MASTODON‘s Brann Dailor spoke to Alt Press recently about the band’s new album, The Hunter – they touched upon the augmented reality feature included with the album, the artwork, how the recording process went and much more. See below for some extracts from that interview:
How did the “Enhanced Reality” component of the album come about?
We were just trying to think of something cool to do for the special packages. And we weren’t sure if we should give something tangible that could sit on a shelf or do something different. We decided to be a guinea pig for this new technology. I [tried] it as soon as I got a copy of the CD, and had fire shooting out of my nose and smoke coming out of my ears.
The album has your first artwork without Paul Romano.
We felt like [Romano] was almost another member of the band. As much as we love Paul and wanted to do another album [with him]—and I’d imagine we’ll do another [together] in the future — [we felt it was important for us] to change everything. But we decided to go with a new artist, and that was AJ [Fosik].
Was the band involved in creating the minotaur sculpture that’s the central image?
We were going to maybe use something that was already there, that was already built. But he wanted to use something that was brand-new. It only took him a few weeks after we got the sketches of the triple-jawed minotaur head. That was his idea.
Does someone from the band have the sculpture?
We’ll eventually have it, but right now it’s at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City, being shown with a number of other pieces he worked up for the show.
On The Hunter, you don’t use one narrative concept. As a writer, was that freeing for you?
Yeah. It opened up the floodgates with a lot of subject matter I wanted to tackle and didn’t see any way to shoehorn [into full-length] concepts. There’s subject matter we’re all into that we couldn’t discuss on concept albums.
Did the band feel the same way?
There were a lot of stressful things happening in band members’ lives outside the practice space. And usually, we create a very stressful environment to make music in. We’re in there all day long, and it’s up and down. And one day, we walk out of there, and we say, “We had a breakthrough — awesome!” And the next day, you’re trying to shoehorn these mathematical-equation riffs into these spaces and make it all work and jibe with the concept, and it’s really intense.
But we couldn’t make the practice space be that intense, because there was way too much going on outside. So when we started writing, we were really okay with a simpler version of ourselves. Like, in the past, maybe we’d take a riff in “Curl Of The Burl” and say, “Aw, it’s way too simple—we need to throw another time signature in there and mess that up and complicate it.” But this time, we were fine with the simplicity of it. “Is that song finished?” “Yup, it’s finished.” “Okay, time to move on.”
Read the full interview on Alt Press by clicking this link.