Apart from a band that from it's beginning until now gives us only remarkable albums, Orange Goblin is also a band that consists of four people simple, kind and respectful to their fans. A few days befor their shows in Athens (4/10), Larisa (5/10) and Thessaloniki (6/10) we didn't miss the opportunity to find Ben Ward who was in a perfect mood to talk to us about music, movies, alcohol and his band's future plans.
Hi guys! Five years since your previous album. Your biggest break (between two albums) ever. Why did you keep us waiting for so long?
It was just the natural time it took to get the album done. When the previous album ("Healing Τhrough Fire") came out we spent a lot of time touring and promoting that album so it wasn’t like we were just sat around twiddling our thumbs! The band has been a hobby for us and we have never earned a living doing it so we were busy living normal lives whilst trying to do as much Orange Goblin stuff as possible. Chris (Turner, drums) and Joe (Hoare, guitar) became fathers again and wanted to spend time at home with their families. We also signed to a new record label and then did a lot of touring in between everything. We decided that we didn’t want to rush the album and waited until we had found the perfect studio, producer etc and worked very hard on the writing and recording so that we could deliver the best possible record.
Though, now you're back with "A Eulogy For The Damned". Now that everything is ready, how do you feel about this album?Are you completely satisfied or would like to have the opportunity to change something?
We are 100% happy with this one. It’s been coming a long time and in the past there have always been niggling little things that we knew we could have done better or re-written. This time we recorded in a different way and it gave us the opportunity to analyze things and go back to alter it if we weren’t happy with it. It was a great way to make an album and we also had the luxury of doing it in London which meant we all got to go home every night! The songs had been around for a few years but in the shape of a load of different riffs so it was like putting together a big, musical jigsaw puzzle. I think the material is the strongest we have ever recorded and the performances are fantastic. The whole thing is just the sound of the band naturally maturing and knowing what we do best.
Would you like to tell me your opinion and some more information about the intro at "The Filthy & The Few". It's from Satan's Sadists, right?
Well firstly it’s a great movie and one of my favorites. Those late 60s and early 70s B-Movies are the best, especially the biker stuff like "Satan's Sadists" and "Werewolves Οn Wheels". We had the song written and the lyrical content is about an outlaw motorcycle gang so the sample from the movie just fit so perfectly. I played it to the rest of the band and they all agreed.
And what about "Save Me From Myself"? Completely different kind of songwriting, more southern rock, more Lynyrd Skynyrd style. And if I’m not wrong you also have a guest there right?
I don’t think it’s massively different for us. Ever since the early days of the band we have always had a few songs that incorporate our love of southern rock, bands like Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, The Band, ZZ Top, Blackfoot etc. "Time Travelling Blues", "Stinking Οf Gin", "Beginners Guide Τo Suicide", all of those songs display that influence in our music and we just like to write whatever we want. There are no perimeters to what we do in Orange Goblin.
In your first albums you started as a pure doom/stoner band, then you got faster,harder (with some exceptions of course). Now I can hear more metal elements (some riffs that sound like mastodon for example). Is it just your mood or some influences from what you like to hear right now?
No, it’s just a natural progression. We get bored if everything starts sounding exactly the same. That works for some bands like Motorhead or AC/DC but we have always wanted to try and make each album a little different but still have that solid ‘Orange Goblin’ feel to it. We are also a lot older now than we were when we started so obviously influences and interests are going to change within the band. I love the freedom that we have to do whatever we like and we’ve never been afraid to recycle riffs if they are good enough!
Your co-operation with that famous alcohol company with the reindeer on the front is still on, right? Could you tell us some things about it?
Well they have been very supportive of the band for a very long time. We are extremely proud to be associated with Jagermeister and the roster of bands that they work with. It’s not an essential part of the band but it’s a nice bonus to be a band that they put a lot of faith in.
According to your attitude, your fans would think that you got paid 'in products' of the company...
Paid? What’s that?
Straight Edge Until The Bar Is Open?
Never straight edge! We still like to party but maybe not as much as we did 15 years ago. We are all either in our 40’s or approaching 40 and we all have kids so you have to have that extra bit of responsibility as you grow older. People have always considered us a ‘stoner’ rock band but we’ve never really been big smokers. Alcohol has always been the drug of choice in Orange Goblin but nowadays the hangovers hurt more and last longer so we have to be a bit more sensible. We hope to be doing this professionally next year, which will involve travelling all over the world and doing about 250 shows per year so we’ll need to start looking after ourselves a little bit more.
Ok, let's get back to music! What are your touring plans? Until now I have seen only Greek and UK's tourdates?
We have the Greek tour and the a few UK dates, including 3 shows in the UK as main support to DOWN. After that we have a festival in Holland before the major touring plans for 2013 kick-off. There will be a UK tour in January and February, then we head down to Australia to take part in the Soundwave travelling Festival with Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and loads more. After that we will go to the USA & Canada for a big tour before we hit Europe in the summer for touring and festivals. We hope to then return to North America as well as play in countries like Mexico, South America, New Zealand, Asia and Japan again. It’s going to be a busy year!
Also, you released your first two albums in vinyl for the first time. Do you believe that after a storm of mp3's,downloads etc,vinyl will return stronger. If yes, is its something you enjoy?
Vinyl always sounds better. It’s the real deal, there’s nothing can compare to that warm feeling you get when the needle hits the vinyl. We really pleased that our early albums are getting the vinyl treatment and we look forward to seeing the final product.
You seem to have a really down-to earth attitude. You look like guys someone could meet in a bar and have a beer with anytime. Is it true and do you believe that your attitude helps people feel 'closer' to your music?
I think it’s important for bands to stay grounded and in touch with what the fans want. Far too many bands let success go to their heads and they become shit as they lose touch with the scene that spawned them. We just 4 ordinary guys that know we are very lucky to get the opportunity to do what we do. We enjoy meeting people and hanging out with them at the bar. I can guarantee that at the Greek shows we will be in the bar afterwards hanging out with the fans. At the end of the day it’s the fans that give you the chance to tour the world so you have to show them respect.
And like normal people, you enjoy and have included many cover songs in your albums. Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Misfits, Trouble. What will be next?
It’s a secret at the moment! We have a few ideas as we are due to record a few things in November so we’ll keep you posted on that!
What would you like to say to your Greek fans a few weeks before your gigs here?
We can’t wait to be back in Greece. We always have a great time in Athens and the fans there are some of the most enthusiastic in the world. It’s going to be great to get to play in places that we’ve never been to before, like Larisa and Thessaloniki. The set list is going to be quite a lot of the new album mixed with what people would probably consider the best of Orange Goblin so I think the fans will enjoy the shows!
Thank you very much for the time you spent answering to our questions. I will not miss the opportunity to have some drinks with you after the show in Thessaloniki.