Well, well, if it isn’t one of this year’s most interesting post-rock releases. A band that delivers an atmosphere so unique that you’re bound to love it. Fans of Russian Circles, ISIS, and If These Trees Could Talk, gather around. This may interest you.

Until my album’s review is coming along, hear this. goader is an “instrumental force from the heart of Wisconsin, blending the ethereal with the raw power of post-rock, creating soundscapes vast and immersive.

At least that’s what we initially knew about goader, and we were excited to get to know the man behind the whole project. goader recently released a concept album “Older Gods” delving into themes of authoritarianism and resistance. About it, and so many more we discuss in this interview.

Hi. Can you pinpoint a particular moment that made you dive into producing these sounds?

It’s a few years on now, but to be honest, the pandemic. That sense of isolation and the reminder of how quickly something can go from being a long-forgotten thing to an in-the-moment thing really pushed me into capturing some of the experience.

Given the state of mainstream culture that permeates how we consume media, how would you introduce your music to a stranger?

I don’t have to guess on this one as I’m a new artist and nearly everyone is a stranger. I realize that the music is instrumental, and we are highly visual creatures, so I don’t have any image, so to speak, to sell to anyone. What I try to focus on is providing other attributes, be it a philosophical quote, or some sort of evocative imagery for a video, for people to gain some context as to what I feel accompanies the music.

I’d like to focus on your release ‘Older Gods’. What was it that inspired you to put together the album?

‘Older Gods’ is the product of the way I was feeling at the end of 2021. My overwhelming sense was that there are larger things at play here, things that beckon and control the way we as people operate. Maybe we’ve forgotten what those things look like, or what their nature is. That’s what this record is about, trying to rediscover the way.

Take me through its sound design process. Did the conception come first or did the songs evolve naturally – did you have a clear idea of what it would be before you started to make it?

Every song begins with a strong emotion. If I’m not feeling, I’m not writing. I’ll plug in the guitar, capture it, and then listen back. I get really messy with things, sometimes 4 or 5 tracks of guitar, and then I hear things come out of that mix and I’ll go back in, trim away, and emphasize what I heard. It’s a completely organic thing that I could not recreate if I was more “riff-driven” — I rely too much on the interplay between sounds clashing to do what I’m trying to do in a vacuum.

Is there a specific philosophy or worldview underlying ‘Older Gods’?

Yes, there are a handful of quotes that act as tentpoles for the thesis of the album. Everything from Rene Girard and his theory of mimetics, to Kierkegaard and the existentialist philosophies. The through line is essentially the notion that we are beholden to a lot of different hidden forces that control and shape the world. I think that we used to think and know a lot more about those in previous times than we do today. Literally, “older gods.”

When listeners make their way through your songs, what do you want to feel? What kind of situation do you see your music accompanying?

The music is very cinematic. I think it pairs well with headphones – a lot of work went into the mixing process to reward that particular experience. I also wrote the album as a seamless loop, and I’m a very album-oriented person, as opposed to a single on a playlist sort of thing.

How do you know when a track is ready? Does it ever become difficult to either refine ideas down or to stop perfecting?

I have found that my first guess is essentially a sketch. It’s probably 60 or 70% of the way there, but I need to sit on it, let it ruminate, work on some other things, and ultimately come back for another pass. I can almost always find space for another countermelody or some atmospheric sound design.

Was there any song on the album that was particularly a challenge to write?

I struggled with ‘non-veritas’ because I had so many ideas for melodies. The result is that there are still several guitar lines, but I had to keep from going for 15 minutes there. The struggle was real.

There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?

I feel a strong sense of focus and some level of anticipation. It’s very close to being on a scavenger hunt. You sort of throw out sounds and ideas, and you need to be free about it and unprecious, and then you trim away, refine, and discover new moments. Some of it is also connective work, such as how to bridge part A with part B, which is a little more logical. As for entering this state, I have to have emotional inspiration. Every time I sit down to write because I feel like I should it ends up a wash.

In how much, do you feel, are creative decisions shaped by cultural differences – and in how much, vice versa, is the perception of sound influenced by cultural differences?

The law of averages always means that you’re going to pull towards the center of what is around you. Like anyone else that I know who works on music, you have to create a lot of bad things before you can start to find the good stuff. Some of those bad things are things that sound like other people and are going to be inspired by the place in culture that you feel that you occupy. In my experience, it takes an awful lot of work and building up your self-confidence in what you’re doing to trust yourself to find new sounds and new vibes. I try to do things that are new to me. I don’t necessarily worry if they’re new to the world.

To wrap it up, please tell us about some of your favorite albums. Have you found something new lately you would like to recommend to our readers?

Some of my favorite stuff was written by friends of mine who have never released anything officially. For example, one track in particular stands out that I kept on repeating basically the entire recording process. Two friends had written it maybe 10 years ago and it just really works for me. Otherwise, I really dig the latest Ad Nauseam record, pretty much anything by Every Time I Die, and Bon Iver.

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Still can't tell exactly my origins because of my suspiciously ‘Chinese eyes’.