, we couldn't find a bassplayer.
Suzuki: There was nobody who want to play our song.
Araki: We don't trying to find a bassplayer.
The first track and my favorite one on the tape is the opener "RED RUM". I guess, it's been influenced by Kubrick's legendary "Shining" movie. Are you a big fan of dark and sinister movies?
Araki: Right! Our music influenced a little from the famous horror movie.
Suzuki: Well, I like a movie "Planet of the apes". Jerry would be nice!
Another excellent song is "Black Mountain (Birmingham Queen)". Is the title somehow connected with the mighty Black Sabbath?
Araki: No. This song is cover of MOUNTAIN's song "Mississippi Queen". We changed arrangement like Black Sabbath.
Another eyecatcher is this strange cover-photo. Instead of crosses, witches or a psychedelic artwork there's a b/w picture of an obscure looking dog. Does someone of the group is the owner of the dog or are you just huge lovers of this animals?
Araki: Its cover-photo is good, isn't it? My girlfriend was the owner. She had kept this photo's dog. But he died before 2 years. I hear he was very very aggressive & tough dog.
In the review I mentioned the Flower Travellin' Band. Do you feel influenced by this outstanding 70's group?
Araki: We were not influenced from Japanese 70's group.
Ehara: I think Araki and Suzuki were influenced from England's progressive band & 70's hard rock bands.
Suzuki: It is King Crimson, Goblin, Judas Priest, etc.
Have you played a lot of shows in Japan, and how is the reaction of the audience?
Ehara: We always play at live house in Tokyo.
Araki: Japanese fan is not so bad. But It has not established Japanese culture "MUSIC", I think.
Where do you live in Japan? Please, tell us something about your hometown and your daily living. Have you regular jobs and what are your other interests?
Ehara: We are living in Tokyo. I am office worker. Araki's job is "Soldering on the board". Suzuki's job is "Counting miffy's novelty goods".
Araki: I am interest in "safe sex" now.
My personal opinion is, that the Japanese underground is rich in extreme and experimental band, where people play music for the sake of music. What's your point of view and any personal bands you like to recommend to the Cosmiclava readers?
Ehara: I agree with your opinion. We recently recommend "REDWOOD BLUES", "BOVRIL", "EARTH BLOW", "THE DEAD PAN SPEAKERS".
Araki: I recommend space trance rock band "all O.K" and "THE DEAD PAN SPEAKERS".
Thanks a lot for your time and interest in doing this interview! All the best and good luck with King Goblin. Is there anything you like to say at least?
Suzuki: I want to play in Germany.
Ehara: Yeah, Please give us offer "live tour in Germany". Whoever mail me!? Hahahaha! Hopefully soon!
Araki: I hope we drink beer pretty much in Germany. We go to drink beer anywhere there is beer. That's the truth. Thank you very much!
Demo-Reviews - KING GOBLIN (s/t) Promo Tape
After reading the band's name, I had the worst associations on my mind, but after listening to this 3-song tape, everything turns out well. KING GOBLIN are the next proof, why Japan is a very interesting musical ground, especially for all that's heavy. This three-piece (two guitars, drums and vocals) sounds a bit like a bastardized updated version of the mighty Flower Travellin' Band and they've tinged their sound with a bit of Japanese avantgarde bands like the Boredoms. The A-Side comes up with "RED RUM", and if this track is inspired from the movie "Psycho", they've managed to capture the ambience of this movie quite well. The vocals are very strange, and far away from a conventional style - more growls and shrieks, with interwoven females screams.
The riffs are heavy and solid, backed from a somehow unorthodox drumming. Very promising! The B-Side kicks off with "Devil's Formula", a more traditional mid-tempo heavy rocker with death-metallish vocals, which are gladly not sounding like an angry cookie-monster. Although nothing groundbreaking, "Devil's Formula" got its charm. The third and last one is "Black Mountain (Birmingham Queen)". I'm not sure, if it was the intention of KING GOBLIN, but this track got a strong mid-70's Black Sabbath-influence, not only because mentioning the city Birmingham. The song got enough thrust to impress me, like the entire tape. Although everything sounds raw and unproduced, it supports the nasty vibe of this band, and if they got the chance to record an album I hope, they keep this rawness. Now it's up to you (if you own a label or not) to discover KING GOBLIN, because they got something really special. Check out their website and expand your knowledge!
KING GOBLIN (s/t) MCD-R
This is the second demo from Tokyo-based KING GOBLIN, recorded in February 2004. Back in 2000 this group had released their debut "Killing Brewery Company" by their own label Smell-Rot Music that is out of print now. In opposite to their earlier material which was more influenced by acts like Carcass, Brutal Truth and Paradise Lost KING GOBLIN are now travelling on a heavier doomier path, although due to the vocals here's still a trace of Carcass to find. But when I compare the here included two tracks with the previous demo from 2003, I must admit that a lot has changed. Instead of just playing doomy heavy rock, they have interwoven more complex progressive jazzy patterns here, without losing their metal edge, and the result is damn fine and somehow pretty bizarre, especially because of the combination with the Carcass-like vocals. Here are a lot of breaks and changes within the songs, but KING GOBLIN don't drift into chaotic compostions. The first cut "MEGALOMANIACS" has a strong 70's progressive vibe, while "From Dusk 'til You Die" sounds as if later Carcass would jam with Mahavishnu Orchestra. All in all very refreshing stuff, and I hope that KING GOBLIN will come up with more surprises in the future (and another full-length!).