Bill Kelliher of Mastodon: "We started the band, got in the van and started driving"
When you were recording Crack the Sky, did you have a nine-string guitar built for you?
Yeah, I used my nine-string guitar there in the studio a lot. First Act built it. It has an extra three high string like a twelve string -- the three high strings are doubled up. I just thought it had interesting sounds. I always liked the sound of a twelve-string. I just thought it was kind of a cool idea.
You still use a looping pedal heavily. What does it allow you to do that makes it more interesting for you to play?
Oh, the loop pedal I use for my samples. I don't really use it for guitar. We just make different noises and stuff like that in Pro Tools and run samples in between songs to try to keep the ambiance flowing in the show. I've never liked when bands would stop and tune or talk to the crowd. It kind of loses the energy of the show. I always want to have something going on underneath, something that's kind of ringing out whether or not it's just a chord or just some weird, eerie scene from a movie or whatever. We put in weird samples between the songs. That's mostly what I use it for.
For Record Store Day, you put out a split 7-inch with Feist?
Yeah, we did a song. They covered one of our songs, and we covered one of theirs, along with a cover we did of a Flaming Lips song. That's another one of my favorite bands. They're just really good songwriters. The Soft Bulletin record in general...when we did that European tour with Neurosis and Voivoid.
Their sound man every day played it to test the room. It has really crazy low end, I don't know 808 or techno, but more rock and a lot of keyboards. It was totally different from anything I listened to. I'm sure they take themselves seriously but they have this wacky sense of humor that I like. I've met Wayne [Coyne] before, and he's a nice guy, and they put on an incredible live show. They're a Warner Brothers band, too, and they wanted us to cover another Warner Brothers band.
I met [Feist] on [Later...with Jools Holland]. We played Jools Holland and Feist was one of the guests. We met up with Leslie [Feist], and we were blown away by their performance because they were really cool. I think Troy [Sanders] started talking to them how it would be cool to do a cover of each others' songs. I think he was doing an interview on television somewhere and talked about it, so we were kind of forced to do it then. So we stuck to it.
Was it your choice to bring along Ghost for this tour?
Yeah. We just heard a lot of good things about them and their record is really good and they seemed to be getting a lot of good press. They're a young band starting out, and we thought it would be a good tour line-up. I mean Opeth and Mastodon, two totally different bands, but I think we share a few of the same fans and are in the same genre a little bit. Ghost seemed like the natural band to take. A bunch of nice guys, you know?
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