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Mastodon - Talking with Brent the Pirate
Almost half a year ago (early 2005), when it was still Winter, Carn and Demondust went to see Mastodon play in the Melkweg in Amsterdam. If Carn's memories are correct, there was still snow on the ground. Somehow this interview got stuck on the bottom pile of "stuff to do for Metalrage". So without further adieu, here is our little chat with Brent the pirate!




So you actually learned a 1000 chords from a book while writing for Leviathan?
No, I have a book with 1000 chords in it. I think I only learned like 50 or something!

Mastodon toured with Slayer, do you think that the Slayer audience appreciated Mastodon?

It was really suprising how well received we were. Not one thing was thrown at us, no bottles and no rotten tomatoes. We did almost 90 shows, out of those I only got flipped off like 4 times, so that was good. I can even tell you when, where and how. Its always an older guy with a mustache who is totally there for Slayer. Opening up for Slayer is one of the hardest jobs for any band. I can tell you that we were better received than Killswitch Engage. They had a few rough shows. But with Slipknot, it worked out pretty good in Europe with us, Slayer and Slipknot. In the end, if people leave as a Mastodon fan, its just amazing. We had a good time. I cant say that I made real friends with guys like Kerry King and Dave Lombardo, but its cool that I sort of know them.

Will this be the last small club tour for Mastodon?

I dont think so. We'll try to keep it to the clubs and even smaller venues. There is no reason to stop playing small venues even if your band gets big.

Yeah but you'll have to fit the crowd into the room..

I always loved the intimacy of a small room, so we're not considering to stop playing small venues. The bigger venues are more nervewrecking, you can get lost in there. We once got lost in one of those places, it was like total Spinal Tap; "Where is the stage?". We're going to try to keep it small.

If Mastodon will sell way more records and get very popular, are you planning to stay with Relapse? Maybe someone makes a great offer but you would have to play huger venues?

Actually we're talking with some major labels at the moment. Last night I hung out with people from Interscope and Gwen Stefani..

How was she like?

She was really cool! I actually have a picture somewhere -grabs digital camera- She was very cool and super nice. I just got off the phone with my manager and we are going through this sort off bidding war between Interscope and Warner Bros. etc. Its just that trying to cut our ties from Relapse isn't going to be the easiest thing in the world.

How many albums do you still have to release on Relapse?

We have to make one more album. We're not sure how its going to work out, the album might get out on Relapse, or on a major label. Maybe it will get out on both Relapse and on a major label..

Like Audioslave did?

Exactly.

Have you start writing on new material?

I never stop writing music. Even when Leviathan was done I was writing music. I never stop writing..sometimes I get wasted and get an awesome idea and will record that on a dictaphone or something.


But how do you guys write music, since Mastodon has some quite complex songs?

Ideas put together, jamsessions, individual writing..writing together, putting everything on the table and trying to mix up stuff. As far as the time signatures, thats more Brann's (Dailor, drums) kind of thing.

I noticed that the songs on Leviathan are longer and more "rock" orientated compared to Remission and Lifesblood.

Well, we always try to take each song and nurture it; basically trying to do the best for each song. It's like a puzzle that you try to re-arrange until it is right. You "know" when a song is done. Most stuff I write is written on acoustic guitar. There are quite some "clean" acoustic guitar parts on our album and I write most of them just sitting down, playing and smoking some stuff. My girlfriend would be painting in some other room and I'll be playing some guitar.

How are you going to combine Starwars with Mastodon?

No!

So what is the subject going to be for the next album?

We still havent decided. I would personally like it to be about "Nothing".

How would you write about nothing?

Maybe no lyrics..but thats not going to happen. We're thinking about the Chinese newyears, and how vast the universe is and stuff but that has been done so many times. We're thinking about going from the ocean to the sky.

Is it easier to build lyrics around a concept?

Yeah you have an idea what the lyrics need to be about. I havent written anything yet so I`m not sure what is going to happen.

Do you think there will be a stream of Mastodon-like bands?

I think there already is a Mastodon-sounding music. The new High on Fire definitly has some Mastodon in it..Me and Matt are good friends and oftenly jam together. We both admire eachother so its enevitable that things like that happen. There are bands out there who are taking our flavour and its very flattering. I do the same things and I`m not afraid to show it...

Actually, the intro for Hearts Alive reminded me alot of Metallica's Call of Ktulu..

Yeah that was a tip of the hat to them. It was totally intentional.

Why did you choose to cover Emerald from Thin Lizzy?

I think its just the simple type of the song, and its one of the heavier Thin Lizzy songs, so I wanted to put some more distortion behind it. She (points to girlfriend) is the biggest Thin Lizzy songs and I also did it for her..she has been a major influence on me.

If there was a battle between the Loch Ness monster, Moby Dick, a Mastodon or Darth Vader..who would win?

Thats a silly question..you think Darth Vader would win?

Yeah ofcourse..he can choke them and stuff!

Maybe, but can Darth Vader swim?

I think he does!

I think he can't..I dont think he has ever been swimming before. But I honestly think that the Loch Ness monster would win..faster, bigger..it will sneak up right behind you.

What is the best way to grow a long beard?

Dont shave. I dont shave because I`m to lazy. I don't like to shave, so hence the beard. When it gets long I get some scissors and just cut it a bit.

Ben from Dillinger considered Mastodon to be pirate metal..

Well I got this tattoo and I always make these funny -har har- noises with it..sometimes after a show we'll get some mushrooms or something and get on the "boat". We always say boat instead of bus. We would get on an go like "Harr..get through with the chicken!".."Swab the deck!"

Are you guys going to the party afterwards? I've heard we have to buy you guys some beer..

Totally, I`m always in for that. I love Amsterdam..you can just get anything. I also love the design.

In my opinion American cities often look alike..

Very true..they might have a different skyline but when you're there they all look the same.

Do you play with some of your other bands when you're home?

I think I might have jammed bit, but I was mainly busy with building my house and working on my truck.

You didnt play with Social Infestation?

Nah, they've broken up for years and the other guys are in a new band called Withered and they're really good. Thats Mike and Chris from Social Infestation and a guy named Greg who plays leads now. They're doing really good. We're going to take them on tour with us as soon as possible.

After this question the topic somehow ended up about wearing stuff you found on the ground..Mastodon played a great show, and we think its unnecessary to say that a good amount of beer got consumed afterwards. Thanks to Yvonne (Relapse) and Mastodon for the great night!
Details Written on 2005-01-01
Writer @Carn

Tags: #Mastodon
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