Black Mountain: A return to the beautiful beast

by Jared Curtis

For more than 10 years, Canadian psychedelic rockers Black Mountain have been turning out tasty psychedelic/stoner-metal jams that create trips of all dimensions. Fans, who have been clamoring for new music since 2010’s Wilderness Heart, are in for some good news — the wait will soon be over as the band is currently working on their fourth album.

“We want a fresh perspective for each album, which is part of the reason why we don’t release record after record,” said Joshua Wells (drums/keys), during some recording downtime at Avast Studio in Seattle. “It’s kind of hard to talk about it because we’re in the middle of recording it, but I will say that this sounds nothing like the last record.”

The various members that make up Black Mountain – Stephen McBean (guitar/vocals), Amber Webber (vocals), Jeremy Schmidt (keyboards), Jonny Ollsin (bass) and Wells – all have various side projects, which keep them busy when Black Mountain is on hiatus, but those projects also fuel the creative return to the mountain when the time is right.

“We usually all drift away and do other things,” Wells said. “But after a year or so, we all get the urge to return to the beast and make another album. All of our side projects fuel us returning to Black Mountain and working on a new album,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

which is a very intense project.”

The band has been working on the album for the past year and hope to have it finished some time this summer. With so many cooks in the kitchen, writing an album can be tough, but Wells knows it’s the right process for the band.

“Everyone brings ideas in and we kick them around and some develop into songs and others don’t,” he said. “Other times, we’ll just jam on something for a while and eventually a song will appear.”

Although the new record won’t be available for a while, fans can return to the band’s roots on June 23 as Jagjaguwar Records is rereleasing their debut self titled album as part of a 10 year anniversary deluxe set which features two LPs and a collection of B-sides, demos and rarities.

“While we were working on this new album we kind of had a realization that it had been 10 years since the first album came out, so we thought it was a good time to reissue the record,” Wells said. “It was our first record and we had no expectations when we put it out, so to have it take off like none of us expected, we thought it was only right to reissue it.”

Wells added the first record is exactly as it was released and the second record contains plenty of unheard material and rare releases.

“The label approached us and we all kind of opened our vaults and found some cool stuff. We choose some demos and outtakes that really show an accurate snapshot of who we were as a band at the time,” he said. “We put a lot of thought and really curated the second LP, so it’s filled with great stuff including a seven-inch we did that only had a few hundred copies made. I’m excited for the fans to get their hands on it.”

With a new album comes plenty of touring, so to prepare, the band will head out on a few dates this summer in the US and Europe. Some of the stops will include large, festival shows, but others will include small intimate venues like when the band rolls through Bellingham on Thursday, June 4 to play at The Shakedown.

Wells enjoys playing for massive amounts of people, but he also loves the feeling of an intimate show, like the band finds in Bellingham.

“We really enjoy playing Bellingham because it’s an opportunity to play a great show so close to home,” he said. “Every time we play in Bellingham it’s a nostalgic trip to when we were younger and we’d come to town and see The Jesus Lizard at the 3B, it was only 40 minutes from home, but it’s in another country, so it feels exotic.  We always look forward to coming back to town because we know it’s going to be a great show.”

Published in the May 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine