Profile Twofer: Nick LaRocca of Barren Heir and Jeff Wojtysiak of Cokegoat

Cokegoat / Barren Heir - Split

Steeping away from our standard Profile, today we are featuring a twofer or double or dos attack (however you want to look at it) of bands, Barren Heir and Cokegoat, who have just released their collaborative and independent split Sunshine / Tracing Light. It’s an extremely forward thinking sludge and doom affair that kicks like a mule one minute and plays with tension / release the next. Simply put, this is six tracks of music you need in your life. As luck may have it, Nine Circler Vincent just featured this split right here so be sure check that out in full. We recently had the chance to ask our set of questions to Barren Heir’s drummer Nick LaRocca and Cokegoat’s guitarist / vocalist Jeff Wojtysiak so head inside to get the scoop and hit the links to support the bands.

Barren Heir
Barren Heir

How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?

First part of that question: My dad bought me my first drum kit when I was 12 and I kinda taught myself how to play from there. For the record, yes, being self taught explains my unique set up. It wasn’t so much a decision as it was just not knowing any better.

Second part: I’m not sure how to answer that. I never really thought about playing drums like that, it’s always been more of an extension of my thoughts. So I guess, in light of that, the answer to your questions is no, because I’m still not fully capable of expressing all of my thoughts on a drum kit.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.) 

Nope

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

Best: The standard for song-writing structure has changed. A lot of the music coming out of the genre now is rooted in development rather than a more traditional song structure. It’s leading to way more creative song writing.

Worst: There are just so many bands… and maybe that in itself isn’t a bad thing, but, there’s a difference between being interesting/creative and being trendy/boring and the trendy/boring far outweighs the interesting/creative.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

Nietzsche told the world God is dead in 1882 and not everybody has gotten the memo. The institution of religion is a recurring theme in our work.

And then, personally speaking, I’m too philosophically neutral to get caught up in things other people have no problem losing their shit over.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

Hybrid Theory. It was the first record with screaming vocals that I liked (at the ripe age of 10) and I gradually developed my pallet — so to speak — from there. My family and I still have a hard time seeing eye to eye on music and what it is.

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

Be objective. Just because you personally don’t like something doesn’t make it bad. Focus on what something is comparable to and how it operates within its genre, or across genres if it has that level of listenability.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

Metal is a very (perhaps the most) polarizing genre, most people can’t see past the stigma of expressing aggression through music. If I have any goals, it’s to destigmatize the genre. Metal has some of the best musicians who receive the least amount of recognition. That should change.

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

J. Cole – KOD, Coltrane – Live at Birdland, Sleep – The Sciences

What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?

Lots of touring.

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)

Brutal.

Cokegoat
Cokegoat

How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?

Listening? Fisher Price. Beach Boys, The Monkees and Spiderman story records. Music? Cc Deville. Poison. I listened to a lot of music but I wanted dudes hair, I wanted to be him, on guitar, all the time. It was right around the time of discovering my body. So guitar and CC were the natural path. Success? Sure, I’m very happy and content in my life.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)

Money. Fuck. Fuck all who say Facebook and any other social media, fuck them for charging. It’s promotion. If you don’t want to pay, then pay your dues on the road, put in the physical work, street team, practice and work for it.  Money for nothing and riffs for free?

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

Right now, I couldn’t imagine trying to book/promote our band and shows in a more supportive and positive community. Minus all the nepotism. Coming from a larger community, seeing bands who get by with nepotism can be frustrating, but we should leave our egos and do what we do. This is me talking to me. I should listen to myself more often.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?

When the six of us were practicing in a room on a Tuesday and the results of the election for President were coming in, we were all were in shock. I think we still all are. What we do in the rehearsal room is the pillow that we scream into.  Family and friends and amps and music are my escape. Also vodka. We seem to be at the end of what we can accomplish as a society. It’s been a good experiment. We’ve failed. I’ll write words about that.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

“It seems there’s a small part of your life where the world is tiny, and in that tiny portion you feel only a few things can exist to make who you are. Those 3 things were Ozzy, Anthrax and Metallica. The year was 1986. Megadeth and Slayer were next. Also listening to Suicidal Tendencies controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit before indoor soccer games helped. I was lucky to be the first born, expectations were low. You’re welcome, Chris Dale.” – Jim Dale

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

Just the conversation. I couldn’t tell you how many times I add music that I read about to a “new stuff” list on Spotify. Most I’ll never listen to again, but others are fun to revisit, share, repeat.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

We’re doing it. Stay constant, whether it’s playing out, writing or recording. We have an expiration date of ten years. We’ve got 4 more years to get it right, I just want Chase to like something.

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

Right now, as I type, I’m listening to Huntsmen, from Chicago. I don’t know what to think. I like it, a lot, but at the same time, I keep changing my mind, so it’s doing its job. Tangerine Dream Exit. Also, the new Scientist is next level.

What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?

New fucking record/split!!!, with our buds in Barren Heir. 18 minutes worth of Sunshine. New writing cycle. My thoughts right now about this time around is to breathe, deep. Not to think too much. Get back to it. But that’s likely to change.

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)

Fucked.

Many thanks to Nick, Jeff, Barren Heir and Cokegoat for their time!


Sunshine / Tracing Light is available now on Bandcamp. For more information on both bands, visit the Facebook pages of Barren Heir and Cokegoat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s