To me the biggest gain with music is to find new artists that moves you. MOUNTAINEER did that to me. Clayton answered. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
Do you notice that there is an anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
Clayton (guitar): If every band waited until they felt that enough people were eagerly awaiting a new album, there would only be a couple of albums released per year. I don’t know what metrics we would use to decide whether or not to write and record an album, but I do know that we write albums because we want to and don’t really consider the commercial aspect.
Is it important for you that a new album picks up where the previous left off? How important is continuity??
Clayton: It’s not terribly important that a new album picks up where the last one left off for Mountaineer, but continuity within albums is. We want an album to flow from beginning to end in a certain way… time is definitely spent considering the flow and mood of our recordings.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound for this album that you all could agree on?
Clayton: Not really, it was actually very easy. It just came together with not much thought. This was intentional though… we didn’t want to overthink the process but rather capture some spontaneity in the writing process.
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
Clayton: The lyrics probably help to explain the musical mood or journey more than anything. As far as I’m concerned, lyrics are just one small piece of the puzzle in the story we are trying to tell. Each record has been a little different, but it’s big picture stuff described in as personal a way as possible.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
Clayton: I think it’s important for this band. The records we have done have had overlapping themes that tie them together, and the art needs to reflect that. Up until now, we have come up with artwork internally. For instance, Miguel Meza (vocals) painted the cover art for Passages and it reflects the sentiment of the album (as far as we are concerned). I’d like to think that the artwork we have made can be interpreted differently depending on the listeners experience.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
Clayton: I think it’s still important, otherwise we wouldn’t have signed with a label. Some bands can probably handle all of the legwork to put out a record on their own and have it be even slightly successful, but I think that is rare. I see lots of bands spend a ton of time and energy and money, only to drop an album on Bandcamp and hope people listen. If that is your only option, I get it. But if you have the opportunity to work with a label run by folks who do it for an actual living, you stand a better chance of having people actually hearing the record you spent so much time and energy and money making. I think Bandcamp is great and I think self-releasing music is great. To be completely honest, I’d prefer not to think about all of the logistics and minutiae and just focus on writing and recording so I’m very happy to be partnered up with Lifeforce.
I guess that today’s music climate makes it harder for a band to sell mega platinum. How do you tackle the fact that downloading has changed how people consume music?
Clayton: I’m not sure… I guess I would never expect anything out of releasing music other than the personal outlet that it is to me. If it affects others in a positive way, than I am happy with that. I do have friends that are part of the music industry though and I wish things were easier for them.
Does nationality matter today when it comes to breaking big. Does nationality play a part in if or not you will make it big internationally?
Clayton: Man, I really don’t know. Who can make sense of what becomes popular? If an artist or band is too busy worrying about what might or might not be popular, they will probably make music that sucks.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
Clayton: I’m not sure about sales figures, etc but it is important to me that our label is taken care of. Those guys put in a lot of work and I’m hoping that streaming services are good to them. I don’t think that music as we know it will ever die, but it’s an ever-evolving industry just like all industries. Being creative with product and packaging seems to make sense to me. Focusing on special, limited formats seems to make sense. But again, I’m not an expert. I just try to write music that I like and I hope that other people dig it and buy it in whatever format they prefer.
What does the future hold for you?
Clayton: As a band, we are rehearsing and writing and planning to play some shows in the not-too-distant future. I’d like to record and release another album in a year or two… we definitely want to play live more often. Stay tuned!