The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher to get the latest on Mastodon’s forthcoming album and to discuss how the band’s song ‘Island’ found its way onto the new ‘Monsters University’ movie. A couple of excerpts from the chat can be found below.
Kelliher began by describing the sound of the new album: “There’s a little bit of experimentation going on, a really good rock vibe going on, I think. Somebody told me that one of the riffs sounded like old Scorpions meets Slayer, which was cool.”
He confirmed the band had written nearly 30 potential tracks and credited the band’s flow of creativity on their new-found writing style: “We’re trying to take a different approach to writing and not to overthink it and make something too complicated, too technical. We’re just trying to let the music flow.”
Mastodon’s song ‘Island’ from the band’s 2004 album ‘Leviathan’ appears in the new children’s Hollywood blockbuster movie, ‘Monsters Inc.’ Kelliher said both the band and the films creators were excited about the collaboration: “They needed a really heavy song for a scene in the movie where the mom is listening to her music, and she’s a monster obviously, so she has to listen to some kind of crazy monster thing,” Kelliher explained. “So we had a lot of fans over there at Pixar and they were like, ‘Yeah, we really want you to do a song and we’re all fans and we’re really excited to have you guys do something with the movie.’”
Kelliher recalled the band initially wrote a new song for the film: “At first they wanted us to write something separate, which we did, but then last-minute they wanted to change it back to the ‘Island’ song.”
In a statement released online, ‘Monsters University’ filmmakers explained how and why ‘Island’ and Mastodon were chosen for the film: “There is a great moment in ‘Monsters University’ when we thought it would be funny if the tunes were some of the most intense heavy metal imaginable. Mastodon was the obvious choice. They show off an unexpected monstrous side for one of our great new characters.”