Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON are preparing to enter the studio to begin recording their next album, according to bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders. The follow-up to 2017's "Emperor Of Sand" will mark MASTODON's first collection of new material since the death of longtime manager Nick John and the passing of tour manager Bob Dallas.
Speaking to Dean Delray's "Let There Be Talk" podcast, Sanders said (hear audio below): "We bought a building a couple of years ago. It's called Ember City. It's on the west end of Atlanta. And we've got about 17 rehearsal spots in here for local bands and a studio in the basement — a top-shelf studio called West End Sound — where we've been demoing all this material for a new record, with hopes to start recording down there any week now for the real deal, because we've got loads of materal. We've been chipping away this whole year. So I'm ready to hit 'record' for real and put a record out the beginning of next year."
Asked who will produce the new MASTODON album, Troy said: "Not sure. That's kind of where we're at right now. Like I said, we've just been slowly piecing things together and chipping away since November, so it's been, like, nine months in. So, pregnancy-wise, we're about due. We're throwing around some ideas and seeing who's willing to come to Atlanta, because we have our own facility here now, so someone needs to be willing to travel here to help us out. So that conversation is happening now, which is exciting to me.
"You get, we call it 'demoitis' — you hear your demo so much, you're losing touch," he continued. "Is this even good anymore? I don't know. While it's still fresh, you need to record for real. You don't want anything, really, to go too long, because it gets stale, or it can get stale, so kind of keeping it fresh and forward-moving is really important for us right now."
Regarding how many songs MASTODON has written for the upcoming album, Troy said: "For the first time ever, we're over the 20 mark, which is a wonderful… I don't wanna say 'problem.' It's a great issue to sort through and, like, 'Hey, what are we gonna focus on?' But at the same time, we've never really worked on an idea unless we all really like it. So I'm hopeful that what we have here is two albums' worth. Not that we're gonna do a double album, but just going back to the fact that we were capable and able to be productive during this whole year."
He continued: "It would be a good issue to have, I guess [to go into the studio with so much excess material]. Because from our eyes and ears, it wouldn't be filler — it would be stuff that we worked on and we really love. So, yeah, whether [it turns out to be] an album and an EP within a year of each other, who knows? That would be a group decision. But, yeah, the more material, the better."
MASTODON will release a rarities collection titled "Medium Rarities" on September 11. The compilation includes one brand new song, "Fallen Torches" (featuring a guest appearance by NEUROSIS's Scott Kelly), along with a bevy of classic covers, soundtrack contributions, instrumentals, B-sides, and live recordings on one complete package for the very first time.
"Emperor Of Sand" debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. That album was nominated for the 2018 Grammy Award for "Best Rock Album," and its opening track, "Sultan's Curse", won the Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance."
Earlier in the year, MASTODON wrote and recorded a new song called "Rufus Lives" for inclusion in the latest "Bill & Ted Face The Music" movie.
"Bill & Ted Face The Music", which reunites Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in the title roles for the first time since 1991's "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey", was released late last month.