Sverigeaktuella Mastodon är bandet som hela tiden går från klarhet till klarhet. Experimentlustan och produktiviteten är hög inför varje nytt album och till senaste given, “Once more ´round the sun”, spelade bandet in fler låtar än de som kom med och kommer även spela in än mer nytt efter sommaren, berättar trummisen Brann Dailor.
“Hopefully we get some time off in August and a little bit of September. We´ll try to go into the studio and record just a little bit more. That´ll be cool too. There are a few songs that didn´t make the record, because the vibe is a little different. It´s a little more slower, a little more relaxed and they didn´t really fit with the energy of the other songs on the album.”
How´s the tour been going with Gojira and Kvelertak?
Brann: It´s been going well. We´re about a week into it and starting to feel normal again. We had sort of a lengthy break. We were in Australia though, but that wasn´t the same. We´d fly every day and had lots of days off, so it was not really a “tour” tour. Not the grind. This is a lot better and it´s better than it has been in the past. Nobody´s drinking and it´s got a good feeling to it. It´s a long show, an hour and a half and we just go out there and do our thing and then we have dinner and go to bed. Kinda weird, but I like it a lot.
Did you all decide not to drink on this tour?
Brann: Yeah, this tour we decided that we´re gonna try it. Not that everyone is out of control. It can get out of control. Not in a terrible way, but people just don´t feel good. It makes everybody grumpy and we really wanna concentrate on our performance. As you get older, it´s harder to recuperate and play a show the next day when you´re not feeling good. This is nicer.
How are the French and the Norwegians doing on this tour?
Brann: Great! They´re thriving. The audiences love them and it´s the perfect package that people have been wanting for a while and we´re always trying to mix it up a bit, but this kinda like giving them what they want. Three cool bands and everybody´s just cool. We´ve known each other for years, so it´s not like anybody is a stranger.
It would be cool to see Mastodon working with any of those to bands? It could turn into something really cool, music wise?
Brann: It could, yeah! There´s definitely time for it during the day. We´ll see if something happens…
A bit about the new album, Once more ´round the sun”. Who´s “Aunt Lisa”? (A song title)
Brann: That´s my aunt. Aunt Lisa is wild! She´s a force to be reckoned with. When she walked into the room, all eyes were on her. She sucked up all the energy, which was good. It was like “The entertainment has arrived!” (laughs)
You worked with Mike Elizondo on “The hunter”. What made you decide to go with Nick Raskulinecz?
Brann: Well, he´s just the quintessential rock guy at the moment. We just wanted to try him out. We´ve known him for years and we´ve always talked about working together, but the planets have just never aligned. That´s kinda what we need, we just need alignment and it just kinda need to happen naturally and it happened. I think it turned out great!
Was there anything specific that he brought to you for the album? A work ethic?
Brann: Nah, he just really got great performances out of everybody, I think. He was fun to hang out with and make a record with. It was a good time. We did drum tracks in like four days and that was a blast. He´s a big fan of the band and he knew where to go. He´s a big fan of the “Blood mountain” era, so I think he was trying to concentrate on that. The songs are the songs and we had them pretty much fully realized before we went in, maybe 75% there. Not really lyrically though, that stuff came last.
You´ve talked about the possibility of an EP later this year. Is that still the plan?
Brann: Yeah, we´d love to do that, so that´s the plan! Hopefully we get some time off in August and a little bit of September. We´ll try to go into the studio and record just a little bit more. That´ll be cool too. There are a few songs that didn´t make the record, because the vibe is a little different. It´s a little more slower, a little more relaxed and they didn´t really fit with the energy of the other songs on the album.
I would say that some of the songs on the new album are a bit darker than the stuff on “The hunter”. Do you agree?
Brann: Yeah, they feel pretty dark to me. It´s kinda how they came out. It just felt that way.
You mentioned in an interview that you were going for a Phil Collins drum sound?
Brann: Yeah, on the last couple of records that´s what I´ve been looking for. Take the bottom heads off and get the cannons up there and see if we can get anywhere near the master´s drum sound.
What is it about his sound then?
Brann: It´s the toms! The presence and they sound so big and throaty. It´s very pleasing to me. A lot of the metal albums these days, the drums are sort of an afterthought. Like “Here´s what metal drums sound like!” and I really don´t wanna be lumped into that. I don´t mind being part of the metal scene, but I don´t wanna be part of the generic metal scene. I´m trying to do what I can do distance myself from that. I have the ability to say something and I have an idea and a vision of what I want the drums to sound like. I try to be on top of it as much as I possibly can be and I speak my mind when given the opportunity.
Are there any modern drummers you think are really good?
Brann: Oh yeah! Danny Carey (TOOL) and you´ve got Jon Theodore (ex Mars Volta, QOTSA) and Thomas Pridgen (ex Mars Volta). All those guys! I think those guys go for a pretty natural drum sound and they want their drums to have character. Coady Willis in Big Business is awesome and my friend Dave Witte in Municipal Waste is a great drummer. All my pals, all my buddies! (laughs)
Is there one album with Phil Collins where you feel he really nailed it?
Brann: “The lamb lies down on Broadway”. It´s a double album, it´s pretty long and there´s a lot of cool drumming on it. It´s really something.
There was never a thought of turning the new album into a double album, since you had so many songs?
Brann: No, I don´t think so. People get bored, man. They lose interest after 50 minutes and we put 55 on there. Once it gets past an hour, you forget what your listening to and you go “What band is this?” Somewhere around the hour mark is good. If you get up to 75 minutes, it´s a bit much. People start losing interest and it might hinder a particular song, like the song towards the end. It might be a great song, but it doesn´t get the attention it deserves because of the fact that the album is too long and there´s too much music on it. Especially with a band like us. There are some simple songs on the album, but there´s also some really technical ones and some weirdness going on. You just kinda look for the correct balance. Like what kind of record do we want to put out? We almost started thinking seasonal. It´s gonna come out in June, “Let´s give it to them, the heavy stuff!”. I think it balances, especially like “Aunt Lisa”, which sounds pretty whacky and “Sleep in the deep” has got that super dark mood going on and “Feast your eyes” has got a million riffs in it. I think there´s something for everybody.
The last song on the album, “Diamonds in the witch house”. Another one featuring Scott Kelly (Neurosis). Are you gonna turn him into a permanent member?
Brann: That´s our goal. We´re kinda working towards that. No, we just love Scott and he´s sort of a mentor and a pillar to look at. As a person and how he conducts himself and Neurosis in general, is a model for what we strive for. Obviously we are our own beast, but if it wasn´t for Nurosis, we wouldn´t be here. We try to include him on everything we do. We just leave it up to him and give him a bunch of songs and say “Does anything pop out to you?” and this time he just absolutely fell in love with “Diamonds in the witch house” and said he could kill it, so we just said “Have at it!”. I couldn´t be more happy with what he did. I get goose bumps every time I listen to it and that whole end section, I think, is his best thing.
Av: Niclas Müller-Hansen