Interview: Taking the Head of Goliath
Hey everyone! I am terribly sorry for not being as active on this blog. I truly wish I had the time to post everyday. Between college courses, work, writing for The Metal Onslaught, running the label, and practicing drums for Symphony of Heaven and Timoratus at Audiofeed Festival this year, as well as other day to day struggles, I've been busy. I truly appreciate anyone who reads this post. Happy Easter by the way! Amazed how far this has come.
Anyways, today we have an interview with the brutal death metal band known as Taking the Head of Goliath. I've mentioned them before, but for a refresher, they are a brutal death metal band from Minnesota who features former members of Crimson Thorn. Heavy band. They will also be at Audiofeed Festival 2019. Come see all of us! Please, it would mean so much! I am talking with Vocalist Jake Martin today.
Well, that's enough of an intro. I'll shut up now. Enjoy the interview!
Could you give a quick background on the band?
So the band kind of formed inadvertently when I had run into a former drummer from a previous band that I was in a decade earlier. While we were catching up with what we’d been up to for the last ten years I had mentioned that if I ever started another death metal band it would be a band for God’s glory. Matt Vangsgard, our now former drummer was down for that vision and recommended Nathan Sherman, the guitarist from another former band that he was in. The three of us got together, jammed, realized we had something and Taking The Head Of Goliath was born.
The band has been on working on this release for a little over a year, I believe, how was that process?
We actually worked on it for nearly two years. With family and work taking precedent we just went with the flow of life and got together to write as often as possible. After writing all the songs on the record, with the exception of the cover of Crimson Thorn’s ‘Unearthed’, we began adding members and teaching them the material one at a time. This took a good deal of time as we were also preparing for getting out to play our debut live show. We first added Luke Renno to the band on bass and then Rob Blake as an additional guitarist to round out the band. The process of writing went really well with each song better than the previous one. It was awesome to watch our sound develop and finally get to get into the studio for the recording. We have a deep underground metal scene here in the Twin Cities and all the brutal bands here know where to go when its time to record. That would be 14:59 Studios in Minneapolis with our main man Will Maravelas. He recorded, mixed and mastered the record. We just can’t peak any higher of Will, he’s such a great dude. He’s so professional and easy to work with. He eats, sleeps and breathes metal and he killed it with the production of the record. Having the honor to commission the one and only Par Olofsson for our artwork was awesome too. It really brought the whole thing together and it all turned out better than we ever could have imagined.
I remember my first time hearing about you guys, which was when Luke Renno of the legendary Crimson Thorn joined the band. How did that come about?
Now, this is a God thing all the way. We never held auditions or sought members through any public forum. My wife and I had been praying for over a year for God to bring us a skilled believer to play bass in the band. Then one day that prayer was answered when Luke messaged us after seeing a simple cell phone video of us jamming on Facebook. He noticed we were a brutal Christian band within an hour of where he lives and were lacking a bassist. He messaged to volunteer his services and I gave him a call. We had a lengthy conversation which led to a great jam and the rest is history. God truly had his hand in this connection as I came to find out that Luke had been trying to either get Thorn back together or find a new band with nearly ten years of drought. He had surrendered his desire to Jesus saying,” if music is no longer your will for my life Lord show me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” He said he soon stumbled upon us. Once he stopped trying to force his will to be a part of a band again and was willing to sacrifice that dream, God provided his path. It’s just such an honor to have him as a bandmate, a friend and a brother in Christ. I just love this man.
The next two times I had heard about you guys was when you signed with Rottweiler Records and when you performed on For Today's Farewell Tour. I guess my question for this is basically what I asked a second ago haha.
Ha!!! Nice!!! Yeah, dude, that same video that brought us Luke is the one that caught the attention of Rottweiler Records. What I really loved about the signing with Rottweiler was that Shawn Browning contacted me and expressed his interest in signing the band. Now, this was pre-Luke, so we weren’t just riding the Crimson Thorn coattails into a contract. I say that because we had no business being in contracts talks, we weren’t a full band, just Nathan, Matt, and I. We hadn’t played a single show nor did we have a demo or anything. All that we possessed was a crude cell phone video and an anointing from The Living God. So Shawn expressed his interest, we talked at length and prayed together. He said he just wanted to get to know us over the next six months to be sure we were the right fit for each other. As brothers in Christ and as musicians, he and I really bonded over that time and after adding Luke and Rob and playing our first show with For Today we did sign with Rottweiler in February of 2017.
To my knowledge, you guys have two releases; a fantastic live EP and your self-titled album/EP. I have both. I'm not missing anything else, am I?
No, currently that is all. The live EP, “Beyond Brutal LIVE” was a recording from our very first show, which happened to be opening for For Today. We also shot professional multi-angled live videos at that show. Our original plan was to use these videos as promotion but since Rottweiler was already interested in signing us we ended up taking the audio, which was also excellent in terms of live recordings and using them as a live EP to announce our signing with Rottweiler. Typically the label gets a studio demo and releases one studio track for a new signing before releasing that debut album. In our case, however, Shawn had the free live EP idea to announce us so that’s how that came to be. The studio album is the same songs along with our cover of Unearthed and some killer intro/outro and intermediate compositions by Dave Requisite of Death Requisite. It was an honor to work with him and have his talents on the debut release. Even cooler to do a short tour with them, Abated Mass Of Flesh and A Hill To Die Upon a few months ago. That a whole other set of stories though…
Is there a specific concept behind your self-titled album?
Yes, particularly in terms of the artwork though. We decided to go the self-titled route and have artwork that would introduce us, captured our name and our sound in an iconic image. Par Olofsson definitely brought that idea to life.
A little while ago, your drummer, Matt V. left the band and his position was filled by Steve Reishus (Crimson Thorn). What exactly happened there?
After recording the record we decided it was a good time to part ways with Matt. We all put a lot of hard work into those songs and we all wanted to hit that finish line with something we could all be proud of and be a part of. The specific reasons will stay private, however. Steve had been in Crimson Thorn at the end of their run so Luke contacted him and invited him down for an audition. Despite the 2 ½ hours distance between Steve and the TTHOG headquarters Steve decided to join the band. We couldn’t be more excited to have him. His exemplary talents and character made him the perfect fit for TTHOG. It could also be mentioned that Rob Blake is no longer with us either. Again we keep the reasons private but we thank both Matt and Rob for their contributions to the band.
Are there any plans to tour around? Maybe hit Indiana?
Yes. We are currently planning the next run of The Hasten Revelation Tour as we speak. It will be a week-long run in the southwest US, from Dallas, Texas to L.A. We are going to be rolling with some KILLER bands again and we’ll keep you posted as we get closer to March of 2020. As far as Indiana goes, we’ll be there one day. Until then, Indiana can come to us at Audiofeed this summer.
I always try to cover this, because it's the whole reason I started this thing: what are some other Christian metal/hardcore acts in your area?
Unfortunately, there really isn’t a Christian extreme music scene in the Twin Cities. There is a huge metal scene and so many talented bands around here so we ask you to pray with us that some of these guys come to know Jesus and use their talents for God’s glory.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Yes. First, thank you for asking for this interview. I’m honored to have the opportunity to talk with you. Secondly, I’d like to mention we intend of having a new record out to correspond with the March 2020 tour so southwest US friends we hope to see you on the road then.
2019 is looking good for us as we head off to Exodo Fest in Mexico Easter weekend. We will also be playing Audiofeed Music Festival in Champaign, IL 4th of July weekend, Lifest in Oshkosh, WI on July 13th and Chains Unchained Festival in Springfield, MO July 28th. We also have a big local show with Nile and Terrorizer in Minneapolis, MN on November 15th. If we’re in your neck of the woods we really want to see you all at the show. There’s really no telling when we’ll be back. Let’s hang y’all!!!
Lastly, I’d like to encourage everyone to go download the BODY OF CHRIST split featuring TIMORATUS, BISMOTH & SYMPHONY OF HEAVEN. The concept behind this record and all of these bands and their songs are simply incredible. On top of that, I am honored to have contributed guest vocals on the TIMORATUS song “Brother, You Are Not Alone” along with several other incredible vocalists including TTHOG’s own Luke Renno. Sweeter yet is my better half and beautiful bride Mrs. Anna Martin contributed her clean, angelic guest vocals on the TIMORATUS track “The Root Of Unity”. It was an incredible experience for her and I do something like this together and be a part of such a cool album with all of our good friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.
That was Jake from TTHOG! Fantastic guy and a fantastic band! Go check them out at Audiofeed, as well as Symphony of Heaven and Timoratus. Also, that split, Body of Christ, also features yours truly on guest vocals on the same song as Jake. So, yet another shameless plug! Check out those records below! Body of Christ is a free download as well! Awesome EPs both of them!
I truly hope you guys enjoyed the interview and enjoy the EPs! I just hope you guys are able to come out to Audiofeed to see all of us! Come talk to us! All three bands are amazing! That's not a bias, I've not performed on anything by any band aside from vocals on the one track. Phenomenal artists all of them! In any case, I hope you enjoyed the interview, I'll try and continue posting when I can, follow the Facebook page for the label for more updates and have a blessed day! God bless!
The Bearded Dragon