Multi-time Grammy nominees Mastodon might not yet have a trophy to validate their music, but they do have millions of fans around the world, as well as the admiration of their peers and the esteem of music critics.
Bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders and guitarist Bill Kelliher spoke to Jonathan Clarke on Q104.3's "Out of the Box" about their new album, Emperor of Sand, working with legendary rock producer Brendan O'Brien, how Metallica transformed Mastodon's career and the rewards of touring Latin America.
Success for Mastodon came neither quickly nor easily. Formed in Atlanta, GA, in 2000, the band made a name for itself in the metal underground by touring relentlessly behind its early releases, many of which are considered to be among the most important heavy metal LPs of that decade.
A tour with Metallica circa 2006 propelled Mastodon to new heights. Grammy nominations would soon follow and that band's trajectory has been steadily upward ever since.
Kelliher talked about how the band loved touring with Metallica. It probably didn't hurt that in South America, Mastodon got a taste of what it's like to be as famous. He says Mastodon was mistaken for Metallica almost every place they went in South America. Granted, Kelliher's horseshoe mustache probably didn't help his argument with several locals that he was not actually James Hetfield.
Mastodon's innate progressive rock leanings have become more and more pronounced over the years. As time went on, Mastodon has further explored alternate guitar tunings, new sonic dynamics and the inclusion of clean singing and vocal harmonies.
With Emperor of Sand, the band has continued to deepen its roots in metal while also extending its branches into new territory. Lyrically, the band challenged itself to get "more emotional, more deep," Kelliher says.
"We put ourselves out there, " he says. "We kinda of put our necks out for the better of advancing and moving forward."
Watch the full interview above! For more information and tour dates, go to the band's website here.
See Bill and Troy unbox the vinyl of Emperor of Sand for the first time here.
Here's the music video for Mastodon's new song "Show Yourself":