MERKABA: Interview with Louis Goodwin

Merkaba is a young instrumental progressive metal project from Plymouth in UK. Led by guitarist and composer Louis Goodwin, this one-man adventure has released a self-titled debut EP in November 2016, and we talked with Louis about the record.

Hey Louis. How are you doing?

I’m doing good! Very excited!

You released an EP with your project Merkaba recently. It’s titled “Merkaba,” features nine instrumental pieces which are, I have to say it, very well thought, executed and produced. How do you feel about the release?

I’m really pleased! I got quite a bigger response than I expected, and am really glad people are enjoying it!

How much of a challenge was to work on the EP?

The EP was originally recorded as a personal endeavour, so most of the recording was quite enjoyable. There was much more of a challenge when I came to the mixing/mastering process as it was something I had very little experience with, and many YouTube tutorials were watched. The biggest challenge for me, personally, was budget issues. Being a young musician, some of the better and more expensive effects and VSTs were inaccessible, and finding affordable alternatives was hard.

You are based in Plymouth in UK. What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from the area are you friends with?

I have a few friends who are very interested in this genre, and they’re all look to find or form bands in the area. This area of Devon has quite a substantial metal scene, with leanings to pop punk, I’m quite into this band from Newton Abbot, not far from Plymouth, called “As it Stands”, they’re putting out some pretty cool stuff!

What is your opinion about the current progressive metal / djent scene?

I think it’s great! Any new music is good music, and to watch this genre progress from early Meshuggah to stuff like Erra and Modern Day Babylon is brilliant. I love the musicianship and creativity in most of Djent music, and it’s great to many young artists, like myself, being welcomed into the ‘Djent’ community and supported by more experienced artists. There’s very little elitism in this scene, in my opinion.

merkaba-ep

Can you tell me something about your influences? Certain parts of the “Merkaba” EP would be perfectly fitting as soundtrack to a video game. Are you a gamer? 

I’ve never been a huge gamer, I used to play a bit of Minecraft when I was about 11 but that’s about it. If I was to be influenced by any other media it would probably be film, I am a huge fan of film scoring, dudes like Hans Zimmer and John Williams, and their scores have influenced a lot of my music.

Following up on the previous question, if you had a chance to score a soundtrack for any game franchise what would your choice be and why?

Like I said in the previous answer I’m not a huge gamer, but if I was to score any game it would have to be something fantasy, maybe like Elder Scrolls or another Final Fantasy game. I would much rather score a film, maybe in the Sci-Fi genre, by my favourite director; Christopher Nolan.

What are you listening to these days?

I’ve really got into Erra recently; I love their newest album “Drift”. I’ve also been quite into this band from Florida; “Letters of the Lost”. They kinda sound like what I imagine Pantera would if Dimebag had turned up his mid gain and gone djent. I’m also really loving David Maxim Micic’s “Eco” at the moment.

Your 5 favourite records of all the time?

From the top; “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, Periphery’s “PII – This Time it’s Personal”, “The Amanuensis” by Monuments, “Eco” by David Maxim Micic, and “Rust in Piece” by Megadeth. Djent and Progressive Metal are probably my favourite genres but Pink Floyd will never be surpassed as my favourite band of all time!

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record the “Merkaba” EP?

This EP was very much a budget release, and my setup was quite according. For my guitar tone I was using a PodHD500x, which is, in my opinion, a great piece of gear for it’s price, and can almost compete with some of the bigger amp modellers like the Axe FX and Kemper Profiling. For my DAW I’m using Reaper, which I love and, again, is another great value-for-money item in my inventory. Bass and drums was actually entirely VSTs, I can play the bass guitar and the drums to a certain extent but nothing like I needed for what I had written. The drum VST I used was called MT-Power Drums, a freeware pluggin which was absolutely brilliant for what I needed. All the VST plugins were freeware, as I have a very limited budget, but some of the freeware stuff online is brill if you know where to look!

Besides the release of the EP, are there any other plans for the future?

To keep on writing! I’ve already started piecing together new and exciting riffs for future material. I really want to get gigging soon, being in full time education really restricts my ability to gig and tour, but I’d love to start playing at local venues any time soon!

Any words for the potential new fans?

Thank you for taking the time to listen! I hope to produce more for you as soon as possible!

Merkaba is on Facebook.