MASTODON guitarist Bill Kelliher, GOJIRA vocalist/guitarist Joe Duplantier and KVELERTAK singer Erlend Hjelvik took part in a group interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about their upcoming joint North American tour.
Asked what song he's written means the most to him up to this point, Kelliher said: "I don't know. I'd have to say it's something off of our [upcoming] album.
"There's a song called 'High Road'. I wrote the music. The lyrics were written by [MASTODON drummer] Brann Dailor. I think it's going to be a single. It was a riff I wrote in my sober time. I was feeling really good about it. I actually wrote it on a James Hetfield model ESP. It's the 'Snake Bite' guitar.
"I was sitting in my hotel room in Luxembourg because we had a couple of days off there.
"It's a very simple, easy, and heavy riff. I didn't think it would catch on with anybody else, but Brann was, like, 'I hear some really cool vocals there!' It just blossomed into this huge six-minute song with cool leads. They're not solos, but leads in the middle of the song I put together my song. It's something I worked really hard on.
"It's new and fresh.
"I'm excited for it to come out and have other people hear it and let me know what they think."
MASTODON's spring headlining tour with support from GOJIRA and KVELERTAK kicks off April 28 in Seattle and criss-crosses the U.S. before culminating in a performance at the Rock On The Range festival on May 18.
MASTODON is putting the finishing touches on its sixth album at a Nashville studio with producer Nick Raskulinecz (FOO FIGHTERS, RUSH, ALICE IN CHAINS).
Speaking to ARTISTdirect.com, MASTODON singer and bassist Troy Sanders was asked if the band's new material picks up where "The Hunter" left off or if the group is "on a whole new trip." "I think, to a degree, it picks up where we left off," he said.
"As always, nothing was really pre-determined and spoken of beforehand, like, 'Okay guys, we need to write a lot of long epic songs and a lot of short sweet songs. We need to have a couple of slow ones.' Nothing like that was predetermined verbally amongst the four of us. We go in there and we kind of pick up on whatever comes through Brent [Hinds] and Bill's [Kelliher] fingers and their guitars and build and build.
"I guess it's going to be more of a continuation of where we left off with 'The Hunter'. Hopefully, it's just a collection of good MASTODON rock 'n' roll songs. That's where it's headed."
Asked what it's been like working with Raskulinecz on the new album, Kelliher told Metal Hammer magazine: "It's something that we totally need — a cheerleader to get our asses in gear. There he is saying, 'Come on, you're MASTODON… you're one of the biggest bands in metal… Smash that hammer down and write some heavy shit. It's time to do or die!' He's that kind of a guy."
MASTODON drummer Brann Dailor recently told RollingStone.com about the band's forthcoming CD: "It's gonna be massive and insane, lots of epic greatness. There will be lots of huge riffs and new directions. It's real weird, real math-y, real straightforward. It's up, down and all around. It's a culmination of everything for the band. The snowball keeps rolling and collecting snow."