Tuesday 18 August 2015

Interview with Red Mountains

Today's guests are about to release their stunning debut album – Down With The Sun – on Sept 1st 2015. It's a stunning hybrid of Sludge, Doom, Stoner, Grunge, Desert Rock and Psychedelic Rock. Not many bands can pull that off for their debut album but Red Mountains do this with ease.

Red Mountains first grabbed my attention with possibly the finest song from the album – Sun. A song packed with groove, emotion and the right amount of Desert Rock/Stoner Metal riffs. The album will be released on DD/Vinyl through Nasoni Records on Sept 1st 2015. This is a band I'm tipping for huge things in the next couple of years. That's how good they are.

I described the album as: “Down With The Sun is an exceptional debut album from a band that has created something special here. Red Mountains are going to make a lasting impression within the Stoner Metal community with this album. Down With The Sun is going to end up on a few Album Of The Year lists. That’s how good it is. Ignore this album and miss out. Simple as that!!”

I've was given the chance recently to catch up with the band and here's what they had to say.

Hi guys, thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Hi Steve, and again, thanks for the great review! We're just happy to do this interview.

Can you give our readers a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today.

We all met while studying for a bachelor's degree in music in a town close to Trondheim. We all listened to a lot of different music, but we also had a lot of common favourite bands. Simen (The Drummer) initiated the whole thing, with a vision that we could create something new to add to the stoner scene. Sleepy Desert Blues was the first song we did, and that's Simen's song all together. We started writing songs together and we thought it turned out pretty cool, so we decided to make an album out of it. That leads us up to today, we've spent the last year finishing up the record.

You're about to release your debut album - Down With The Sun. So are you all excited about the forthcoming album release.

It's those kind of things you dream of as a little kid going through your parents' vinyl collection. We can't wait to see it off into the world. There's a lot of hard competition out there, so we're wishing it all the best on its journey, hoping it will reach far and wide.

What can people expect from the album.

Expect the unexpected! That was cheesy, but it might just be true.

Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

We didn't really get stuck in the writing of any of the songs, they all felt like they came pretty naturally. The recording also went pretty smooth, with the help of brilliant Eirik Øien behind the levers. The second album might be another story, as we'd like to try out some other ideas and think new. While at the same time keeping our sound.

Your sound is very refreshing and different at the same time. As you guys blend - Stoner, Doom, Noise, Psychedelic, Grunge and Sludge. It's quite a progressive album in many ways. Would you go with that description or do you call it good old fashioned Rock and Roll.

It's definitely progressive to some extent. Rodents being the best example probably. We thought it'd be cool to lead people into thinking they were listening to a proper rock&roll act, and suddenly they're in Sludge Valley, doomed for eternity. And they kind of forgot how they got there. In the end, it's all about the atmosphere though. It's loud sleepiness that sometimes wakes you up.

You released "Sun" as the first single from the album. Has is it surprised you the responses/praise it's received from fans and critics alike.

Yes. We got this one review that was pretty ambivalent about the single, but we still appreciated it. Anyone who sits down, gives it a go and give their honest opinion really. But of course, all the good reviews put a big smile on our otherwise doomed faces.

The other thing that I love about your album, is your ability to change the mood of the song. One minute it can be a delicate Desert Rock vibe and the next it moves onto heavier sludge rock territory. I mean your songs all finish differently from where they began. How hard was it to do that when recording the album.

Well, the whole thing was recorded live song by song. It's the only way for us to capture the live feel of it, recreating what we do on stage. So all the dynamics and different sounds are pretty much what we do when rehearsing and playing gigs. That makes it a lot easier to go into the studio, you just kind of do your thing and hope the guy in the control room knows whatever he's doing. And he did. The sound he pulled out is astonishing..!

You're album is being released on Vinyl through Nasoni Records. How did you hook up with those guys. And I bet you're excited to release your debut album on Vinyl.

As we had finished up the recording, mixing and mastering of the album, we started spamming people. We sent enough emails to impress Edward Snowden himself; you have to take into consideration that half of those email addresses you find on the grand internet outdates WWII. But seriously, a lot of emails. We got a couple of rejections at first. All of the sudden Nasoni gets back to us, with a very uplifting message. So basically, they're pressing 300 coloured vinyls in limited edition. If that sells out, another 200 are on their way. The fact that indie labels such as Nasoni exist, makes it possible for bands like us to actually reach out beyond our crammed up rehearsal spaces and local gigs.

Did you have much involvement with the design of the Vinyl. Or did you leave it for the record label to decide.

We started looking for the artwork before we got the deal with Nasoni. We were looking at other cover designs and had a small collection of great ones. The one that stood out though was that of Earth's album "Primitive and Deadly". Our first thoughts were something like "well, that's gonna be too many zeros at the bottom of the bill.". But figuring the worst thing that could happen was to get the suspicion confirmed, we sent Samantha Muljat (you guessed it) an email. And it all worked out, we got a good deal and started pitching ideas. She also did the design for the single (Sun), which was a piece of art on its own.

We have to talk about the fantastic album cover. Really captures the mood of the album and the Desert Rock/Stoner Rock scene in general. Who designed the cover.

The design was done by magnificent Samantha Muljat at Bloodbank Design (bldbnkdsgn.com). The cover is actually the first draft we got (well, we got no draft really, we just got that), we barely changed it. And it does indeed capture the mood of the album, she had "Sun" on repeat to catch the vibes. Looks great. And she's great to work with, a person that just loves what she's doing. There's a great signature in her work.

Will you be touring much to promote the album.

We are playing a couple of festivals this summer before kicking off a little tour throughout various cities in Norway when we release the album in September. For now we've only booked concerts here in the Land of Ice and Snow, but we sure hope to go on tour in Europe sometime very soon. It's warmer and the beer is a lot cheaper. But we've also got plans for a second album, whichever opportunity reveals itself first will be our next move.

Words by Steve Howe and Red Mountains.

I want to thank Red Mountains for taking the time out to talking to me. Down With The Sun will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from Nasoni Records on Sept 1st 2015.