Mastodon Drummer Brann Dailor Talks ‘The Hunter’ + Touring With Opeth and Ghost
Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Dailor talked all about his thoughts on the band’s latest album ‘The Hunter,’ as well as being on the road with Opeth and Ghost. If you missed Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Brann Dailor of Mastodon below:
What has it been like to be out with Opeth and Ghost?
Ghost is incredible and so is Opeth, it’s been a lot of fun and everybody’s friends so we hang out.
Mikael [Akerfeldt] from Opeth is rumored to be one of the members of Ghost and you’re obviously on this tour; are you sworn to secrecy about all their identities?
I haven’t met anyone from Ghost yet, so I don’t really know who they are. They sort of appear onstage and then after the show they just disappear but the people that put their equipment together and stuff those people are nice.
They just magically show up on the stage?
Wow, I’m going to have to see for myself. ‘The Hunter’ -- the record hit number 10 on Billboard, you earned a Grammy nomination for ‘Curl of the Burl’ and it was named album of the year by several prestigious music magazines, so the bar is set pretty high. What’s next?
I have no idea [laughs], that’s the last thing on my mind at the moment. We have so much touring in front of us so at this stage it’s more about perfecting the live show and then thinking about what to do next. As far as our live we still have two and a half weeks left of this tour and then we leave immediately for Europe we’re there for six weeks and then after that I’m only thinking about getting home hanging out at my house.
After you're don,e you’ll take a break, regroup and then figure out what’s next.
Yeah, I think it’s important to let time pass and let yourself be influenced by what’s happening in your life and not try to push anything and that’s what we’ve always done and that’s what we will continue to do because I think that the album should be a perfect snapshot of what you’ve gone through those couple years that have gone by of all the touring and whatever else has happened to affect your life. That’s what will ultimately decide for us what the next record will be about and what it’s going to sounds like.
’The Hunter’ took Mastodon further outside of its comfort zone than before, there was no concept, no philosophy of classical elements, do you miss that or would you rather go even further beyond what people expect from the band?
I don’t miss it at all, yeah I don’t miss it. The record was fun to make and it was a lot less stressful to be honest.
It was the first time to not have to make everything come together, it was a bunch of great songs.
Yeah, it had to be that way because of the fact that there was some people going through some hard times so we couldn’t make out practice space be that stressful environment that it usually is. Whereas if we were to write a riff like the one that’s in ‘Curl of the Burl’ our older selves would have said “No, we have to make it more complex, we have to make it harder for us to play and harder for people to get into.” This time we had to be satisfied with a simpler version of ourselves.
Do you find that you are constantly challenging yourselves to be better or do something different?
I think that’s an unspoken thing with us, we all sort of come from that place. That’s the kind of music that we like, we like Frank Zappa, we like the Melvins, we like Neurosis, Queens of the Stone Age -- bands that are different and doing something different and always pushing the envelope so to speak and striving to be different in some sort of way and that’s just from kids -- all four of us how we were brought up. That’s how we approach music, looking at it from a different angle and trying to tweak it to make it odd in some way and fit our personalities as people.
What’s your favorite Zappa tune?
Oh I don’t know. I have no idea. ‘Hot Rats’ is an incredible album start to finish is a winner.
I don’t know if you got a chance to catch the ‘Metal Evolution’ mini series but it anchored it’s prog episode with Mastodon and you’re constantly tagged as a prog metal band but what do you think people who aren’t prog fans like about Mastodon?
Probably the fact that our new record isn’t really a prog record at all. [Laughs] I don’t know, I think we’re pretty hooky, there’s a lot of accessibility in there as much as put the odd time signatures and the this and that -- I feel like we always give some meat and potatoes along with it, along with the spaghetti.
Meat and potatoes with spaghetti.
Food references everybody understands food right? It’s either that or sports references. We have some meaty riffs that people can sink their teeth into and then for us nerds there’s some technical aspects as well so I think it’s all about the balance. One of the things I like about our band is the fact that I think we’ve found that good balance.
I would have to agree.
Thank you, we try not to alienate people that don’t want to do math equations when they’re listening to music, they just want to bang their heads.
I just think it’s always been a happy medium, I feel like it’s always been accessible for both – proggy enough for the prog fans but accessible enough for the casual hard rocker, metal fan or just rock fan in general.
That’s right, everything you said is true. [Laughs]
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Vinnie Paul of Pantera and Hellyeah on her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.