MASTODON Drummer Talks Band’s 12th Anniversary, Collaboration With FEIST

Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden’s Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with drummer Brann Dailor of Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metalshrine: Since it was the 12-year anniversary of when you got together as a band for the first time, what do you remember from that day?

Brann: When we actually got together and started making some noise the four of us, I remember being pretty excited. We started learning each other’s songs and stuff like that and I was really excited to have… for Bill and myself, to have found Troy and Brent, so it came together like this weird package deal almost. There wasn’t really any question about it. It was really sort of like, “Ok, yeah cool! This is our band! What are we gonna call our band? MASTODON! OK, cool, done!” You know what I mean? It came together so fast and I moved to Atlanta on January 1 in 2000 and not even two weeks later, boom, I met these guys and we were off and running! We had a bunch of songs to kinda learn and work through, but we started booking a tour immediately and figuring out when we could go into the studio and record. It was really weird. I remember Bill and myself, especially, being super-motivated to wanna get back to touring because we’d just kinda been doing that for the last two years with TODAY IS THE DAY, so we knew that we could at least get to that level, back to that spot and use whatever contacts we had to do so. Relapse Records and things of that nature, so we told Relapse “Hey, we’re gonna go start something new!” and we stayed at Matt Jacobsen‘s house on the way down to Atlanta, so there you have it! We were excited to meet each other and all of our personalities and senses of humor clicked right off, so it was very easy.

Metalshrine: Were there other names than MASTODON floating around?

Brann: Nah, that was the only one! That’s what you do when you… especially when you move to a new city you put an ad in the paper and put up notices, “Hey, drummer and guitar player looking for a band!”. We didn’t have to do anything of that, it just kinda worked out.

Metalshrine: I saw some pictures of you being in the studio recording with acoustics and I gather it’s for the Record Store Day thing with Feist? Was that the only song you did?

Brann: (laughs) No, we did another song.

Metalshrine: Cool! And that’s gonna be a split 7″ where they do a MASTODON song and you do one of hers, right? Which one is it?

Brann: “A Commotion”! Have you heard it?

Metalshrine: I think so. The only stuff I’ve heard is the latest album, “Metals”.

Brann: It’s off of that! We made it super heavy and it sounds really cool.

Metalshrine: You met at some TV show, right?

Brann: Yeah, Jools Holland! We did that with them and I don’t know, right after we got off stage we went backstage and and we were in the hallway with her and she was talking to Brent. They were involved in a conversation and were just like, “Yeah, let’s do that! We should do it for Record Store Day!” Something out of left field and something we’d like to be involved with more of. It’s fun for us. I mean, most times we end up doing covers of bands that are already sort of heavy or that is already in that vein, like the MELVINS, THIN LIZZY, METALLICA, you know what I mean? What are you gonna do to those songs to make them your own? It’s kinda difficult and especially with stuff like METALLICA or the MELVINS where we’re so kinda familiar and in love with the versions that METALLICA and the MELVINS and THIN LIZZY have created, you wanna make it sound like theirs because that’s what you’re so used to hearing. You don’t really wanna mess with it. With Feist it’s something that we could really play with and do something different with.

Metalshrine: Could you see yourselves do more of that kinda stuff?

Brann: If there’s time, you know. Sure. We’d like to, but MASTODON is all-encompassing enough as it is, for me anyway. When I get home I just wanna dig in and be home. I don’t wanna go and record in L.A. We’re not home for that long. Even this time, when we got home after the ALICE IN CHAINS/DEFTONES tour in the States, we were like, “Yeah, we’re taking a big long break!” and then a month later we were writing again and almost to go back into the studio and it was like, “Oh no, it’s happening! I can’t stop it!” Then here we were in the studio and here we were for summer festivals and then the record was finished and it was time to go back out on tour again. But, if there’s a time to do it, I guess it’s now.

Read the entire interview from Metalshrine.