Mastodon Interview
This interview was made in Nantes the 3rd of march 2005.
Alexis has met The drummer Brann Dailor.

First, an original question, can you introduce the band for those who don't know you?
The band is called Mastodon. We formed in 2000 in Atlanta Georgia, Bill the guitar player and I have been playing together for 12 years and the same for Troy and Brad they've been playing too for 12 years The two halves came together and made music together and we toured and toured and toured and here we are 5 years later.

How do you compose in Mastodon? Drums are very important as well as other instruments. Do you compose all together?
Yeah we do definitely, we get together in the practice space throw ideas at each other and build the songs. Sometimes someone has a song fully written and we chip in and arrange the song together, and the song becomes what it is.

Why have you chosen the name Mastodon? And the title of the new album is Leviathan? which is a symbol in Moby Dick.
The name of the band came from the big hairy elephants not the Mammoth, we looked it up and it was the Mastodon a big giant woolly elephant. We called Scott Kelly from Neurosis the night that we came up with the name if he thought it was cool and he said 'yeah'. So we had the Neurosis stamp of approval and we went for it. For "Leviathan", I was reading Moby Dick and thought it was cool. "Leviathan" is in the book every few sentences, it is refers to the sperm whales.

Who made the art cover?
A guy named Paul Romano from Philadelphia, a good friend of ours, he totally understands what we want to achieve vision-wise and he can paint it. He's awesome.

In your music we can hear pirate and sailor influences where do they come from?
We are influenced by lots of different things, kinds of music, life experiences. Our common ground musically is Neurosis and Melvins and Thin Lizzy, but there's lots of stuff, old thrash, 70 prog rock, King Crimson, everyone listens to White Riot and we draw from all that. If it sounds cool we go with it.

Your last tour in France was in Bercy with Slayer. It must have been a great experience to play in the biggest hall with one of the best metal bands. Do you have any thing special to say about this show?
It is probably one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. Just to walk out there and hear the roar of 18,000 is mind-blowing I think my balls went up into my stomach. I was like "holy shit" we started with Iron Tusk, I was looking at my sticks shaking, I was really nervous, that was a lot of people. I was like wow it was so cool. It was funny cause Corey form Slipknot was there backstage, and he said 'fuck I'm so nervous' and I said 'why? You do this all the time right?' He said 'it don't matter 20,000 people is 20,000 people', well that made me more nervous. It was a cool experience great show, it was awesome.

For you what is the difference between the French and the American audiences?
I don't know, I have never played a show that big in the US, there's not that big of a difference. Geographically audiences, its not really between countries but more between cities, cause you can go in the smallest town and everyone is there cause the don't get concerts often. Not like London cause they get concerts all the time but they still always go nuts. But you can play a small city like Chico California and people freak out! Paris freaked out last time, it was a massive show, there's not really a big difference.

What do u think is the most important difference between "Leviathan" and "Remission"? "Leviathan" is globally less brutal than "Remission" there are more calm periods and you have softened your playing, did it come naturally or intentionally?
It was natural, there was not much discussion of what we're gonna do, we come up with songs and riffs and we just play it and if it sounds cool we go for it. I'd say the biggest difference between the 2 records is in the vocals. We made an effort to do something different Troy and Brad went in and tried to spice things a bit and do something different.

What are your plans for the future?
Well, I'm looking forward to going home for a week, see my wife cause we haven't talked in like 2 weeks, I email her but its not enough. And my birthday is coming up so she's planning a surprise for me. Then we go on tour in the States for 2 months and come back here and tour with Iron Maiden and do the fests, we're doing Furyfest with Neurosis. Cool that's great that makes me very excited to hang out with those guys. Then we're doing Ozzfest. Then after that we'll probably write a new record and take a breather, go on vacation, sit at home watch tv, veg out for at least a month cause we've been hitting it pretty hard for a couple of years, since "Leviathan" came out even from before "Leviathan" we've been on tour the entire time, we haven't had a break at all. We need time to be human, sit around not play a show. I love playing shows but I need a break.

Are there any CDs or bands you are particularly fond of at this moment?
Yeah ummm, there's Planes Mistaken for Stars. They're on tour with Converge at the moment, I love them. That's my favourite new band.

Yeah I will see them with Converge.

Yeah tell'em I love them, tell Converge I love them too. (Laugh)
Are you interviewing them?

No, I don't think so.
You should interview Planes Mistaken for Stars they're a great band.
Tell them I said so. (Laugh)

Interview Alexis
Translation Kostas

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999