Anyone who’s into Mastodon and Kylesa should take note of Mose Giganticus. Anyone who thinks synthesizer sounds shouldn’t be incorporated into Sludge metal must also listen to this new band from the United States. Well, new isn’t exactly correct, since the band has been around since 1999, but they only surfaced with the album ‘Gift Horse’. Asice.net spoke to mastermind Matt Garfield and he had some interesting things to tell.
Do you think anyone is waiting for another sludge band; even a band that uses a synthesizer in their sound?
No, I don't think anyone should be waiting for another sludge band. In the same way no one should be excited about the prospect of another rock, punk, new wave, etc band... I'm always waiting for the next band that's doing something interesting - regardless of genre. And my hope is that what we're doing is interesting to some people.
In contrast to other bands that play similar music, your songs have structures that could almost be called pop/rock-structures. Did it take a long time before songs like “Days of Yore”, “The Great Deceiver” and “The Seventh Seal” were finished?
That's an astute observation! I do prefer pop/rock song structure as well as incorporating hooks and melody into my songs. I appreciate songs that convey a theme to get across a musical idea that is well thought out, concise, and memorable. By imposing this structure, it does sometimes take a littler longer to compose a song to my liking. Beyond the music and lyrics, the song needs to fulfill structural requirements to feel whole. While I'm writing, I can tell which areas feel weak and need work, but it's not always clear how to make it feel complete. That's what takes the most time.
Which music had a big influence on you as a musician?
Growing up I was a big fan of Nirvana, Sunny Day Real Estate, Foo Fighters, Andrew WK, Smashing Pumpkins- I was big into grunge. While writing Gift Horse, I was heavily influenced by bands such as Mastodon, Baroness, the Melvins, some Metallica, Yes, Genesis, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, and Deep Purple. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Goblin, Warning, Harvey Milk, Thrones, Neurosis, and Future of the Left, so we'll see which direction these influences take me in for the next record.
Mose Giganticus is mostly a one-man band. Why did you choose to continue alone after members quit the band?
Haha, no one has ever quit Mose Giganticus. This band started as my solo project back in 1999 so that I could record some song ideas that weren't really appropriate for any of the bands I was in at the time. I toured solo for a few years, but I had always envisioned Mose Giganticus as a full band, so I began asking friends to sit in and help me achieve that goal for the band. Since then, I've had 30 musicians volunteer to help me perform, tour, and record, but I'm still the only official "member" of the band.
Do you never get tired of using stand-in musicians when you are on tour?
Touring with a rotating cast of band members has its pros and cons. A big advantage to using stand-in musicians is that we can tour much more frequently. By using different members for each tour, it makes scheduling a tour MUCH easier than working with the same people who have jobs, relationships, and responsibilities that aren't conducive to being on the road for months at a time. I also enjoy the variety each line up brings- every new member adds their own flare to the songs and the tour experience. Additionally, we never have to worry about getting tired of each other from being on the road too long. However arranging a new line up for each tour means that I have to teach the songs to new people multiple times per year, and it takes a while for the whole band to get into the groove of playing together.
Who is going with you on the European tour? Did you play with them already?
For this European tour, I'm bringing along some of my long time friends and band mates: Joe Smiley (guitar), Scott Reigel (guitar), and Dan Eppihimer (drums). This line up toured for a few weeks together in 2010, and I've toured with each of these members extensively in different line ups. Incidentally, this tour will mark the FIRST TIME Mose has ever recycled a touring band line up!
What can we expect after ‘Gift Horse’ with respect to new work?
I'm glad you asked! After the European tour, we have a few more weeks of tour planned in the States, and then I'm settling in to work on some new material. I've been thinking a lot this year about the direction I want to take the new material in. None of this is set in stone yet, but I'll talk a little bit about what I've been thinking. Thematically, I'm considering the next album to be a sequel to the concepts in Gift Horse. I expect the music to become darker and more introspective. I'm also working a lot more with my vocals as an instrument- I'd like to expand my vocal capabilities and the impact they have on the song writing with the next record. Based on the time frame I'm planning, I'm looking towards a release date in early 2013.
Did you already write some new songs?
I'm constantly collecting notes and ideas for new songs, however, I don't write songs piece-meal. When I'm ready to write new songs, I do so immersively, spending weeks focusing only on song-writing. That time is scheduled for later this winter. So as of now, all new Mose Giganticus songs are strictly ideas.
How big is Mose Giganticus in the States? What do you expect from your first European tour?
We've been doing pretty well lately. We tour frequently and extensively, so that, coupled with our recent partnership with Relapse Records, have brought us a lot of recognition in the States over the past year. However, I expect all of our experiences in the States to be eclipsed by this European tour. All of my friends who have toured Europe have all said the same thing: "Your worst show in Europe will be better than your best show in the US!" But even beyond that, this is a huge personal achievement for me. I keep a list of life goals and with this tour I get to cross another off the list.
Last month some geek from the US declared the end of times. Of course that didn’t happen, and now he tells everybody the end of the world will take place on 10-21-11? In the US more of these Christians are declaring this kind of religious crap (for example the West Minister Baptist Church). Why do you think religion still has a big influence in the USA?
I think these people suffer from self-imposed ignorance and mob mentality. A lot of these cases come from one charismatic idiot rallying together the local people behind an idea they don't fully understand and have never had the desire to investigate. These stories are also rather sensational so even though the people spouting this crap are barely a blip on the radar, they get a lot of media coverage because, hey, it makes a great story. A large portion of the US is still very religious, but very few are as extreme as the examples you pointed out. The extreme ones just make the most noise. I hope these people are not becoming the face of America to the rest of the world. We think they are just as silly as you do.
If the Earth will collapse, what is the last album you want to hear?
If the Earth began collapsing right now, I'd put on Warning with “Watching From A Distance”. I feel it would be a fitting soundtrack to the end.
And if they ask Mose Giganticus to make the soundtrack for the end of the world, how are you going to adapt Mose Giganticus’ style?
That's what I'm constantly trying to do! At this point though, I'd slow things down a bit and add a few extra bass amps.
In my hometown you are playing on the Bloodshed Festival. It's mostly grindcore bands that will play there. Do you think those people will enjoy Mose Giganticus and will the combination work?
That's a good question. We play with grindcore bands occasionally, but we are certainly distant cousins when it comes to stylistic similarities. I'm sure, as in most cases, we'll be well received by some, and rejected by others. Either way, we're there to do what we love.
Are you into Grindcore music? Are you going to adapt your set list for the festival?
I've never listened to grindcore much, but I do appreciate it on a technical level. We will not be adapting our set for a grind crowd though - we're not a grind band and we won't pretend to be.
Famous last words?
Be excellent to each other.
Besides Bloodshed Fest, Mose Giganticus will also play at the Incubate festival in Tilburg on Friday September 16th
Interview by Maurice.
Pictures provided by Relapse Records.
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