Do you want to know what goes on inside the mind of a young and talented black metaller? Check out this great interview with the architect behind British Blackened Death Metal band Goatchrist, Dominator Xul’Ahabra, and you will find the answers to most of your questions.
The Headbanging Moose: Let’s start with some basic information about you and Goatchrist, for the readers who are not totally aware of your work as a musician: could you please tell us who Dominator Xul’Ahabra is, as well as how and when the band was originated? What’s the main concept or idea behind Goatchrist?
Dominator Xul’Ahabra: Dominator Xul’Ahabra is the character I view as being the manifestation of all of my ‘left hand path’ aspects (Xul being Arabic for evil). The band began as a vessel to release music I’d written whilst auditioning for Sathamel, but thereafter I realised it could be directed and used as an application of chaos magick and the Order of Nine Angles (hence the constant theme rotation). My core vision for Goatchrist is to ascend the band to a level where I can accurately teach others about what I see as being the most advanced philosophical view that man has conjured.
THM: I really enjoyed your brand new EP, The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil. This is the type of music I believe all metalheads in the world want to hear, something that is at the same time electrifying and substantial. How were the writing and production processes for this EP? What worked really well and what were the areas where you think you could have done better than the final result?
Dominator: My gratitude to you for your compliments. ‘Enlil’ was an EP that essentially was a directed and remoulded series of songs I’d written over a large period (January 2013 to December 2014) that I saw potential in. The writing process usually consisted of myself, my laptop, obscure locations and drugs. The entire thing wasn’t written together so there was no distinct writing process. The recording occurred at my home studio, except drums which I recorded on an electronic kit at my friend’s house (who then quantised them, as my drumming proficiency leaves much to be desired).
THM: How do you sense the evolution of your music based on your previous releases, such as She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror? Do you feel there are any limits to where you can get with the type of music played by Goatchrist?
Dominator: I see Goatchrist as a limitless band. I think specific musical styles fit certain themes so the musical direction will always change. There must be a natural progression from release to release, otherwise peoples’ interest stagnates.
THM: One thing that really draw my attention while listening to songs like Inferno, The Triumvirate’s Flight to Nippur, Plaguewood and She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror is the exceptional harmony found in each one of them amidst all the necessary violence and negativity found in Black Metal, in other words, they’re not just disgruntled noise, and that’s corroborated by the fact the song Inferno has already been selected twice to be played on The Metal Moose Radio together with lots of non-extreme bands. How do you manage to keep your music so extreme but at the same time relatively easy to listen to? Which special techniques do you apply to the recording or editing of your songs to make them so cohesive and melodic?
Dominator: Thank you very much. Haha, I don’t know the answer to that one. I just write what I think sounds good and then play it. My recording technique is so basic, everything goes through a UX1 through Pod Farm and into Audacity. That’s pretty much all I can offer in the way of ‘how I do what I do’.
THM: Moving on to your personal life, when and why did you choose to follow the path of Black Metal? What does extreme music mean in your life and how do you see the impact it has on your interaction with the society you live in?
Dominator: Extreme music doesn’t always appeal. There’s only a few bands that actually do it well. Sure, those bands (Absu, Nachtmystium, Summoning, for example) are amongst my favourites, but as regards their influence on the society I live in, I don’t see it much. Society is only influenced by one thing, and that’s philosophy. We’re mostly all bound to a stupidly mundane way of thinking and analysing things, and it dulls our creativity and doesn’t let specific, niche art forms overly influence society in a great way anymore.
THM: It’s a known fact that you’re a very young guy with a huge passion for extreme music and that’s very inspiring, but what do your parents, friends and teachers think about it? Do they understand at all what you’re doing or is there a lot of misconception on their side due to the nature of the music you’re creating?
Dominator: They don’t really pay much attention to it. My mum shows a moderate interest, but it’s not her cup of tea. Some of my metalhead friends listen to my stuff but that’s about it; to most of my friends I’m just Jacob, not Dominator.
THM: Talking about your creative process, it’s remarkable that such a young person can go from traditional Sumerian folklore, like what we can see in The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil, to 17th century French occultism and Luciferianism as the concept for your next release, which you’re already working on. What are your sources of inspiration that help you maintain your music at such interesting level? Do you read a lot of books, focus on detailed researches on the Internet, watch a lot of documentaries or have any other hobbies that foment your creativity? And how do you know a specific theme or concept is the one you will transform into music?
Dominator: Thank you. My album concepts are based upon my own logical layout and general flow, over which researched ideas are placed. All the above aforementioned research methods are used, as well as a lot of meditation.
As far as knowing which one I’ll use, I have no set way of deciding. It just all comes together, haha.
THM: Although your young age is good on one side in terms of energy and creativity, on the other side it can also bring some unwanted consequences such as not being able to perform live at a specific venue, just like what has recently happened to you and your band. Could you tell us more about that incident and how that impacted you as a musician and Goatchrist as a band? And what are your plans for future tours with Goatchrist?
Dominator: We weren’t allowed by law to play the show, after which I made some rude comments about the venue which I sincerely apologised for. I don’t particularly want to talk about this event, but Goatchrist did suffer because of it. I have no plan to play live in the near future (not with Goatchrist, anyway).
THM: What’s your opinion on the current state of Black Metal and extreme music in general in the UK and all over the world? Do you see yourself not doing extreme music in the future or maybe not even working as a musician? Do you already feel ready to face the heavy burden that comes with a career in music, especially in Black Metal?
Dominator: Generally the same as it’s always been: shit. The UK scene is an exception, where this form of music is flourishing at the minute, though black metal is only a perfected art form in the hands of a few individuals. I’d say America has the best black metal in the world at the minute. I’ll never not play music, whether it stays extreme is simply a question of time.
I’m not sure what burden you refer to. Goatchrist is essentially my glorified hobby, the moment it burdened me is the moment I’d drop it forever.
THM: In the demo She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror you recorded an interesting cover version for Fatal Equinox (Perpetual Resplendence), by Brazilian Black/Death Metal band Goatpenis. Do you have any plans for future cover versions, or was that a once-off recorded as a tribute to one of your favorite bands? And regarding your personal preferences, who are your biggest idols and influences in music and life in general?
Dominator: Goatpenis are a band I relate to because they’re Brazilian, and I’m Portuguese. I’d been wanting to cover Fatal Equinox for a few years before I actually did it too. There might be a cover coming soon, I’m unsure as of yet. I can confirm that it won’t feature my vocals, anyway.
My personal heroes are varied in character; people from Varg Vikernes to Brian Molko. I look up to artists that push to create a certain image and sound against the trend.
THM: What do you do in your free time (if you have any), and what bands are part of your current playlist? Are there any new or underground bands that you could recommend to people who appreciate Goatchrist and to all fans of heavy music?
Dominator: In my free time I’m usually out and about with friends, or practising guitar. I don’t have time for much else. My current playlist is an incredibly varied mix, and the top ten most featured artists would be Nachtmystium, Absu, Placebo, Scars on Broadway, Deafheaven, Darkspace, Melechesh, Slowdance, Rob Zombie and Naked City (the latter there being a truly amazing band on another level, with their album “Torture Garden” being my favourite album of all time).
As far as recommending bands to fans, there’s a fair few I could name. My vocal style is inspired by Nyogthaeblisz, who are a truly amazing outfit and well worth a listen. Conqueror and Revenge are both bands I tried to draw parallels with in the first demo, and there’s certainly similarities to Absu with ‘The Epic Tragedy…” There’s some other local bands that have a loosely similar (though incredibly powerful) sound, these being Slaughter Throne and Sathamel, who both serve as inspiration to Goatchrist. Other bands I’d recommend checking out are Grimsvotn, Written in Torment and Moloch, whose respective sole members have all contributed to my musical outlook.
THM: Thanks a lot for your time, and keep up the excellent work you’re doing in Black Metal. Last but not least, please feel free to send one final message to your fans and to anyone who’s just getting to know Goatchrist here in Canada, in the UK and anywhere else in the world.
Dominator: You’re very welcome. Thank you to everyone who’s supporting Goatchrist, I’m truly appreciative of everyone who’s given positive feedback as regards the EP. Prepare yourself for the upcoming split we have due out with Angmaer sometime in the future too. Agios o Noctulis!
The new EP is available from HERE.