Zorro of Capital Chaos conducted an interview with bassist and vocalist Troy Sanders of Atlanta's progressive metallers MASTODON on July 14, 2008 at the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Marysville, California (where the band was performing as part of the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival).
Troy Sanders recently shot down rumors that the band's as-yet-untitled new album will be a concept record about Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin.
"One big rumor gets out there, and it kind of spreads quickly, which is cool," Sanders told Headbanger's Blog. "I'm glad people are speculating on what the record's gonna be. We want to keep some of the mystery behind it until the record hits the stands. But the record is not based on the life of Rasputin."
With regards to the album's musical direction, Sanders told ARTISTdirect, "I think it's become more spacious, melodic and a bit more epic, in the grand scheme of things. Some of the guitar parts really space out. We paid a lot of attention to the vocal patterns. We really tried to become more melodic with the vocals, making them more intertwined with the songs. It's by far the biggest departure from record to record that we've done. A lot of the stuff on this record doesn't quite sound like us. You know it's us, because it's obvious that it is when you hear it. But on first listen, you don't know what the hell's going on. For me, the biggest departure was the vocal style that we applied to every song on the album. The vocal style is very much in tune with the music itself. We created this more unified, melodic record. I think that's what I'm most proud about. As far as songwriting goes, I think it's the coolest stuff we've ever done. I think it's good when you can actually say that on every record and really believe it. There are a couple songs that are straight-to-the-point, meat-and-potatoes rock and roll. Then there are a lot of songs that are very lengthy and epic-sounding. It's quite a journey. All four of us are really into this new record collectively — more than any other record before."