Mastodon has been working on new material since November with hopes that it will be released this year. We haven't gotten an update in a few months, but recently guitarist Bill Kelliher appeared on RocknRoll Beer Guy and offered an update on the album progress and the news that they will be featured in the new Bill & Ted movie.
As for the new album progress: “We were kind of right in the middle of it [writing a new album] and we had about, I don’t know, 20 rough songs recorded right before this [the COVID-19 pandemic] hit. And it just totally put the brakes on it…” adding "I’m actually leaving tomorrow for Atlanta, we’re gonna get back together and have our first kinda… try to get back into finishing a few things that we started and seeing where we get.”
When asked what fans can expect, Bill noted he is writing a lot on this record.
“It’s all relative to who’s writing. With Emperor Of Sand, my mom was really sick with brain cancer and tragically passed away from that right when I was in the heart of writing that. And I was getting a lot of my demons and riffs out for that record in particular. I really helped write that a lot. And with this new record, it’s kind of the same.
I’ve definitely been writing like a madman, like crazy. It’s different than Emperor Of Sand, but it’s definitely a vibe going on. I don’t know how to describe it."
He went into further detail later in the show:
“The new record, the stuff I’ve written is not quite as notey as that [Emperor Of Sand]. It’s definitely got a more like Neurosis heaviness. Like simplified guitar parts and Brann has been doing a lot of… He also demos most of the vocal ideas because he always has melodies and stuff like that and he’s been singing on a lot of it—at least for the demo purposes.
"The vocals are kind of like an “Asleep In The Deep” style, kind of Radiohead-ish almost, real melodic. Just a lot of vocal harmonies. When I think back about it, even though we’ve got like 20-25 songs, we still don’t have all of Brent‘s songs in there yet. And there’s still a lot of time for that stuff to change and to morph into other stuff.
"There’s a couple of old riffs—cause I’m constantly writing… I may write a hundred riffs a week but only one of them is any good… I wrote some stuff years ago that I sent to Troy and he took it upon himself to throw down some vocals on it and spun it back to me the other day and I was very surprised. It was a pleasant surprise. I was like wow man, this sounds really eerie. Like really dark and eerie and cool. Like I never expected [him] to do anything with it…
"So Troy's trying to be more involved. Everybody has their place, their part in the band. I don’t know, every record is just a little bit different on how it gets written or who writes the majority or whose songs make it on the record or what not."
But perhaps the most fun piece of news is the band was involved in the highly anticipated new Bill & Ted movie, saying they are just wrapping up: “We got asked, like a couple months ago, to be a part of the new ‘Bill & Ted‘ movie, to put a song in there. So we wrote a song to be in that movie which we’re kinda of wrapping up now. It’s pretty fun.”
[Transcripts via ThePRP]