SW14: Mastodon

Killyourstereo.com was present at Soundwave in Sydney over the weekend. Over the day we were lucky enough to have chats with Adam and Hunter from AFI as well as Brann from metallers Mastodon. Check out our interview with Brann below, as we talk about the festival, live albums and Mastodon’s yet-to-be-announced new LP.

How’s your time been so far? How was Brisbane yesterday?

Excellent, I thought it was really good. It was our first show in six months, we’ve been writing and recording and all that stuff. We’d rehearsed and everything, but there’s nothing like the real thing to let you know where you’re at physically.

Are you playing any of the new songs on this tour?

No, we’re not playing any new stuff. We’re playing some older stuff, though. Some stuff off ‘Remission’. Songs we haven’t played in over ten years.

The ‘Live at Brixton’ album came out a couple months ago, that’s now two live albums you guys have. Do you like live albums? Is it cool to try and capture that live atmosphere?

I think it’s cool. I’m a big fan of concert videos and live albums. They’re usually kind of a ‘best-of’, without being a best-of, so I like that aspect.

I think that’s what I liked about ‘Live at Brixton’, there’s something like 26 songs on it.

Yeah, it’s a ridiculous setlist. I was like, “We’re playing more songs than we’ve ever played in a set before, so we should try and document this somehow”, and we did, and I think it came out pretty good.

Do you personally see Mastodon as more of a studio kind of band or are you more in your element live?

We’re definitely a live band much more than we are a studio band. We’re in the studio once every two years, you know, and then it’s something like 200 shows a year once the record’s out. So, we just do that a lot more.

You’ve got some sideshows coming up with Baroness and Gojira this week, are you stoked about those?

Yeah, absolutely. We get to play longer, and Baroness and Gojira get to play longer, who are two of my favourite bands.

Have you had a chance to check out any of the other bands playing the festival?

I just went and saw Stiff Little Fingers. That was awesome, they’re great. I saw the first song of Uncle Acid, but then I had to leave and come over here to do press.


(laughs) Hopefully I’ll see them over the next couple days.

Where are you guys at with the new album? It’s pretty much done, right?

Yeah, it’s pretty much done. It’s getting mixed at the moment.

How was recording the album?

It was great. I went up there and knocked out 15 songs in four days on drums and then those guys came up and started throwing down guitars and gettin’ weird. It sounds incredible. There’s some epics on there and there’s some rockers. There’s a little bit of everything I think. I can kind of see a version of ourselves from years ago and we’re going into new territory as well, which is usually what we do.

Yeah, sure. I think one of the things I’ve always liked about Mastodon is that with each album you sort of take something from the past and add to it.

Yeah, we kind of learn something from each record. We learn what we like, you know? “I like that aspect, let’s do that more”.

It’s your second time doing Soundwave, you did it back in 2012. Tell us about your thoughts.

I love it. You want to know why I love it? Because it’s nice here, and the weather’s nice.

It’s freezing in the US, right?

Super freezing. We’ve had some like, Arctic weather, it’s been horrible. I mean, not horrible, but you can’t really go outside or do anything, and if you have to go outside and do stuff and drive around, it’s awful. It’s so cold. So this is a nice break from that. Being outside in short sleeve shirts.

Yeah! I was talking to the guys from AFI before and they were saying they were literally holed up for a couple weeks.

Right, you can’t do anything. I’ve had some family stuff to deal with up in Rochester, New York, and there’s a ridiculous amount of snow. Below zero farenheit, which is really cold, and the wind is just ridiculous. So yeah, this is awesome, I knew you guys were at the end of your Summer, and it’s just going to be perfect.

So there’s that. And all our friends’ bands are here, which is awesome. When you tour constantly, you’re on tour with bands for a couple months and you make really close friends and then you don’t get to see them for a year or two. So you get to see everybody here in one place.

When ‘Crack the Skye’ came out, you toured for a while where you’d play pretty much the album from start to finish. Have you ever thought about doing that for another album when it comes out?

Maybe. We’ll decide with this one when we get closer to releasing it. It made sense with ‘Crack the Skye’, it seemed like it was that kind of album. This new record’s somewhere in between say, ‘Crack the Skye’ and ‘The Hunter’. It’s kind of up and down and not as flowing as ‘Crack the Skye’, and then there’s some stuff that sounds like it could have been off ‘Remission’, so it’s kind of all over the place. Although, we haven’t really laid it out yet, the way it’s going to go. I think there’s sections off it that could be played back-to-back, but we’ll see. We obviously could play every song in succession but I don’t know that it’d make sense. I kind of like building a set, like with Brixton. That’s my preferred sort of thing.

The ‘Crack the Skye’ thing was really cool, but with a regular set I like to just bounce around. I like the anticipation in the audience, being a fan of music obviously, going to see a rock show and not knowing what song is going to come next, and when that song starts to play it’s like “Aaah! I love this song!”, I like that better I think. I love when bands do full albums but I don’t know, it seems like more of a novelty sometimes to go and do that.

How have you been going about putting the sets together for this tour?

We really didn’t have that much time to think about it. We’re still sort of in ‘The Hunter’ era, but we didn’t want to rely too much on that. We also put in some songs off ‘Remission’, a couple songs we haven’t played in a long time. We just try to be as balanced as possible, but we also play what we want to play.

Thanks for taking the time to talk, Brann.

Mastodon play the Palace Theatre in Melbourne tonight with Baroness and Gojira, tickets are available
here. You can catch the band on the remainder of the Soundwave 2014 dates in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Leave a Reply

You must be registered and logged in to comment on this post.