Godflesh disbanded in 2002 following a really traumatic period in Justins life. He was suffering through a break up both personally, with the ending of a long term relationship and professionally with original bassist and founding member G.C. Green leaving the band. I asked how hard was it for him to pull all the pieces back together from a personal perspective and how the eventual demise of Godflesh came about. “We immediately set about touring the album “Hymns”, you know it was all wrong, it wasn’t Godflesh anymore. It was a good band but it wasn’t Godflesh. So it all just accumulated and went bad, it went to shit basically. Unfortunately I was going through a lot of real bad personal problems at the time as well, I was really thankful that I had something ongoing. Forming Jesu out of the ashes of Godflesh and having that material to work on during such a painful period was really the only creative outlet that I had of expressing a lot of the pain I was going through at the time. I certainly needed to express it because I think without any form of expression I would have been in such a throe of depression that I would have found very little way out of it”.
With all of that behind him we fast forward 12 years, the original line up is back intact and the brand new album “A World Lit By Fire” has just been released. The frontman explained how the writing process came about after the bands extended hiatus. "I first started writing new material about halfway through 2011, so really what we wanted to do was play shows and perform to the best of our abilities and play the early material, that is the most inspiring to us you know. We didn’t need the inspiration but I felt like I just wanted to perform the material I loved most and what I loved most about Godflesh to get us back, get the ball rolling again you know. That lead into the compositional process in a really fluid way then, once I started writing it was never-ending really in a way the inspiration. I had to really hold the reins in the end to stop myself because I could probably write seven albums in one go now, which is great. You know I dried up back in the day, before we split up I was drying up. Whereas now it’s a bottomless well, I’m clearly very excited to get back into that compositional process, I really wanted to get back to it you know. Towards the end of the 2000’s with my project “Jesu” it definitely felt like I’d done more than I’d set out to do with that project and I was definitely missing the whole Godflesh process.”
When I broached the topic of how well the new album has been received by both the fans and the media alike, Justin was ecstatic about the initial reaction they had been afforded “I mean we’ve been stunned, when we finished this album we were really proud of this record. We still feel and we did feel as soon as we’d finished it that this was one of the best records we’d made in over 20 years. It’s up there with the classics for us, with the first three albums we made you know. The last great album we feel we made as Godflesh was the “Selfless” album in 1994 and we feel this is up there with that if not better. It’s up there with our best records, we made it for ourselves first and foremost, we just didn’t know, and we made it in such a vacuum. We recorded this in our own studio, I wrote it in my own studio, we produced it ourselves, we even engineer these records ourselves. So we had no other input whatsoever, not at any stage and this is on my own record label. So it’s not like we’ve got A&R people or people surrounding us going yeh man, that’s the fucking best album you’ve ever done, we had no one around us telling us anything. So it’s made in such a vacuum that by the time we finish the record and get it out we have no idea how this is going to be received. So we’ve been bowled over with the responses it's ridiculous actually. It couldn’t be any more positive, which makes us feel like god, well we have obviously made a record that has made an impact, it’s a real shot in the arm you know, it’s mad."
To my question on whether he had been given any insight of what to expect when they hit the stage in Australia, his response way “I’ve only spoken to people who have worked tech over there or have been over there as visitors but a lot of people have just said that it is an amazing experience. What I hear is really positive things, so we’re really excited, were just as excited to play some sideshows you know.”
The Godflesh singer/guitarist’s parting messages to their Australian fans was “I just couldn’t be more excited to play to people who have been either waiting years to see us or even people who have come to it in the last couple of years, last year, last month who just want to see this band. It will be an absolute pleasure to play to an Australian audience and I just hope people lose their shit to us.”
Interview by Mike Trandafil