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Meinl: 14-inch Mb20 Heavy Soundwave hi-hats; 18-inch Mb20 Heavy crash; 22-inch Mb8 Medium ride; 8-inch Classic Bells Effect cymbal; 20-inch Mb20 Heavy crash
“It’s just the way it worked out. I guess it’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction to Crack The Skye, which was really long songs with lots of stuff going on. We wanted to go the other way with it.
“But you can talk all day about what you want to do and then once you start writing, things just start happening. It takes on a life of its own. You have to trust it and follow it wherever it goes and hope for the best. There were a lot of weird, stressful situations happening with people in their lives outside of the band.
“Normally, for a mastodon album, we usually make that a really stressful thing. We’re in there everyday, all day long, banging our heads up against the wall to figure out how to shoehorn these mathematical equations into these songs and it gets pretty intense in there.
“Tempers flare occasionally and people have been known to walk out [laughs]! All’s fair I guess. We get together the next day and go, ‘okay, sorry.’ that’s like eight months of that going on usually, especially for Crack The Skye.
“Trying to put together stuff like ‘The Last Baron’, which is a nightmare, to be honest. It was fun and when you’re finally able to get through the whole song and it feels right and you can play it through for 14 minutes, it feels like you accomplished something.
“This time around, it was really imperative to make sure the practice space was the one place that was stress-free. We could all go there and write music together and have it not be difficult or hard.
“I think that in the past, if we’d come up with a riff, or a series of riffs like in ‘Curl Of The Burl’, we would have said to ourselves, ‘it’s a little too simple. People expect more from us,’ or something like that, but we went with gut reaction. We were satisfied with a simpler version of ourselves.”