Cillian Breathnach recently interviewed Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher and his bandmate Brent Hinds. Kelliher discussed their new double-album ‘Hushed and Grim’ released on October 29 and gave details about the production process.
Mastodon members had previously revealed that they were working on their album ‘Hushed and Grim’ during the pandemic. Before the release of the album, they shared a single named ‘Sickle and Peace.’ ‘Hushed and Grim’ features fifteen songs, and it is the band’s longest album with 86 minutes.
Kelliher had stated they are always trying to put something new to their latest works, and they are proud of the latest album in this sense. The album has received mostly positive and complimentary reviews shortly after its release. The band members had explained before that they feel emotional about the album because it is also a tribute to the band’s manager, Nick John, who passed away in 2018 after his battle with cancer.
When asked about the creation process of the new album ‘Hushed and Grim,’ Bill Kelliher said that he is writing down riffs whenever he gets inspired, which is every day. In the beginning, they had 25 songs, but they shortened the list to 15 songs. Kelliher stated that as a band, they thought that a double album was a curse, and they didn’t intend to do it. However, when they listened to all the songs together, they realized that they wonderfully completed each other and couldn’t exclude any of them.
Here is how Kelliher commented on the new album:
“Me, personally, I collect riffs every day. I’m writing and writing, recording onto my laptop or my phone whenever the riff hits me. So couple that with Brent’s songs, Troy’s songs, Brann’s songs – all of a sudden, we had 25 pretty solid ideas.
So we whittle it down to about 15 and plan to record them all and just use 12. Normally you want to go into the studio with a few extras, just in case certain ones don’t work out. So we record 15, and then our producer David Bottrill says, ‘alright, which three are we going to dump?’ But we couldn’t pick – we’d never really had this problem before, it was like choosing between your kids, like, ‘which one’s your favourite?’
We’d always joked about how the double album is a curse. I don’t know why we thought it was a curse, but we did. When we listened to all 15 songs together, they all pulled together like a book. You can’t really take out three chapters of a 15-chapter book without affecting it as a whole. So we used them all.”
Later on, Kelliher also discussed the contribution of the pandemic to the new album and said that as everything was canceled, they had plenty of time to concentrate on their upcoming works. It provided an opportunity for them to come up with many new ideas.