The members of Goat have carefully protected their identities since the band emerged onto the scene with the release of the “Goatman” single in 2012. As a result, it is a matter of some journalistic pride that it is the back pages that is finally able to reveal the identity of one of the masterminds behind the group’s catchy acid rock/world beat fusion.
At the end of the email by which the Goat member in question returned his answers to our questions, he casually signed off as none other than “Magnus Uggla”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Swedish music scene, Magnus Uggla is a 61 year old pop rock singer who, sadly, failed in his attempt to represent Sweden in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. That he was able to bounce back from this setback and launch a project as energetic and fresh as Goat is a testament to the man’s remarkable stamina and musical ability.
Needless to say, this revelation is at odds with the band’s deliberately mysterious back story. Uggla is from Stockholm rather than the band’s claimed birthplace of Korpilombolo. He’s also shown no real affinity with the voodoo religion that Goat assert has taken root in the small Swedish hamlet.
However, in his answers to our questions Magnus seems at pains to maintain the backstory of the band. When it was put to him that in 2013 a member of Goat said that there were 30 to 40 core members of the band, whereas last year they were quoted as saying there were 16 or 17, he was emphatic that no human sacrifice had been involved.
He said, “No, it depends on who is answering the questions. You can count this differently; some just count the people involved in recordings, some count the whole commune. Some count the commune plus our international friends spread around the globe.
“I would say our core members is around a hundred people or so.”
While the Goat commune remains strong in number, the band has suffered the loss of one member of the family recently in the shape of Magnus’ trusty Volvo (picturedabove).
He said sadly, “I loved it, but it died a year ago. It was old. Now I have a newer one. I don’t like it that much, but at the same time I try and don’t get too attached of things. In the end it is a machine that takes me fast to places. How it looks is secondary for me.”
Looking ahead to Field Day, where Goat will be taking their extraordinary live show on Sunday 12 June, Magnus compares his attitude to festivals to how he feels about his new car. Getting the job done is more important than the aesthetics of the surroundings.
He said, “Personally, I’m fine with whatever, as long it is a good vibe on stage and in the audience.”
In terms of the band’s plans going forward, Magnus is coy about whether a new album is in the offing, saying that he is not sure if he is “allowed” to reveal this. He does, however, reveal that Goat have been hard at work on new material and have been exploring a new direction for their music.
He said, “We have worked a lot more acoustically while recording recently, trying to get deeper into a more traditional sound, away from the psych rock of today, with music drenched in delays, reverbs and noise. Not that I don’t like that stuff too, but we in Goat need to find other ways to keep our music interesting to ourselves.”
The first fruit of this approach was the band’s excellent new single, “I Sing In Silence”, which was released on 27 May.
For fans with tickets to Field Day, there’s not long to wait before they get to see if this new acoustic material translates to the live arena as well as their incendiary electric psych work. Given the skill with which the band improvises around the hypnotic grooves from their immensely enjoyable first two albums, it’s a fair bet that festival attendees are in for a treat.
The recommendations of Magnus Uggla, member of Goat
Whether or not the Goat member that we spoke to is the actual, bona fide Swedish pop star that he claims to be, there is no doubting his taste in music. Here are a few of his recommendations for acts that manage to combine a ritualistic, spiritual element to their music with trippy psychedelia:
Silvester Anfang – These Belgians first recorded as a krautrock-influenced “funereal folk” band, something like Amon Duul II. They later moved to a more free form take on psychedelic rock and renamed themselves Sylvester Anfang II.
They’re definitely a few shades darker than Goat; one of their songs is called The Devil Always Shits In The Same Graves. Also, the cover of their debut album features a woman licking a skull.
For fans of krautrock, the band are certainly worth checking out. Julian Cope exercises to this music.
Träd, Gräs & Stenar – In some ways, krautrock should be referred to as Swede rock. In their earliest incarnation, as Pärson Sound in 1967, members of this band were creating highly repetitive, experimental drone rock similar to the output of German bands that would begin to emerge a year later.
The band quickly mutated into International Harvester, then Harvester and Träd, Gräs & Stenar. As part of this journey, they lost a little of their early sonic extremism and incorporated elements of folk to their psychedelic rock.
Acid Mothers Temple – This multi-faceted Japanese freak collective incorporate both psychedelia and communal values into their approach to music, making them an obvious pick for kindred spirits to Goat in some of their many, many modes.
The Myrrors – This band plays a slow burning form of psychedelic desert rock that takes some inspiration from traditional music from around the world. In that sense they are almost like a slowed down version of Goat. The Myrrors split up after releasing their debut album in 2008, before returning in 2013 and setting to work on a slew of new material.