The doom metal subgenre is often associated with cannabis, but Arizona-based Goya takes it to a new level with its most recent record, Harvester of Bongloads. The southwestern doom band members are huge cannabis enthusiasts and use the herb’s inspiration as a theme whenever possible. CULTURE caught up with vocalist Jeff Owens to talk about the band’s sound and love for smoking cannabis.
How did the band first get started?
I was in a punk band called Royal Monsters that was starting to fall apart, and I had some riffs that I felt wouldn’t work in that band, so I realized I needed to start my own band. I got things a little more fleshed out, and asked a couple of friends if they were interested in playing the songs and that style of music, and that was that!
Do you have anything exciting in the works that you want to announce?
We’re going to be taking it easy for a little bit, but things will still be moving along behind the scenes. While I always have new riffs in the works, I wouldn’t say that’s exciting until an album starts to come together.
How would you describe your sound, for those not familiar with doom metal?
Usually the go-to reference in that scenario is Black Sabbath. Electric Wizard is the most obvious influence, I’m guessing, but they’re not as big of a band as Sabbath (despite being deserving), so Sabbath is an easier reference for those not acquainted with the genre.
How do you feel about the U.S. doom metal scene?
This answer could end up being a couple of paragraphs long, so I will keep it succinct and say that I think we are living in a goddamned Renaissance. There are more good, young U.S. bands than I can count. In many ways, it’s a terrible time to be alive. Music is not one of those ways.
“How do I feel [about cannabis legalization so far]? ‘Jesus, fucking finally.’ I mean, what the hell took so long? Kids were talking about it when I was in high school, and I’m sure they were talking about it 20 years before that.”
How do you feel about cannabis legalization so far? What could be done better, or differently?
How do I feel? “Jesus, fucking finally.” I mean, what the hell took so long? Kids were talking about it when I was in high school, and I’m sure they were talking about it 20 years before that.
As far as what could be done better or differently, I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not educated enough on the subject to know all the ins and outs of it. The only thing I know is that it’s ridiculous that it isn’t federally legal already.
How has cannabis affected your life and/or creative process?
For the first five years of Goya, I made a point of being high almost every time I did something related to the band (yes, I’m high right now), even if it was just packing orders (sorry if I screwed up anyone’s order) or ordering stickers. It seems humorous in retrospect, but I did it, so I suppose it’s worth mentioning. Part of that would include (surprise, surprise) writing/playing music. I started playing guitar around the same age that I started smoking, so the two have often gone hand in hand for me.
All of that being said, I recently took a year to be sober, and it definitely was a positive experience. I am back to smoking pretty much every day at this point, but I’m sure I will take a break again. I find that alternating between smoking and not smoking can be really helpful in terms of perception. Smoking tends to curate a more empathetic side of me, while sobriety tends to curate a more driven side of me. These are both things that are crucial to my happiness, as they can dictate how I feel about myself. Balance seems to be key, and I’m still trying to figure that one out.
How do you advocate for cannabis?
Again, I’m going to be honest here and say that I am not really educated enough on the topic. I consider advocacy to be going out there and actually doing something, and the only thing I really do is enjoy it, and sing about it, at times, so if those things count, that’s what I’m doing!
How have you worked cannabis into your music as a theme?
There are quite a few references on 777, and the entirety of our latest LP Harvester of Bongloads is a concept album about weed. That album was sort of a last hurrah for weed obsession. It may come up at times, but moving forward, I hope to focus on more dire subject matter.
What is your favorite strain or cannabis product?
I’ve been trying to figure this one out for years specifically and have not reached any conclusion other than that I prefer sativa. Indica often makes me paranoid and I get the shivers.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Take it easy.
Band Name: Goya
Genre: Doom metal
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Most Recent/Upcoming Album: Harvester of Bongloads