Interview: Death Goals
“You can’t erase our existence”. We, and more importantly, the wider community we represent aren’t going anywhere.
A Garden Of Dead Flowers, the new album by Death Goals is an incendiary collection of songs that is a triumphant and chaotic celebration of everything that they stand for. The album’s 11 tracks deal with everything from queer pride to mental health issues and sees Death Goals kicking against the pricks throughout. Ahead of the release of the album, Gavin Brown caught up with Death Goals vocalist/guitarist Harry Bailey to talk all about A Garden Of Dead Flowers and how the band will never, ever stop fighting against homophobia and bigotry.
E&D: Your new album A Garden Of Dead Flowers is out shortly. How excited are you to be getting it out there and was the making of the album a smooth process?
Harry: We’re very much excited to get it out! We’re not particularly used to sitting on new music for so long, so we’re very much itching to get it out and see what people think of it. Making the album was a great time, we spent more time actually writing together and forming the songs (also did pre-production for the first time which was really helpful in developing the songs, especially lyrically) before we returned to The Bookhouse Studios where we recorded the first album. We also gave ourselves more time in the studio, the recording session for The Horrible And The Miserable was 3 days, whereas for A Garden Of Dead Flowers we had 5, which honestly made a world of difference; we could spend far more time finding the sounds we wanted and really sculpting performances.
E&D: What were the biggest influences on the sound of this album?
Harry: We definitely had more of a post-punk influence on this record, so bands like Metz, Gilla Band, Ditz were hugely pivotal in shaping the record, alongside our usual mix of Radiohead, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Chariot.
E&D: You have always always worn your heart on your sleeve when it comes to your message and your music. That is obviously still important to you today?
Harry: It’s never been more important to us.
E&D: Does any negativity towards that message just fuel your fire and make you even more defiant?
Harry: Very much so, as we said in our most recent single ‘Year Of The Guillotine’ – “You can’t erase our existence”. We, and more importantly, the wider community we represent aren’t going anywhere.
E&D: Do you feel that negativity is getting worse and the perpetrators are getting emboldened still and what can we do to stop that?
Harry: Sadly yes. We’ve seen a terrifying and very public villainisation of the trans community and rise in crimes against trans people. We are not safe, we’ve never been truly safe. Merely accepted, brushed under a rug, but now due to various governments and alt-right groups people are feeling emboldened to express their disdain for trans people without fear of persecution.
How do we stop it? Take to the streets, join the protests, donate if you can to the charities that are actually trying to help people and fucking vote out these people who wish to destroy queer people or any other minority.
E&D: How has the music you’ve brought out from the album been received so far?
Harry: Aside from some incredibly homophobic comments on certain sites, people have seemingly enjoyed the new stuff so far. We’re aware we’ve led with some left field songs as singles (‘Year Of The Guillotine’ is certainly the most traditional Death Goals song of the three singles) but we really wanted to show off the scope and variety of songs on this album. Not just three singles full of breakdowns and blast beats.
E&D: Can you tell us about the video you’ve done for the album track ‘Year Of The Guillotine’?
Harry: Yeah it was done by Teresa, who goes by Abhorrent Disobedience online. I just came across her page on instagram and sent her an email with the vibe I wanted and what the song was about as well as some key visuals I was after and in a week or so she came back with the video.
E&D: How have you evolved as a band since your debut album The Horrible and the Miserable?
Harry: We’ve grown closer together for starters, Grog very much joined the band then lockdown happened and before recording The Horrible and the Miserable we had like two practises together. So since that album we’ve toured together and just really got to understand each other way better, which led to us being more open with each other in the writing process and being comfortable to suggest more stuff to each other, whether that was lyric/riff/song ideas or just cheerleading each other whilst recording in the studio. But musically I think we’ve definitely improved as songwriters and lyricists and we’ve also been able to expand the already pretty broad Death Goals sound even more.
E&D: Did you feel any pressure following your debut up with A Garden Of Dead Flowers?
Harry: Oh absolutely, from a young age my Dad would tell me tales of ‘Second Album Syndrome’ where bands wouldn’t be able to follow up the first album so that’s stuck with me this whole process. Plus Grog firmly believes that most bands second album is their best one so that’s even mooooooore pressure, plus it’s our Prosthetic Records debut. So yeah just a little bit of pressure.
E&D: Do Death Goals feel more settled with your stable lineup this time around compared to then?
Harry: Absolutely, I mean we were pretty settled then to be fair but the year of touring and hanging out has definitely got us closer together. Plus we’re a good team, we cover each other’s weaknesses and know how to deal with each other’s oddities. So, yeah we’re all groovy.
E&D: Are you looking forward to heading out on tour with Vicarage once the album is released?
Harry: VERY MUCH SO. We caught them when we played Love Day in Manchester and they blew us away. Can’t wait for them to show us up at every show on tour.
E&D: You’re also playing ArcTanGent in August. You must be looking forward to that show?
Harry: Absolutely, I had already bought tickets to go anyway so to now be part of the line-up is a dream come true, especially with the line up being made up of so many friends of ours, as well as bands we’ve grown up idolising.
E&D: What other shows are you playing over the summer?
Harry: A few shows here, a tour or two there but nothing we can announce yet.
E&D: What have been some of the standout gigs that you have played with Death Goals?
Harry: Playing in Plymouth on our tour last year was wicked, a place we’d been to once before and the crowd was rabid, as was Brighton where the ceiling got kicked in by crowd surfers.
E&D: What have been the highlights of your time in Death Goals so far?
Harry: Personally, it has to be supporting Heck at Underworld. They’re one of my all time favourite bands so being able to play alongside Pijn and Heck at a sold out Underworld (one of my favourite venues) was really special.
E&D: What do you still want the band to achieve?
Harry: There’s so much, in a high fantasy dreamland we wanna open for Deftones, tour Europe, go to America and get a set filmed by Hate5six. But realistically just wanna play a bunch of shows and wear silly little outfits.
Photo by Gobinder Jhitta