Coming up in the murky, humid climate of the South, Atlanta-based metal band Mastodon create a heavy sound that swallow listeners whole using crushing drums, dual vocalists and thunderous guitar riffs. Mastodon's music is dense and filled with layers of jazz, death metal, hard rock, prog and experimental noise. The band has shoveled through six epic albums since forming 15 years ago, including the most recent record, from this year, Once More 'Round The Sun.
Guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher join bassist Troy Sanders and drummer Brann Dailor in Mastodon, to create sonic slabs of monstrous music that can educe trance like states of meditation, and simultaneous episodes of head banging. Mastodon has established itself as a pioneering force among metal today, and the band's sphere of influence can be clearly seen and heard, especially bands like Isis, Intronaut, Baroness, Kylessa and tons more.
The band is currently on a U.S. tour in support of the new album, and Dailor took time to speak with the Weekly about the new album, last month's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, playing the role of drummer and vocalist, as well as the current tour's opening bands, why he doesn't want to keep making a big issue about the music video for the song "The Motherload." We also talked about how the bands Today is the Day and Neurosis were crucial in shaping Mastodon from the early stages of the band. Be sure to catch Mastodon tonight at the Fox Theater in Pomona.
OC Weekly (Alex Distefano): Tell us about Mastodon's recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live last month (Sept. 15):
Brann Dailor: Well, It's always good to do that kind of stuff, we did have fun for the most part. It was very professional, it's great to do those types of appearances it brings new fans; it's brought attention to the band. We love those performances, that was fun there was a live audience there and we played six or seven other songs when the cameras shut off so it was a mini show. But personally that was not my best day of performing, because it was 104 degrees outside that day, which was very intense for all of use to get used to, and I was a bit zapped to pull it off. But, with that being said we did it, we persevered, had fun and pulled it off, it sounded professional.
On the new album, you guys had a guest appearance from members of the Atlanta punk band the Coat Hangers. Are there any other local bands from your area you support?
Well, have a ton of good friends in the area, like my wife's band Tiger! Tiger! I check them out when I am in town and I can, they are awesome. We also love The Black Lips, and Zoroaster, and tons of other bands, so many to mention. But the Coat Hangers are good friends of ours as well were happy to have them on our new album.
How have the two bands Today is the Day and Neurosis, influenced Mastodon?
I first heard Today is the Day in the '90s, and their stuff really stood out to me. And with Neurosis was a huge band for us all, they just made music that was sludgy and math rock early on but just always took things to a deeper level with the music. To us, Neurosis was a life-changing band for us unless you're dead inside. It's like a religious experience to see them live and we all felt the same about that band they are one of those bands that make you want to be a better band when they push and play they are reaching for another place and it makes us want to get there to that place too. It's crazy musical and also spiritual in a way. We still love Neurosis and Today is the Day.
What is the difference between being a drummer and vocalist, and being just a drummer?
For me nowadays onstage when I'm onstage playing only the drums, I breathe a sigh of relief. I think all of us in the band are reluctant singers. I do like singing, but we lost our singer early on in the band and we just all jumped in and sang parts. All of us we don't want to sing but we have to. I love the way it sounds on record and I always try to duplicate it live, we try to always be ready to hit those notes live since we committed to them on tape.
With the controversy over the female dancers in the video for the single 'The Motherload,' did you at the time, think there would be such a buzz or controversy surrounding it all?
No, not at all. We never thought people would ever trip out over it. I didn't see anything wrong with it at all. We don't see the whole sexist thing. the women don't seem oppressed at all and they were not, it was not done in a derogatory way or demeaning way at all. They had fun, and were in charge of their twerking destiny. If you're offended by this video, then don't go outside, don't turn on the television, don't watch YouTube. It's really not a big deal for us, and as a band, we don't want that entire stupid buzz after this; all those contests, we have nothing to do with them. We really want people to know, we're a lot more than that twerking video, it was just an idea was went with it was fun but yeah.
Catch Mastodon, with Gojira and Kverlertak tonight at The Fox Theater 301 S. Garey Ave, Pomona, 91766. 6:30 p.m. For full details click here.