STEEL MAMMOTH is another band from the land of thousand bands to check out. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. How does the vision you had for the band when you started compare to the vision you have for the band today? What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
-Steel Mammoth started doing music a long time ago with the idea of a heavy metal band playing New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal music. Since then, it has been our quest to find out WHAT that music might be a.k.a. WHAT is this band really all about. We’ve released six albums or two “album trilogies” so far, and maybe we’ve found some clues of what NWOFHM might mean for us. It’s an elusive thing that keeps transforming little by little all the time, so it remains a big mystery to us to this day. It’s too vast to comprehend, but I hope we keep on trying to forge the locks to our keys in the future, and maybe find out more about this music and ourselves in the process. What I personally want with our music is for it to give me new thoughts and ideas about life, love, the apocalypse, art and the human condition in general. Ideas and thoughts I couldn’t have come up all on my own without Steel Mammoth coming together to play heavy rock. Of course, I also want the music to rock & roll like a beast serpent animal demon and to be the best possible music for me to listen.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-We come from Finland, or we come from the beyond beyond the beyond. Both of those places are way cooler than LA, NY or London combined. But yes, people might choose to find that exotic & interesting OR maybe just choose to disregard everything that comes from “the outer limits”. In both cases, I totally understand where people are coming from, and it’s TOTALLY OK.
When you release an album that get pretty good feedback, how do you follow up on that? How important is that I as a fan can identify album to album?
-Like all bands, we’ve gotten pretty good and pretty devastating feedback for our albums/music. It doesn’t really affect our “next move”. We are not completely immune to other peoples observations, but immune enough to not REALLY care what this music might mean to anyone outside the band. But we tend to subconsciously react somehow to the “thing we did the last time”. In the case of our new album Atomic Oblivion, it took us so long to follow up on the first two parts of this album trilogy (Radiation Funeral and Nuclear Rebirth) that we kind of forgot what it was that we were supposed to be reacting to. There’s familiar elements from all Steel Mammoth stuff so far, but hopefully stuff that’s ALL NEW for us too. I believe that the chosen few fans we have are very open to all sorts of disappointments, failures and unsuccessful experimentation. I’ve liked all our albums this far, Steel Mammoth is my favorite band ever and right now the new album is my favorite. I know I might also be the only person in the history of the universe to think so. That does not make me wrong or right on this subject.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-The biggest challenge is to let go of your personal expectations and obsessive ideas and let the collective way of working take over at the very moment of recording. I think we all like collective decision making so it comes quite easily. You need all sorts of songs: the really cool, the sort-of-lame, the surprisingly refreshing and just your basic semi okay songs.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-All Steel Mammoth recordings so far have been digital, but we all have analogue experience too. It might be more of a question of the room/place where your recording and especially the people you are recording with. Technical aspects are important of course, but if you capture a glimpse of “what went on at the actual moment of the band playing the song in a room” with whatever crappy equipment you have, then you’re on to something. It’s a good to build on a foundation of something that has a “personal touch”. I think our latest album sounds like it’s recorded on old cassette in some forgotten underground catacomb tunnel system, although it was recorded on computers in a couple of small modern studios.
What is it like to sit there with a finished album? Do you think much what people will think of it?
-It’s very satisfying and super nice. Especially in this case, where it took us “forever” to get the last part of the trilogy written, recorded and released. For me, just the conclusion of lyrical, musical or album cover concepts feels EXTRA GOOD this time around. I don’t think much of what people will think of it. I hope some people find out that it EXISTS at all, and proceed to listen to it. them liking or disliking it is none of my business.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-Extremely important in fact. The message varies from song to song, but the overall message could be a message of love and laughter in a soul crushing and totally unbearably horrible, piece of shit existence in an apocalyptic bullshit world.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-They are very important! Album visuals in general are of course secondary to the music, but still, super important. This album trilogy is also a three picture comic strip about a nuclear shadow warrior LITERALLY crying his eyes out, so the art work concept runs through all three albums. You could say in this case they play even bigger part than on first three albums.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-Practically nobody nowhere gives a shit if Steel Mammoth plays live or not. And our live shows are super rare. For me, every show is an important cleansing ritual and I try to throw myself into them like my life depended on it. It may also actually depend on it.
What do you see in the future?
-Dark clouds of constant sorrow hanging low over all that we know and love. Fortunately, that’s not all I see. I see small but resilient bits of pure beauty and righteousness here and there and everywhere.