During the period of quarantine, Are Goetia got closer to Stephen Flam, Goden’s leader and Winter to know more about this new musical concept and what’s about Winter finished 30 years ago.
Ars Goetia: Stephen, you are the co-founder of the death/doom band Winter. Why have you created Goden? Couldn’t you continue on this with Winter?
Stephen: Goden is a continuation of Winter from my vision. I write, record and produce the music. I wrote new music for Winter that was recorded and completed in 2003. We started to work on those songs during rehearsals for Winter reunion shows with intentions of using them for the follow up to Into Darkness. When those gigs where cancelled due to my hearing loss issues. I broke the news to the group and everyone was extremely bummed. Twenty five years later to have a second chance and finally perform and play out especially since Winter broke up right after the release of Into Darkness. Everyone knew I was suffering with crippling tinnitus. This was a major setback and depressing time for everyone. The group chose to not do the shows without me. Everyone removed their equipment from Tony’s place and that was the end…
Ars Goetia: What is the recording process in order to obtain this very strong, very massive sound?
Stephen: After everyone removed gear from Winter rehearsal space at Tony’s place. I was packing up the last few things I had at Tony’s he said “so this is how it ends”. I responded the only way I could continue would be to build an isolation booth to stand in so sound would not affect me and I could see everyone through the glass. Tony said “so build the iso-booth and let’s move forward and see how it goes. I explained to the Winter members what Tony and I wanted to do. This sounded like a tremendous undertaking, and it was! Some members joined on and some decided not to join this recording project. My brother Chris Flam is a recording engineer, I explained what I wanted to do and he was down. Tony, Chris and I converted Winters rehearsal space into a recording studio. I purchased drum kit, mics, interfaces, cables and whatever Chris recommended. We started work on the songs from the 2003 Winter demo. Those songs where Glowing Red Sun, Night, Dark Nebula and various riffs from that demo as well as new music I had. Tony was a godsend for opening his home to me for this five year long recording process.
We would rehearse the song till it was crushing, then record the song, put it on the self. When ten songs where completed. I reached out to Vas Kallas an old friend from Hanzel und Gretyl. We had many drinks and I explained my vison. She was down, Vas spent the next year working on lyrics and a few different vocal styles. She sang in German, Greek, English and had a few ethereal female styles. I would say that the main members are Vas Kallas (Hanzel und Gretyl), Tony Pinnisi (Winter keys), Scott Wojno (drums), Jason Franz (Christian Death), Vic Pullen (Winter drummer).
Ars Goetia: “Beyond Darkness” has a very massive sound. Could you explain the song writing process, recording process? What is your state of mind and inspiration?
Stephen: I play guitar, bass, keys, drum programing, recording, editing and music writing in my studio where I have some of my music making toys.. . Tony’s place is where live drums and amps are setup 24/7 so we can retain the live real feel. I usually write everything myself then re-track drums, amps and Hammond Lesle at Tony’s place. Goden has taken on a life of its own. Tony plays Hammond Organ, Moog, Arp String, Fender Roads, K2000 Kurzweil and Margret Murphy plays violin on Glowing Red Sun, Komm Susser Tod and Manifestation IV “The Progeny of Goden”. I had a vision to fill the sonic space with some of the ambient music I create. The Manifestations became the home for those creations. Film scores, science fiction have always inspired me.
Ars Goetia: Who or what is Goden, it seems to be very important in the lyrics and the Manifestations. Could you explain this new concept?
Stephen: I had a concept to make the album a story/soundtrack with artwork that would take the listener to a different place. My concept was a fiction story of the light and the dark set to a sound track of heavy music. It was obvious that Vas (NYXTA-Goddess of Night) with her menacing vocal style and lyrics was the darkness. Tony (Prophet of Goden) and I spent countless hours creating a character that would be the polar opposite to Vas. Tony (Prophet of Goden) became the light, he speaks in the name of Goden. Manifestation 1-8 are recitations where they guide the listener on a journey. The Manifestations became a home for some of my ambient and spacey side of music creation. Vas nick named me Spacewinds because the Manifestations music reminded her of spacewind. I am time and space in which these characters’ dwell.
Ars Goetia: Beyond Darkness elaborates very dark atmospheres with sludge and drone metal touch. (Glowing Red Sun, Genesis Rise and I Am Immortal) I think it is really innovative; how do manage to mix all these kind of dark extreme metal and create your own style of music?
Stephen: I usually work in layers. Drums first, then I have different guitar, keys, bass riffs. My main focus was to create something that listeners could see and feel as well. Multi-layered with lots of textures and colors help create the atmosphere. I wanted the music to feel hypnotic, tribal, like a ghost floating through different dimensions.
Ars Goetia: You were a trio with Winter, Did you stay a trio with Goden?
Stephen: Goden Could be a trio because Vas plays bass as well. But with this project Vas would be vocalist and John John Jesse (Nausea) would play bass.
Ars Goetia: A few words about the meaning of the cover artwork?
Stephen: The cover artwork was created by Eva Petric. Each member has a symbol. The front cover is my symbol.
Ars Goetia: Winter “Into Darkness” and Goden “Beyond Darkness” are both released on May 8th via Svart Records, tell us more about this?
Stephen: Past and present…. This will be Winters 30 year anniversary edition, and Goden will be born on the same day… Svart has been great to work with.
Ars Goetia:You close the album with the song Winter? With Winter there is a song called Goden? Whats the link?
Stephen: Goden does a cover of the song Winter by Winter. This song was a rare track from the Winter 1989 demo. Goden is named after my favorite Winter song. The song Goden has lyrics and music that are similar Goden’s lyrics and music.
Ars Goetia: We are in quarantine now, but is a tour planned in a few weeks or months in the United States and maybe Europe?
Stephen: At this point Goden rehearsal and recording studio is still active and everything is still in place and has all the gear and mics ready to pull trigger on next album. We are all brain dead at this point because Beyond Darkness has drained us…. Once we recover… We will continue creating more music and lyrics for album two.. As for touring it will be limited to a few large festivals that have expressed interest in premiering Beyond Darkness.
Thank you for the interview…