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Mastodon’s Brann Dailor Talks New Album Progress, 2013 Mayhem Festival + More

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Mastodon have been quiet for most of 2013, but there’s a good reason for that. The band has been working behind the scenes on music for their next album. While the group is still promoting ‘The Hunter’ during their Mayhem Festival run this summer, things are slowly starting to come together for their next release.

Loudwire spoke with drummer Brann Dailor at the 2013 Mayhem Festival kickoff in San Bernardino, Calif., and he gave us an update on how their new material is coming along. Dailor also spoke about their bare bones music-centric performances for this year’s Mayhem Fest and what it was like having one of their songs turn up in the new ‘Monsters University’ film. Read our interview with Dailor below.

You’ve been touring ‘The Hunter,’ but working on a new album. How far along are you guys on the new disc?

We’re doing demos and stuff. Putting things together, baby stars. Little nebulas. I feel the pillars are in place. The foliage is starting to come up and grow around the pillars, fill those pillars out with ivy, kudzu and different flowers and all sorts of strange plants. Prehistoric plants. That’s good. It’s green and brown. Starting to get good, I think.

Granted, this was way back in December when I saw this quote but I think Brent [Hinds] had mentioned it was sounding Radiohead-ish or maybe a little spooky? Have you taken it further in that direction or leaving it open to interpretation?

It’s all over the place. There’s some heavy hitters and there’s some — we just really love to be surprised ourselves. If we’re surprised then we know you’ll be surprised. We just look around for that. Almost like wandering through the woods looking for I don’t know, looking for something. I don’t know what it is but you see it and go, ‘OK cool.’ So, we don’t really have too much control over what it sounds like. We want to, we try to control it but it governs itself at some point as it starts to take shape, almost as if something else is forcing it, make it. I like that.

As you continuing to tour on the last album while you’re putting this new stuff together, does it give you more energy going into this process?

Well, I like it because it brings us together as friends. Being on tour together and hanging out with each other. I’ll be home for 6 months and only see the guys down at the practice space for a few hours. Then everyone goes to their houses and does their thing. It’s important for us to have that camaraderie and togetherness as the four things that are Mastodon. I look forward to getting out here and reconnecting with my bandmates. It’ll make our connect-ness stronger and when we go in to perfect all the stuff we’d been working on it’ll be easier. We’ve been fresh with each other. We have that re-established connection.

You’re on main stage of Mayhem this summer with Rob Zombie, FFDP. What’s your take on this year’s lineup? Big fans of any of the bands who are playing?

Yeah. We have a lot of friends out here. A lot of close friends.

Can you talk a little bit about the stage production for your Mayhem set?

I feel a little naked because all these bands have all this crazy s–t onstage and we don’t really have anything other than our backdrop and our gear. We have a backdrop, it just doesn’t blow up. Nothing comes out and tries to scare you. I think all that stuff is really cool, [but] we’ve been bare bones when it comes to that kind of stuff. We had a video screen before, but this wouldn’t work on something like this. We go on at 7:15; it’s still too light to do anything like that. We’re just going to go out and play our songs and I hope that’s enough. Try to make people smile. Make them dance a little bit. Hold hands with the person next to them.

After the tour, what’s coming up? Anything major?

Nope. Just doing the tour, it goes to Aug.15 or so, as far as our obligations are concerned. We have a few things after that, which will get us into August territory. Then we’ll go home and take a few weeks to re-connect with our loved ones and dig into the new album. That’s the thing I’m most excited about. To make sure the new album is ready.

One more thing — you have a song in the new movie ‘Monsters University’ …

Oh yeah, that’s a good gag. You see it? It’s just a couple of seconds but I was like, “Ah! That’s funny!” It works though. It’s always strange when you get calls like that. Pixar called and they wanted to use the song in the movie or whatever. It seemed like it was going to be funny — a good moment.

Next: See Photos From 2013's Mayhem Festival Kickoff

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