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Interview: Mastodon’s Troy Sanders

Fresh off a Grammy nomination for best rock performance for their single “Curl of the Burl,” Mastodon singer and bassist Troy Sanders took time to answer a few questions. The band has reached the end of their American tour and after a month off will be jumping across the Atlantic to rock the bollocks off the Brits and Fins.

Mastodon tried some new things on their latest release “The Hunter.” The band steered off the path of a full concept album and hit the studio with a fresh producer. The album has pleasantly surprised all of their fans and has also received plenty of love from critics.

Mastodon is one of the great bands of our generation, they are full of creativity, and have what it takes to keep this wonderful streak of great music up for many years to come. One thing that can never permanently damage record sales is putting out great music and Mastodon is one of the few bands today that does that and keeps on doing it.

So you are playing at The Tabernacle in your hometown of Atlanta. All bands love playing in their hometown but I hear it can be quite stressful, is that the case for you?

Yeah it’s like a family and high school reunion happening at the same time. There are so many people there that it doesn’t give you much time to talk and catch up, it is ultimately a good thing but it can be overwhelming.

I would like to congratulate you on the Grammy Nomination, any thought or feelings?

Well when we got the call last night it was a big surprise, it’s just cool to know that we are known on such a huge platform like that.

I’m just glad you didn’t say “Well you know it is just an honor to be nominated.”

So you guys are getting ready to head to Europe, what are the some of the differences if any of touring there?

Well there isn’t that much difference the fans there are great and hungry for music. We have a great following in Europe a ton of people show up and drink a lot of beer, it’s great. The only big difference is that it is super cold in winter and that is the only time we can usually tour so we don’t compete with the festivals in the summer. So the only thing I am asking for Christmas is warm clothes. I’m gonna ask for some warm socks, thermals and like a proper fluffy coat.

Mastodon hit the studio with a new producer. What was it like recording with Mike Elizondo and what did he bring out of you in the studio?

Working with Mike was awesome he is very talented and well versed in all musical styles. When we were sending him demos back in March he embraced our hard rock side as much as our funky pshycadelic side just as much as our slower sweeter side and really understood everything we were doing. Ultimately he individually helped each one of us with our tones and made everyone happy on a personal level as well as getting across a collective sound. Looking back working with Mike on “The Hunter,” was probably the best decision we have made.

The first time I listened to “The Hunter” I couldn’t help but make the connection between it and the tone of “Dirt” from Alice in Chains. I know you toured with them last year; did you take any influence from them?

Yeah, we supported them last year on tour and they were coming off losing their singer and it was really inspiring to see them take the stage every night and kill it. They were sort of celebrating in a really triumphant way. So we were really inspired and most of the riffs came from us playing in our little back stage area while on tour with Alice in Chains. So I was actually a very direct correlations and I see how some of the sounds and tones made the connection with an album like “Dirt.”

For more information on Mastodon and to check out upcoming tour dates go to http://www.mastodonrocks.com/.