In the Flesh
CoC interviews Godflesh
by: Adrian Bromley
"We want our live show to be different each time out," begins Godflesh creator/vocalist/guitarist Justin Broadrick on the phone from Birmingham, England. "We want to take this whole live show thing and bring in a unique sound system and style to the way we want to present ourselves. We want a DJ or club feel to what we are doing. We just want to keep it different and to keep it evolving."

And is that the reason for the re-mix record - _Love and Hate in Dub_ (re-mixed works of 1996's _Songs of Love and Hate_), to keep evolving the music and styles introduced and represented in Godflesh material? He answers, "Ever since our first album (1990's _Streetcleaner_), we have had that mechanical side of what we do. We (the band is rounded out by longtime bassist/conspirator Benny Green and drummer Brian Mantia) are very groove-oriented and close to many things like hip-hop. It was always a goal for us to have that style embedded into what we do. Our initial goal of Godflesh was to have this brutally heavy shit, but have a mechanical side to what we do: To be groove-oriented. We always wanted a fat groove. Obviously, we were able to get that fat groove, having a drummer, unlike before, when we used a drum machine. Now, with a drummer, we can have this groove going and mix it with drum machines to make this one, huge, fat groove. We want our music to evolve, which it has, and we want to defy serious pigeonholing. We are just mixing shit up. Every couple of years we try to outdo what we did in the past and just try to make a more fresher and original feel to Godflesh."

The duo of Godflesh, Justin Broadrick and Benny Green, formed in 1988, releasing their self-titled debut EP on Swordfish Records in 1990. They later signed to Earache (releasing _Streetcleaner_ that same year), and from there, the band broke new boundaries with their use of drum machines, heavy rhythms, and mixing and matching hard, ferocious grooves with a definite strong industrial feel. The band brought that sound to life several times over with such notable and well-received release like 1991's _Slavestate_ album, 1992's _Pure_, and the stunning 1994 release, _Selfless_. All in all, it has been a strong effort by the band to remain heavy and intact, to broaden their boundaries, but keep it unique and very Godflesh sounding.

When asked whether Godflesh will continue to evolve, possibly losing their harshness and heavy rhythms and going for a new sound, Broadrick replies: "Godflesh is what it always has been. The exciting thing about Godflesh is how we go about approaching the sound that we create. We do want to attain to what we are about. No matter what we do, we want to have that. We want our sound. It will always be heavy and groove-oriented."

And is Broadrick impressed with what he has been able to do with Godflesh since the early days? "Yeah... I feel like we have definitely achieved something. We have helped possibly in helping change music. Helping mold the sounds of rock or metal music. I think we have. This could be a bad thing, but I think we have contributed to what music has become now. Bringing to the forefront an idea or belief in amalgamating certain sounds and ideas into what you are doing. I still think that we can change things more and more as years go along."

On success: "From the get go of this band, we knew we would never be a multi-million selling record artist. When we made _Streetcleaner_, we never thought we would sell any records. We never had a goal to sell records. What we reached, even with _Streetcleaner_ alone, stunned us. We were really surprised at what happened. We never thought we would get popular. People told us it would happen, but we didn't see it coming."

The topic turns to the works of Ministry and Fear Factory. While all three are very similar at times in sound and style, Broadrick believes that Godflesh is in its own class of what they do. "Godflesh has been around almost as much as Ministry and Fear Factory since 1991. I think Fear Factory has been influenced by bands like Godflesh and Ministry. It's great to have that. It's inevitable that people are into both Ministry and Godflesh and are influenced by us and create a new generation of bands. It's great to see hybrid of bands pop up."

He adds, "I think what we do is unique. We strive to be influenced by other band and bring those influences and our ideas into what we do. What drives me to make this unique form of rock music is that I have never thought anyone is doing or will be doing what Godflesh do. I guess there are people or bands that get lumped into a category with us, but overall I think Godflesh has a very singular sound."

Unlike most bands who follow trends, Godflesh has done the opposite. The band has focused on their sound and style from Day One. About bands following trends and/or fitting a certain criteria, Broadrick responds, "It seems to be very fashion-oriented now. You hardly ever see any long hair metal bands anymore because they have all cut their hair and done re-mixes with their music. I mean, here are these bands saying they cut their hair because 'it's the 90s and not cool to look like that anymore.' Obviously, it is not cool to look like Poison and Motley Crue anymore, and these bands are walking around saying that they are doing this to stay in touch with what is happening. It's bullshit. People are doing this because someone is dictating, telling them what to do. It's not cool to be a metal hair band anymore. It's easy for people like us to be cynical about this. Years ago, when Godflesh came around, people didn't want to know who we were or what we were about. They couldn't understand what we were. They were all seeing and hearing that we had all these styles and asking us, 'What are ya?' and we would reply, 'We are Godflesh.' Now it's cool for bands to say what they are and not to be part of some genre. It is being dictated that you have to be 90s and all this shit. I don't think people are doing what they want to do. I mean, I'm sure there are artists out there who are doing what they want to do and aren't interested in other types of music and trying to bring that to their sound, but for the most part, I see bands bandwagon jumping. They are all going to where it is 'happening.'

Broadrick continues, "Years ago, there seemed to be a rule book with what you were supposed to do, and now we have another one to deal with. The book has all these things bands must do to be cool now, and it's sad. It's sad that it has to go this way with certain bands."

While the band has just released _LaHiD_, the band is gearing up for new material and a new album sometime next year. The bandwagon jump will not be a part of their future endeavors. "We haven't really recorded a single track for the next LP, but doing this re-mix record has been quite inspirational for what we are going to do with the next record. The next album is going to be like a gigantic roller coaster ride dynamically with what is going on," he notes. "There is going to be a lot of information on the next album. The last thing it will sound like will be _Selfless_. That record was very cut and dry, and right now, I am not a big fan of that record. I think with our last record, _SoLaH_, we opened up a few doors and expanded a little, but with what we were doing. With the addition of a drummer, now, it has made the music more direct. There is more scope to the sound, and so the next record will venture into the areas that I want to go with what we are doing. _SoLaH_ was a very groovy and organic Godflesh rock record, which was similar to _Selfless_, but was a bit stronger in production."

And as the music has changed, Broadrick notes the fan base and fans coming to the shows has altered too. "I think our fans have changed quite a bit. When Godflesh first came to the States (with Napalm Death) with the album _Streetcleaner_, the audience we broke into originally was a metal audience. Now I think it is more of a crossover audience than just metal kids. After _Streetcleaner_, I think we widened out our audience a bit. Now we seem to cater to a lot of types of people. I would say that now about 40% of the crowd coming to our shows are metal fans. When we came over in 1990 and had to play before metal fans, I think we opened up their listening tastes. It's funny, because people I meet told me that all they used to listen to was metal, but after seeing or hearing Godflesh, they opened up to a lot of areas in their musical tastes. I think that is important and healthy for people to have many tastes when it comes to music."

(article submitted 12/8/1997)


CHATS
1/14/2002 A Bromley Godflesh: Hymns of Progression
ALBUMS
1/26/2015 D Lake 8.5 Godflesh - A World Lit Only by Fire
7/7/1999 P Schwarz 8.5 Godflesh - Us and Them
10/11/1996 A Wasylyk 7 Godflesh - Songs of Love and Hate
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