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Mastodon Have Considered Writing An EP With Neurosis’ Scott Kelly, Discuss Upcoming ‘Bill & Ted’ Track


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Mastodon drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor and guitarist Bill Kelliher have taken part in a lengthy retrospective on their 20-year career for Rocksound.tv. Among the nostalgia and discussion of uncertainty for the future amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the pair did share some interesting tidbits. For one, their newly released track “Fallen Torches” (stream it here) was originally intended to be part of an EP with NeurosisScott Kelly.

Kelly of course guested on that track and has been a frequent collaborator, appearing on nearly every major Mastodon release. Kelliher said of that and the track itself:

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“We had written that over a year ago, when we’d been in between doing European tours with Scott Kelly. We’d been thinking about writing a full EP or something with him, a bunch of songs. When we’d done the first European tour with him, there was a lot of sitting around backstage and playing on acoustics, throwing ideas around.

The record hasn’t happened yet, but we did have Scott come back to do rehearsals with us, and Brann and I put together ‘Fallen Torches’ and played it to him. We wanted him to sing on it, like, ‘Just pick a place and give it your best’, you know? The idea, in a perfect world, was to release it in December of 2018, and play it as part of the part of our set with Scott.

But it didn’t quite happen, it didn’t quite come out for whatever reason. We just dropped the ball I guess, I don’t know. I was ready to leak it, just put the song out on the internet and be able to play it live. But we waited and waited. With ‘Medium Rarities’, it just seemed fitting to put it out as the first song, give people an incentive.”

The duo also discussed their new track “Rufus Lives“, which they penned for the upcoming film ‘Bill & Ted Face The Music‘. That song will see an official release this Friday, August 28th, as part of the film’s official soundtrack. The film itself will also be released on that day as well. Speaking of that song, they offered:

Brann Dailor: “The song was something that was sort of in the works, you know? It was pretty recent, maybe six months ago. I was going over to Bill’s, and I’d had probably more than a pot of coffee already, and was just amped up, ready to rock!

He started playing guitar, we put this thing together, it wasn’t even 10 o clock in the morning and we already had this fast, crazy thing going on. It just sounded cool. That was the beginning of it. From there we wrote the song pretty quickly, and then when Bill & Ted came around, they wanted something very specific for a specific scene in the movie.

They sent us the scene, and it needed to be like party rock ‘n’ roll. We sent them a couple things, but they were a little doomy. It’s hard for us not to be doomy, you know? They were like, ‘It needed to be at a party, not a funeral!’ And we were like, ‘Okay, we’re sorry!’

The notes that we all gravitate towards are all minor, spooky notes, Black Sabbath. That’s where we live, spooky! But I think we were able to maintain our aesthetic and our musical personalities, and give a party rockin’ song. It’s basically like, ‘You’re at a party, you’re in the woods, everybody is having fun, what’s on the stereo?’

That’s the song we needed to write, and what we tried to do. Then we took the situation that Bill & Ted were in, and we applied it to the lyrical content. So I’m singing in it, and Troy’s singing.”

Bill Kelliher: “When I was a teenager I liked Bill & Ted and thought it was cool, though that was like 35 years ago! We got an email from someone there who must be a fan, like the music director, and they wanted us to write a song for it.

We had like, 25 songs written for the new record, so could probably find one that would fit along with their soundtrack. There was one we’d written the week before that was heavy hitting, one of the better songs that was gonna go on our record. It’ll be out in a couple weeks, and it’ll be cool to be tied to that.

I enjoy writing songs that are going to be in movies. If I ever get to go to the movies again, seeing it on the big screen and hearing it full surround sound stereo, it’s awesome: like, ‘I wrote that riff!’”

As for the band’s progress on their eighth studio album, Kelliher shared:

“We have been working on a brand new record since October really. So we’re getting ready to record that soon, but it won’t be out until next year some time. You’ve got to stay sort of active and keep putting out music. Times are changing. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to tour next year, so is it worth it putting a record out, does it make sense?

I always want to put music out, but is it one of those things where you put a record out, it goes straight to Spotify and because there’s no money being made off of it, you can’t survive? If you can’t tour and go out and sell merchandise, those things go hand in hand. It’s like a free giveaway, really.”

When asked how it sounds, he responded:

“It’s hard to pinpoint, because every day that we write something, it’s the opposite of the song the previous day! And that’s kind of how we like it. There are so many variations of Mastodon within every record. There’s a lot of complex stuff going on in the new record, I know that. A lot of good riffage as usual, and I’m not going to say it’s like ‘Emperor Of Sand’ part two, but there are some similar sounds on there.

It’s all over the place, so you’ll have to see. We have like 20, 25 song ideas, and obviously they’re not all going to go on there, it depends on which ones do. I think we want to put different sounding songs next to each other, rather than everything sounding the same.”

You can find a whole lot more from the band on their career, their current outlook and their upcoming rarities compilation, “Medium Rarities“, at Rocksound.tv. “Medium Rarities” will be out on September 11th via Reprise Records.

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