Cokegoat’s impending release, Drugs And Animals, is a tall refreshing Long Island Ice Tea in a craft cocktail world. It’s trashy; it will get you fucked up, and you’ll probably wake up in a strange place needing a double dose of antibiotics. (Taken from Cokegoat’s Facebook.)
NRR: So tell the National Rock Review readers about Cokegoat? What makes up the twisted ladder of Cokegoat’s DNA?
Rebekah/Jeff: Everyone was chosen originally so the band could have a combined total age of 197. We would have gone with 187, but Tim played bass better than the 14-year-old we found on Craigslist. Little did we know two years later that 197 people were cited with public urination at Bowling Green State University. So in the end, it all worked out.
NRR: When coming up with a band name, how did Cokegoat come about? Drugs and Animals, which is also the title of your second release, is something you don’t find associated together in music?
Rebekah/Jeff: We just always wanted to know how a coked up goat sounded. When it came to the album title, it was kinda a no brainer, plus all the other titles that we were kicking around were pretty bad. I believe there were a few in Latin. We’re fucking idiots. Everyone is on something, legal or otherwise, just to make it through the day. We are all animals. It sounds simple, but it’s true.
NRR: As the blueprints were being laid out and things started to mold together, and the backbone of the band began to gel into form, what was Cokegoat wanting to accomplish as a band?
Rebekah/Jeff: As Cokegoat really started to gel and our six personalities and musical backgrounds jived, we wanted the beer soaked time in our garage to really mean something. Every band wants to play outside of their practice space. Playing live is a blast. We’re not looking to be big or anything, we
just want people to hear our shit.
There is a great sense of accomplishment you feel when you create something that you are really proud of, and you want to show the world. There is no grand plan. We just want to get this record out, accumulate some shitty reviews and write more songs for the next one.
NRR: Did Cokegoat always start out as a six-piece band? Was also having three different singers a part of that blueprint also?
Rebekah/Jeff: The demos Jeff recorded in his dorm room were layered with 3 guitars, synths, bass and drums. So it only made sense to invite a number of people/instruments it took to record. We love three guitars. When we rehearse minus one guitar, you can feel the difference.
Getting us all to fit on stage is another story. The three vocals just came naturally. It’s great to have three different vocal styles that you can use and abuse. Moving forward, we are focusing a lot on words and phrasing. We don’t want to just throw anything in there and just yell or scream. That’s just fucking lazy.
Kinda like our first record, a lot of that was just placeholder shit. We definitely had more of a plan with lyrics on this one, and we will continue to push creative vocals on new stuff.
NRR: Do you feel at times it’s been hard to get the word out about Cokegoat?
Rebekah/Jeff: I mean, you want people to hear your music right? We use a PR company, so that helps. We promote on social media. Unfortunately, we don’t currently tour. There’s a ton of us in the band, and it would make it almost impossible to coordinate.
On that note, if someone wants to help us out booking shit, we would be more than happy to go out for a few weeks at a time to spread the love. I don’t know if we would come back alive, we really like to drink. The amount of press we’ve received is fantastic. Good or bad, it helps.
We also get to play with tons of great bands from Chicago or elsewhere. In the end, nothing’s frustrating when you’re able to get together with your bros, slam a few beers, talk shit and play music.
NRR: What do you think about Facebook charging you money to help posts get more boosts? Do you think that’s a fair thing to do, charge a band so someone might be able to see that bands post?
Rebekah/Jeff: It’s fine. We do it. Posters cost money. PR costs money. Your time and effort cost money. It’s necessary if you want to have people see stuff. Consider it gas money for all the touring we aren’t doing. If you are starting out, then you should have to pay your dues one way or another. If you want to be heard, work hard getting your name out there, and spend some money.
In the days before FB you’d spend time and money printing flyers and running around town posting them. There’s no handouts. Put in the work. Nothing is going to happen for free.
NRR: On November 25th, your sophomore release titled Drugs And Animals comes out. How stoked are you having your fans be able to hear this?
Rebekah/Jeff: Super stoked. We wrote this record together. It was a group effort. Our first record was pretty straight forward. For Vessel, we took a lot of parts from Jeff’s demos and tried to figure each other out. No one knew yet if they hated Chase.
We feel Drugs and Animals is a lot different. The writing and recording process were a lot different. We took our time writing this. During recording, we were a lot more loose, i.e., drunk/high and open to ideas. It shows that we are growing and not afraid to do what we like.
There is no formula to what we have or will do. We don’t sit down saying, we need to write a Cokegoat song today. We just write and if it sucks, we scrape it. If it doesn’t, maybe you’ll hear it in two years. We can’t wait to have folks love or hate the new stuff.
NRR: What better time to have a new release come out also, the day after Thanksgiving? Cokegoat, Drugs And Animals, with turkey leftovers. What more could you ask for?
Rebekah/Jeff: Casual handjobs; you can never ask for too many casual handjobs. Oh, and world peace.
NRR: Was there a theme or any sort of concept you wanted to cover before entering the studio to record Drugs And Animals?
Rebekah/Jeff: With the music there is never an idea of how it’s going to come out. With six people you get a great melting pot of ideas. You have a lot of filters to run ideas, though. Once [the] words starting flowing, those songs eventually became our reflections on the earth, the moon, and human failure. After the first few songs had been written lyrically, we decided not to use pronouns on Drugs and Animals. When we start writing words for our new album, it’s going to be pronouns out the ass.
NRR: Was there anything you wanted to do or try something different on Drugs And Animals that you weren’t able to do previously on Vessel?
Rebekah/Jeff: Just being a band for a longer amount of time did that naturally. Drugs and Animals was a group-written album. We took our time. In the studio, we were a lot more open to changing and improvisation. Working with someone like Andy Nelson who has an encyclopedia of music gave us the seventh set of ears. We welcomed all of his ideas because, after a while, you can’t even see the big picture anymore.
NRR: What are some of your favorite songs on it so far that you can’t wait to play live for everyone?
Rebekah/Jeff: Definitely not the last track, “Kreator/Destroyer.” That song changed completely in the studio. The first record was super-written and planned out, “Kreator/Destroyer” is the exact opposite. The foundation was there, but that’s about it. I’m not even sure if we’ve ever all played it together. That’s something we’ve never done before. We will learn and play it at the record release show, maybe.
NRR: What makes Drugs and Animals stand out compared to Vessel?
Rebekah/Jeff: I think we wrote and recorded Vessel within the first year and a half of being a band. We hadn’t seen Tim shirtless with nude colored slacks on yet. Gear was different. People only had one or no babies. Rebekah hadn’t ruined two garbage cans by throwing up in them. Most of us were under 40. We drank microwaved Busch beer before recording vocals on Drugs And Animals, not on Vessel. You can definitely fear that difference.
NRR: How do you think you’ve musically grown since then?
Rebekah/Jeff: We know each other better and can accept or reject criticism more easily. It’s good not to know what we’re “supposed to sound like.” We haven’t written much since the record, so we are curious what direction the next batch of songs will go. What in life will take us there.
NRR: What are some of Cokegoat’s musical inspirations? If someone was to peel the skin back what would they find inside?
Rebekah/Jeff: It changes all the time. People bring new stuff to share; that’s always exciting. We asked everyone what they had been listening to on this particular day: Steve Miller Band, Danzig, Steve Hillage, Seals and Crofts, Alcest, Gunship, Cult of Luna, Meshuggah, Bjork, Lord Dying, FM-84, Rainbow.
NRR: Does having six members in the band ever have its difficulties when it comes to creating or writing music, especially if everyone has different tastes or styles?
Rebekah/Jeff: Our productivity ebbs and flows. Sometimes we’re on fire, people bring in riffs, and sometimes we just stare at each other. Surgeries, babies, life, etc. get in the way sometimes. We are in no hurry to get stuff out. We don’t have any deadlines. We put everything out ourselves. So if nothing is working and we just want to get drunk and talk about our feelings, or what imaginary taco restaurant Tim runs into his bedroom, then that’s what we do. It’s called friend practice. We don’t feel pressure to push something out that we all aren’t 100% happy with. Usually, Chase is only 92% happy with it, but he lets it slide.
NRR: After listening to Vessel, I had to see what Cokegoat videos were on YouTube. “Buried in the City.” Can you explain it to someone who hasn’t seen it yet? What made you decide to do this for a video?
Rebekah/Jeff: Our original idea was very literal and stock; we wanted it to end with us as tiny people in a box rocking out. That might have been cool. We were working with our friend Chris Batte who works at this great photo studio.
It was a few days before we were going to start the original idea, which was not going to be an easy shoot, a few of us smoked some pot and looked at this gorgeous kitchen they had there and said, “Hey, why don’t we do this instead.”
So we scrapped the original idea and did what we do. The “Buried In The City” video was the absolute best way to demonstrate how Cokegoat is a fucked up family. Go watch it, now.
We do have a new video coming out around the same time as the record. Also, fun with Chris Batte directing again and Ryan Oliver helping out who has done videos for “The Atlas Moth” and “Child Bite” to name a few. Also fucking ridiculous. Maybe even more so.
NRR: What were the six of you each doing before Cokegoat? Is this everyone’s first band, or have some of you endeavored in other bands previously?
Rebekah/Jeff: Does it sound like our first band? Shit, I hope not. We’re old. We’ve all played in a ton of bands in and around Chicago. We really never have played together, though.
Jeff joined one of Jordan and Ed’s bands back in the day for a little while. Jeff and Rebekah had a project called Silent Partners, where they would just invite random people to record a song with them at each session. Jeff asked Tim to join the band without ever hearing him play proper bass. Tim was just making noise in Improper Dump. Chase has been in tons of bands and has been kicked out of each one. No joke. He’s a real dick.
NRR: After Drugs And Animals, what’s next for Cokegoat? What can the fans expect in 2017?
Rebekah/Jeff: 2017 will see us try to figure out how to play “Kreator/Destroyer.” And we’re shooting to record an EP in the spring, which means it won’t be out for another two years unless we start working on artwork now.
NRR: All good things must come to an end, but before we go, is there any last words you’d like to say to your Cokegoat fans out there reading this? Or any favorite beers you feel deserve a shout out?
Rebekah/Jeff: We are looking forward to getting out this record. Hopefully, people will watch and listen to us. If they don’t, that’s cool too. We are enjoying what we are doing. We just played at Illuminated Brew Works in Chicago at a kick ass bonfire. We Love them. We’re all pro beer/pro attitude.
Drugs And Animals hit the streets on November 25.
Header photo: Cokegoat live at Illuminated Brew Works in Chicago. Courtesy of Jeff Wojtysiak.