Backstage in der Kö-Pi Arena Oberhausen: Alles richtet sich nach dem Hauptact des heutigen Abends, TOOL. Überall Schilder und herumwuselnde Roadies, die alle hektisch allerlei Sachen durch die Katakomben der Arena schieben und tragen. Inmitten des Gewusels treffe ich die Promoterin von Warner und den Tourmanager von MASTODON, die mich zu der sichtlich entspannt wirkenden Band führen, die sich noch ein kurzes Foto-Shooting geben, bevor ich es mir mit dem Sänger und Bassisten der Band Troy Sanders im Innenraum der Arena bequem mache. Auf der gemütlichen Tribüne haben wir uns mit Blick auf die riesige Bühne recht entspannt über allerlei Sachen unterhalten. Dabei zeigte sich auch, um was für einen netten Menschen es sich bei Troy handelt, der bereitwillig und gerne Auskunft gibt.
How is the tour going so far TOOL? Is it like a Dream come true for you?
It is a dream come true because... we were just flattered that they asked us to join the tour...
They asked you?
Yes, they choose what bands they want to take on tour. And just the fact that they asked us was overwhelming and very cool for us. You know it is completely different than playing clubs and we really enjoy playing clubs because that is what we have always done but this experience is unique and... it is cool to do it. You know, we hang out with TOOL every night, help them drink their beers.
Many people think that TOOL is this mysterious rockband and no one gets inside in their world. So how do you feel about hanging around with those guys?
Personally I see them as very cool and normal people but I think they just stay out of the public eye. I mean, they hardly ever do a photo-shooting or give anyone an interview. So, they have this mystique about them that no one... I mean they prefer to express themselves with their artwork instead of a photo and they have been doing that just for ten years which is... I probably respect that because no band can get away with that today. But... they are really cool dudes and it is very inspiring to tour with them.
What do you think: Is it more difficult to win over a SLAYER or a TOOL Fan?
Well, when we do SLAYER-Tours we come out and play our heaviest stuff. You know? Back to back and really heavy. And we can win over a SLAYER-Fan really easy. For this tour we are playing more of our RocknRoll stuff and some more... more bizarre songs.. they kind of open up peoples headspace. They kind of skill. We are the warm-up, we are the support band. We come out and we try to create a unique headspace for the fans and this is for them to enjoy TOOL, or I would prefer to say we are the setup for TOOL. We hope the people will be like Wow cool, I like it! but the set we are doing just for this tour is created to fit to a TOOL crowd. It is really our best interest to win over anyone that we can. But to answer your question: it is probably just as hard, or juts as easy to win a TOOL-fan as a SLAYER-fan because we write a setlist located to the crowd.
Do you think that this tour is going to push your popularity in Germany? I mean you have played this summer some smaller clubs and now you are playing for thousands of people...
Well it is... You know right now nobody knows us in Germnay. We have a small fanbase now in Germnay and we got to do several festivals three years ago and we have reached a lot of people and than we have done two or three tours through some clubs and each time they are getting bigger and bigger. Next time we come over maybe a hundred people that have seen us tonight or on this tour with TOOL, will really dig us and buy our record and show up to support us the next time we play anywhere in the near of their hometown. You know it is just a cool experience for us for being here and to win new people. Hopefully this tour will help us grow.
How important is it for you to be well-known in Germany?
It is very important, I mean this is an important market and the people are really amazing.
What makes Germany so special for you and many other bands?
When we were the first time over here you know we were just a little band nobody knew us or even heard of us and that was really, really hard to win over any fans and then an owner of a club, or was it our booker back then? I dont know but important is what he said. He said like Once you win over the German crowd than you will have cracked all the rest of Europe. And he is right! Once you have succeeded here, you have made it. It is really an important market to win over. You know? We are doing this for our life and so we like to have fans everywhere. So it is important to us. We are doing this for seven years now and we hope that every tour is getting better and bigger.
How have been the reactions on your new record Blood Mountain? Because now you have a much better support with a major label in the background.
So far it has been everythings being very positive everything we have heard during our tours and the response of the people at the live shows. It is really going well and with the promotion in background it really helps to get the record out in the world.
What do you think about people who say that you have become a sell-out? At least there are some fans.
Yeah I know but I think that does not make any sense because we know what we are doing you know. We were doing this because we wanted to reach everybody with our music and not to get rich or to write pop-songs. We could do that too but we are MASTODON and we will always be MASTODON, you know? We have now the chance to go around the world and in the end, talking about our new record, means to talk about the most fucked up record we ever brought out.
That is true!
(laughs) You see!
Where do you get such crazy ideas for your records and songs? I mean your records are the complete opposite of the mainstream and I have always to think like Damn what the hell makes you write such records!
Well it always starts from the ground. I mean a simple idea can grow to something very large. You know we really start with one idea and then we collect every idea to get there where we want to be. It is a just a good way for us that everybody can contribute something to a song. Basically we only need one idea to start writing a song.
Where do you get the ideas from?
I guess it is the you know there are many, many things going through our heads. I dont know why we write such songs and why certain songs come out in the way they are. I think it is I mean we get this video show of TOOL every night and this kind of takes us out of space (laughs). I mean they got this laser show going on and really tricky imagery and you know, psychedelic stuff and this all in the name of RocknRoll! So Im sure that this will definitely inspire certain ideas. But we wont sound like TOOL. You know, there are so many things that come together when we collect ideas for new songs and it is really hard to explain.
I have seen on your MySpace-Account a picture of you and Borat! So where did you meet him and what do you actually think about the movie?
I havent seen the movie yet but I will definitely watch it when Im back home. It came out when we left for this tour I have been a fan of his show, the Ali G. show, for three years now and it is great and I love it. So when we were doing the Conan OBrian Show, do you know the show?
No I dont know it
It is a Late night talk show, you know? I guess it is just over there very popular and we were the musical guests and he was the normal guest. And so we havent got time to hang out with him but we had some time to take a photo. That was really cool.
I have one question concerning the movie even if you havent seen it yet but do you think that Americans can be as dumb as they are shown in this movie?
Yes, absolutely. I mean the concept of the movie is really genius because it gets the people to say things that they unusually only think. I think it is really important for people, especially for Americans, to see that there are everywhere stupid and fucked up people but it is good for us to see that as well because we are not the best and so on.
Okay, so can you tell me about you future plans? Will you come back to Germany next year?
Yeah, definitely. We will be the whole year on tour. So now we are here in Europe for two more weeks and then we go home for one month and then we leave in January for one month and then we will tour with CONVERGE and this will take us into February and in March we will do two weeks in the UK and one show will be then in Dubai
Yeah, we are going to open up for IRON MAIDEN
IRON MAIDEN in Dubai? This is really bizarre
I know but this is going to be very, very interesting. In April we will go to Australia and there we will support SLAYER and then in May we probably do some more shows in the States and then we will come over here to do some festivals. And we also try to achieve a European club-tour because we need to play alone again after all this support shows.
Isnt it hard for you to be the whole year on the road? I mean you have for sure family, girlfriends and so on.
Yes, you are right. We have our lives, our kids and our families and it is true it is really hard but we always take some time off between the tours, like two or four weeks. But on paper it is like we are leaving in January 25th until February 29th and leaving again in March 10th and you dont see the breaks; it is really like we are the whole time on the road. It is really bizarre sometimes but we really like to travel and see new things and meet new people. That keeps it fresh.
What did you like most about Europe?
We just went to San Marino and you know San Marino?
Yes, it is somewhere in Italy
It was really beautiful there. It was amazing we went there when we had a day off. That was beautiful. And then we also went to Venice a couple days later and I have never been there and it was very, very amazing. We also went to Vienna and had the chance to see some things. And things like that keep it worth. I mean we try to see as much as we can of the countries. The St. Thomas Church in Leipzig was also really amazing
Leider kam in dem Moment der Tour-Manger in die Halle um uns zu unterbrechen, da der Soundcheck von TOOL jeden Moment anfangen sollte und so beendeten wir das Gespräch beim Herausgehen, leider ist die Aufnahme nicht mehr allzu gut zu verstehen. Troy erzählte noch von seiner Bewunderung für europäische Komponisten wie Bach oder Mozart und zeigte auch historischen Bewusstsein als er über sein Besuch der St. Thomas Kirche in Leipzig einiges zu erzählen wusste. Alles in Allem also ein sehr nettes Interview mit MASTODON die wirklich sehr sympathisch sind und denen man zu recht viel Glück auf ihrem weiteren Wege wünscht.