Interview: Drew Goddard / Karnivool


As a musician you have been focusing on guitar for long time now, but you often say, that in terms of instruments you are drummer at heart. What does it mean to you? How does it manifest in your creating process?

Drums is where I started. I heard Nirvana’s „Smells Like Teen Spirit” and that was the spark I needed. To be honest, when it comes to a life path at first I didn’t think I’d be a musician, but a cricket player. That’s the first thing I did. My dad was a cricket player and I do love sport.

Interesting. A lot of people, particularly in mainland Europe don’t get cricket at all as it is hard for us to comprehend a game that lasts five days.

That is exactly why we love it (laughs). It requires patience and you can see all the game’s strategies. But that’s beside the point. So cricket was my life but then I heard Nirvana and wanted to play the drums. I started on the drums, picked up the guitar shortly afterwards, but drums was my life for a while. I got lessons, went to university as a drummer for a year. That didn’t last very long though, because I wasn’t really into the structures involved in that education (laughs).

Karnivool – Eidolon

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Speaking of the structures, in terms of how you function as a composer now, does the knowledge about structures of rhythm coming from drums help you? Does it make all the rhythmic details maybe more visible to you than to those non-drumming guitarists?

I do visualize music a lot, be it rhythm, melody or harmony. Even texture, when you create like a landscape in music I see it in blues and greens. It might be a little bit hazy or wet or a ball covered in glass shards. I might hear a guitar sound and I see it as a rubber ball, but covered with something sharp on the surface. Music is not tangible. It’s frequency and energy, so one should use whatever tools, that can help visualize what it is. Something could even be visualized on the computer screen with phones, when you can actually see it. That’s why I’m so obsessed with cymatics [study of visible sound and vibration – KB]. That’s what „Sound Awake” was based on. The idea of all things including matter being about vibration and frequency. There’s more to sound than meets the ear. But I digress…

It’s all good. We’re freely sharing thoughts here. It’s interesting how in your answers you are almost introducing the questions, that follows, because you have just mentioned about color and this is what I wanted to ask you about now. Music comes from emotions. Music comes from something within. If you are a feeling person, you have your emotional world. If you were to describe your internal, emotional world in color, what colors would there be?

There’s the whole spectrum, really. I think I’m a very sensitive person, as lot of artists can be.

What kind of color sensitivity would you have in your world?

Blues and greens. There is also purple, but I see it more top end of the spectrum, which is more like the enlightening thing. Red and yellow would be a base emotion. That’s where your anger and fury comes from and that’s very important part of what we’re doing.


Yeah, I see it not as far down as red, but it’s there. I guess every one has his own perception. For example I often think of see, when I think of red. It’s all frequency. Lights, waves. You know, in Karnivool we explore. We put ourselves into a new environment, when we experience new things. That’s what intrigues me in music, that exploration of new lands. It’s like new color I haven’t seen before or new food, new taste, new sensation. Karnivool is also very much about catharsis. It’s weird, because I had very happy childhood, but there are certain things in me I release through music. But not only in music. I don’t mind sharing personal stuff. I go to see psychotherapists all the time.

All the time?

Yeah, even when I’m feeling good. Just to have a mirror. To talk to someone to get unbiased feedback and that’s a big part of some of my decisions. I think you need to release the stuff in you or deal with the things you hold inside, because it is a cycle. Things keep coming back around and they get amplified every time they come back around to you. If you don’t do something about them or do not choose to learn from it, next time they will come even bigger. First time it’s just this tiny little dot, but it keeps growing until you start escaping from it but it is still growing until it really hits you hard.

Yes, it’s interesting that we sometimes have to actually hit the wall to realize we have to do something about it.

You don’t have to go that far.

True, but it’s often unconsciously imposed self-destruction.

Humans are very often fatalistic. I’m like this too, but sometimes you need to be a catalyst in order to learn. And me, oh man, I learned things the hard way a lot of the times.

I think that happens. It’s inevitable, but it’s very important what you do with it. For example there was time in my life, where there was a lot of darkness and the pain from that time left deep cuts in me. It sort of carved deep channels within me and I think no other emotions can reach the same level in man as pain. No positive emotion can reach that kind of depth, but what is important is what you do with those channels drilled by pain afterwards. With me, from some point of my life I started filling them with light and a lot has changed since then.

That’s it. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom. We need that experience to understand the perspective and made a decision not to do certain things. Music helps with all that. Laughing too. Music and humor are important factors.

Definitely so to finish off on a lighter note let me ask you this. If you were to wake up one day and find something in your impressive beard, what would you like it to be?

(laughs) Well, probably kittens. I love cats. And the cats love my beard too (laughs). Nah, just kidding, hm…

It can be anything. Or anybody.

(pauses) God. I found God in my beard, he was there all the time. He smells funny, like cheese.

(laughs) I have to say that’s the most spectacular answer I have gotten to this question so far. You have you just outshone everyone and really, I have nothing else to add. Thank you for the interview!

(laughs) Thank you man.

Interviewer: Chris Bienkiewicz

He, who found the God

photo by Vool

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