Published May 26, 2020Mastodon last released the full-length Emperor of Sand and follow-up EP Cold Dark Place in 2017, but new material is on the way — including a song written for the forthcoming Bill & Ted sequel.
Guitarist Bill Kelliher shared news of the band's involvement with Bill & Ted Face the Music in a recent appearance on the RocknRoll Beer Guy podcast, saying, "We got asked a couple months ago to be a part of the new Bill and Ted movie, to put a song in there. So we wrote a song to be in that movie which we're kind of wrapping now."
News of the band's involvement comes alongside news of a proper follow-up to Emperor of Sand, with Kelliher confirming that the band had been using time off since last summer to demo new material for the effort.
"We were kind of right in the middle of it...we had about, I don't know, 20 rough songs recorded right before this [pandemic] hit and it just totally put the brakes on it," Kelliher said. "I'm actually leaving tomorrow for Atlanta. We're gonna get back together and try to get back into finishing a few things that we started and see where we get."
When asked about the sonic direction of the new Mastodon material, Kelliher pulled back the curtain on the band's process as follows:
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 my riffs out for that record in particular. I really helped write that a lot.
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. There's definitely a vibe going on. I don't know how to describe it. I've been doing this 'riff of the day' things live on Facebook and Instagram, videos of me playing riffs and playing old songs, and I have to relearn them and everything and most of them are off Emperor of Sand, stuff that I wrote I'm showing. I'm like, 'wow, these are some sick riffs' and the new record, the stuff I've written, it's not quite as notey as that, but it's definitely got a more like Neurosis heaviness, [with] simplified guitar parts.
And Brann has been doing a lot of... he always demos most of the vocal ideas cause he always has melodies and stuff like that... and he's been singing on a lot of it, at least for demo purposes. The vocals are kind of like a [2014 Mastodon song] 'Asleep in the Deep' style, kind of Radiohead-ish almost, like real melodic, 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.
You can listen to Kelliher's podcast appearance in the player below.
As previously reported, Bill & Ted Face the Music will see Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprise their titular roles, alongside new cast members, Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine, who play Bill and Ted's daughters.