Mastodon recently wrapped up a tour with Ghost, playing arenas across North America. During the Atlanta metal act’s stop at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky, Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher chatted with Heavy Consequence about the band’s latest album, Hushed and Grim, the 20th anniversary of their debut, Remission, and the rise of Ghost over the past decade, among other topics.
Back when Ghost were breaking onto the metal scene a decade or so ago, the Swedish band opened for Mastodon, who had already established themselves as one of modern metal’s heavyweight acts. Fast forward to 2022, and Mastodon returned the favor, providing direct support for Ghost on the latter’s 2022 headlining arena outing.
As Kelliher told us in the video above, he could see the writing on the wall, as far as Ghost’s meteoric rise up the metal ranks. “When I first met [Ghost mastermind] Tobias [Forge] and we first started touring with Ghost, I could just feel that these guys are gonna be really freakin’ big. … [Now] they’re like the KISS of 2022. Their fans are rabid. They’re insane. Half the audience, when we did this tour, had the face paint on. … They’re a great band. I went out and watched them the other night. They’re incredible.”
Prior to the release of Hushed and Grim, Mastodon singer-drummer Brann Dailor had checked in with Heavy Consequence, telling us at the time that the band was working on 30-35 tracks. With Hushed and Grim ending up with 15 songs, we asked Kelliher if that extra material would find its way onto Mastodon’s next album.
Kelliher remarked that is was actually more like 45 songs, adding, “Those ideas are still floating around, but usually what happens is if we have 30 songs, but we say, ‘We’re gonna use 15 of those,’ sometimes the other songs that aren’t going on the record get cannibalized. Like, ‘I really like this part in this song,’ and you take out that part, and that song falls apart, and it’s not really a song anymore.”
He added, “I feel like we’re all still in our prime as far as songwriting goes. We’re not gonna let any shit go by. … We set the bar pretty high with every record.”
Elsewhere in the discussion, Kelliher spoke about the documentary that the band just released on the making of Hushed and Grim, and reflected on recording Mastodon’s 2002 debut Remission on its 20th anniversary.
Watch our full interview with Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher above, and pick up Hushed and Grim via Amazon.
Trouble viewing the interview in the player above? Watch on YouTube.