Brann Dailor caught up with the Dallas Observer from the MASTODON tour bus before the band’s show The Palladium Ballroom recently and they spoke about MASTODON turning away from the concept albums of the past and how multi-band tours can be a ‘pain in the ass’. Check out an extract from that interview below:
Oftentimes, your music is described as sludge metal, but your newest effort,The Hunter, doesn’t fit that description. Do you agree?
Yes, there are all sorts of silly ways that people label bands. It’s often about each person’s musical vocabulary. Some people just throw labels out there so they can have something to write, so that they can try to explain what something sounds like. I don’t feel like the new album is that sludgy, but it might have a little of that in there. I try not to label it. I just play it. But I understand the need people have to label bands, to put it somewhere.
When The Hunter came out, it debuted at number ten on Billboard. Were you surprised?
Sure, I’m always surprised when somebody buys our records. You know what I mean? I was excited about it. Ten is a good number. It’s cool that people still buy records. Our fans are actually committed to buying the music. We are lucky in that regard. But we wanted to move away from making another concept record, so we tried to write the best collection of songs we could and just put them on one album. I guess fans like that idea.
Do you think by basing the album on the Melville novel, you guys are promoting literacy?
I guess. I never thought about it that way. From an artistic standpoint, we wanted to do a water- based record. The idea of basing it on Moby-Dick kind of jumped up and popped out at me.
Have you seen any of the film versions of Moby-Dick?
You can’t do a Moby-Dick movie. It just doesn’t work. There are too many side stories. Melville trails off a lot and gives the reader a lot of background and history in the book. This was extremely fascinating for me. The movies never do that. That’s where the movie versions fall short.
Why do metal bands love concept albums?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s folks like King Diamond and Iron Maiden. Those are two of my favorite bands. For me, it all started with those two and then I started getting into the progressive stuff, even Yes’ Close to the Edge.That style has always appealed to me, to my inner nerd.