By Zachary Swickey
Record Store Day has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last few years thanks to the rising interest in purchasing albums on vinyl, and this year’s split 7” release from Mastodon and Feist marks one of the craziest releases we’ve ever heard.
“They were great,” guitarist Bill Kelliher told Rolling Stone. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we see if they want to collaborate somehow, someway?” which is how the project came to light.
It wasn’t until Feist saw an MTV Canada interview that she found out about Mastodon’s plans. “Next thing I know, they had announced on MTV that they were gonna cover a song [of mine],” she recalled – deciding to return the favor. Thus resulting in Feistodon – a split-single that will be available in stores for one day only on April 21 to celebrate Record Store Day.
“It’s a wet dream to have Mastodon take one of my songs and put it into their massive machine,” Feist said of the hook-up.
The artists basically gave each other complete creative freedom with Feist choosing to record a rendition of “Black Tongue” from Mastodon’s newest effort The Hunter and the band tackling Feist’s “A Commotion.”
“We didn’t tell her what to do, and she didn’t tell us what to do. ‘A Commotion’ just kind of stuck out to me. I could hear the opening riff, a single A-note,” said Kelliher.
Feist, on the other hand, simply went with the Mastodon tune that had the most relatable lyrics for her. “Mastodon fans would probably be disappointed to know that I actually didn’t know Mastodon very well. I actually went onto one of those lyric websites, and I scrolled through 50 songs and just narrowed it down to the ones I thought I could wrap myself around the words,” she explained.
“‘Black Tongue’ is speaking in my kind of elemental language – about diamond and earth and sky. It’s all just in a language that I already sort of speak lyrically. It was pretty easy to climb into that one,” she continued.
While the collaboration sounds awfully crazy, the music itself will not be a radical departure for Feist. “Of course I’m not going to try to be Mastodon,” she explained. “My drummer isn’t gonna be doing Morse-code, double kick drum patterns. You’re going to take it into your own universe. For me it’s much more atmosphere – creating my version of what metal is.”
“It’s really cool. It’s very haunting the way that she sings, ‘I cut off my tongue.’ This dainty girl singing these brutal lyrics. It kind of sent chills up my spine when I heard it,” Kelliher said of Feist’s recording.
Describing his version of “A Commotion,” Kelliher said, “We got the broad swords and strapped on all the armor that the song didn’t have before. We did as much as stuff on it as we could to make it very Mastodon-esque – throwing open high notes in there, low guitars and heavy drums. Crazy sounds.
“Who knows? This could be the new Mastodon direction,” he added.