Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher: “I think us screaming and yelling is kind of a thing of the past”

Posted by on April 25, 2014

bill kelliher

Mastodon have finally given us a new track off the new album Once More Around The Sun, and we’re pretty damn excited. Fans may have noticed that “High Road” doesn’t have much in the way of screaming like the band’s previous albums. In an Loudwire interview with guitarist Bill Kelliher, he talks about the band’s approach vocally for the new album:

“The vocals are extremely heavy on this record, there are some songs where it’s singing all the way through, but that’s just the natural progression of us. We’re trying to get a little better at singing and coming up with melody. But it’s got really heavy riffs and really beautiful leads, vocals and all that stuff. It’s all in there.

Lately I’ve noticed we’ve been doing lots of warm-ups, listening to vocal takes, taking voice lessons: stuff you need to do to keep your voice in shape. I would never have thought 10 years ago what we’d be doing in 2014. Now we’re taking voice lessons and warming up our vocals cords before a show. Just getting all professional, you know what I mean?

I think us screaming and yelling is kind of a thing of the past. But also, our music back then lends itself to more of that style of screaming because the music was really in that direction. We just kind of wrote in any old fashion, just kind of let it fly, let the shit fly.

We didn’t really know how to write songs, we just kind of threw riffs together and screamed over it and people liked it. I guess we just kind of matured and maybe we lost some fans who liked that about us, but we can’t continue to write like that on purpose. Every record to me is a snapshot of the frame of mind our band was in, who we were as people when we wrote those riffs.

I think it gets harder and harder as you get older to keep screaming and screaming and screaming about shit, you know? I think the songs we write are getting a little more rock, a little bit of rock going on and little more thought behind the groove. We’re constantly evolving and are more about the groove and feel rather than just playing as fast as we can or sounding as complicated as possible.”

This information will likely not please those who want less clean and more scream in their metal, but we’ll be damned if the new Mastodon album isn’t awesome anyway. Also, another interesting tidbit from the interview is that we can not only expect a new single before the band heads out on tour, but we’ll hear the songs live:

Yeah, the two singles. ‘High Road’ and ‘Chimes at Midnight’ are two songs were getting ready to start practicing them and get them ready. Those two singles will be out while we’re on the road and we might as well play them. We’ve also been practicing some old songs we haven’t played in years too. So we’re trying to give the audience kind of a new set, new show instead of the same old fucking songs every night. Gotta mix it up.

So more songs from Remission and Leviathan? Yes please.

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Categorised in: Mastodon Insider, News

  • 6810

    Thank god, there’s only so long you can stay a teenager mentally…

  • pheet007

    It’s a natural progression for bands and songwriters to develop and increase the use of melody because it adds a richness to a song and helps it breathe. “The Hunter” is the best Mastodon album precisely because they have vastly improved their songwriting craft. Yes, elements of earlier albums were there, but we saw the change coming in bits and pieces, “Crack The Skye” being the conduit between the early noisy prog riffing and screaming and the more streamlined “The Hunter”. And while “The Hunter” is criticized by some intolerant yutzes who think once you make an album every one has to be exactly the same so you can complain about it later, the fans who truly appreciate the band recognized the album for the legend it is, and like myself can’t wait for “Once More Around The Sun”. It will not be a “Black Album” or some similar pussing out. You won’t hear Mastodon at every NFL football game, where farts who still think Bon Jovi is metal think they’re still tuff because they like “Enter Sandman”.
    Mastodon are too smart for that. And if “Curl of the Burl” isn’t heavy enough for you, then what the fuck is?