By Skyler Hill
Going on a full US tour just over a year after your first release isn’t an easy thing to do as band, but Mammoth Indigo doesn’t mind. In fact they make it look easy.
All photos by Eric Sonson
Coming from Richmond, Virginia, Mammoth Indigo has a sound that healthily and uniquely blends too many styles to count on one hand. Coming from the ten songs on their self-titled first release, which you can listen to here, are soaring vocals that would make Thom Yorke jealous, explosive yet melodic guitars reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky, and a maturity in songwriting that would make any first album sound prodigious. And now they’ve come all the way to Dallas for a show at The Boiler Room.
I got a chance to sit down and talk with them after their set about life on tour and their album.
So you guys released your first album, Mammoth Indigo, just this past year in August of 2013. How long had you been a band before that point?
We actually recorded the album before we were a band and were essentially like, “Dude, let’s be a band” and went on tour immediately. In fact, we didn’t even have our album before we left for our first week of dates and had to have it over-nighted to us in Atlanta.
How many tours have you been on since the album release?
This is our third big one, but we do some regional stuff every once in a while. We’ll do a big thing for a month, month and a half, or two months for this one and then go back home and work for a little while. We’ll do a few shows here and there and if we get one that’s far away from town we’ll string a couple of shows together for a kind of mini-tour.
Any tour stories?
Every night has a weird story. That’s the cool thing about being on tour, is that every single day is so different. Our vocalist Cody has a good one:
“We were in Muncie, Indiana and after our set I was walking around when this guy stops me. I had a really good beer in my hand that the owner had gotten me and was just savoring it, not really wanting to give it to anybody. This guy stops me by grabbing my hand and he kind of looks like Danny DeVito or something, but he starts rubbing my fingers gently going, ‘Meow….meow meow meow meow.’ And he started trying to drink my beer saying ‘What’re you drinking there? Can I get you another one?’ I said ‘No, that’s ok’ but he just kept meowing.”
What’s been the longest drive so far?
Dan drove from Chicago to Utica, New York. That’s like 14 or 15 hours. He drank one cup of McDonald’s coffee and was set.
How does the east coast differ from the cities that you’re visiting further out west?
It’s kind of hard to say, because you’ll think that you’re going into a new culture because of one or two shows and then you’ll find the same type of people that you knew from home. We also, being an indie band, don’t get to experience a majority of the culture. We don’t play a lot of places that cater to country or jazz, which is what a lot of people want down here. I was actually kind of scared last night because we played a show and in the audience there were a bunch of old dudes with white scraggly beards, but they loved it. You really can’t tell. You just have to go into each city with an open mind, no matter how many times you’ve experienced [that city].
I heard that you guys had some obstacles come up at the beginning of the tour. Can you tell me more about that?
Our bass player dropped out of the band the day that we left for tour and basically said, “Oh, sorry. I can’t come anymore. See ya.” We had to cancel a show and then stay up for about…14 hours re-recording all of the bass parts. We recorded them into Apple Logic and then split them up into samples so that we could put them onto a pad to trigger them during our shows. It was crazy. We did it for about five shows before we met our [current] bassist Adam in Charlotte. We were playing a show there and asked the crowd if there were any bass players, and the bassist from the first band that played yelled out, “I’ll play bass for you guys!” We called him the next day and he was like, “Yeah man, I’m still down to go.” We pulled into his driveway and thought that there was no way this guy was coming with us. He got in the van and we started pulling away and were like, “Shit! This is happening right now. He’s actually coming.”
Who did you guys record the album with?
A buddy of ours, Chris Perez. He did it in his basement…well, two different basements because he moved halfway through, but he did a phenomenal job. People are always like, “Yo, what studio did you record this in?” and we’re like, “The basement down the street.” He helped write a lot of the stuff [and] helped with the bass parts; he was the fifth Beatle. He’s definitely a really good guy to work with.
Have you guys written any new music while on tour?
Yeah, we keep noodling around with new stuff. Actually, before we left we wrote three or four new songs just in case we didn’t have a bass player so we could play at least a set. We actually haven’t shown them to [our bassist] Adam yet.
What are some notable bands that you’ve played with so far?