Mount Saturn: Heavy metal emotion

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by Caitlin Cohen

Mount Saturn is definitely bringing emotion with its doom metal glory. Started eight months ago, bandmates include Cody Barton (bass), Ray Blum (guitar), Tanner Scinocco (drums), and Joslynn Vasquez (vocals). No strangers to the local scene, Cody, Ray, and Tanner are also in Crystal Myth, a group more on the proto-metal spectrum. With Mount Saturn, their focus and influence centers on Joslynn’s lyrical writing.

“We’re definitely more of a band that I think is based on providing a melodic function for carrying a song than some of the other stuff we do which is a little more fast and a little more out there. This has the general function of serving the purpose of the song and acting as a foundation for Joslynn’s writing,” Ray said.

Joslynn’s words touch on women’s issues, equality, smashing the patriarchy, encouraging women, and also one song about dragons. She draws influence from the band, King Woman, and the emotional side of heavy metal.

“Making people feel something inspires me. I definitely write with a purpose to elicit emotion… (Our style of music) is big, it’s loud, it can be angry, it’s a good vessel for conveying emotion, and it’s fun,” Joslynn said.

Eliciting emotion is a key element for creating together and opening up the audience to the topics in the lyrics. The emotional element also helps listeners connect to the music on a personal level and add more inclusivity within the genre.

“It’s kind of like a feedback loop; if I feel like people are into then I get into it. It just sounds so much better. Involving the audience in issues that matter and experiencing it with them is a great feeling,” Cody said.

“I also think it’s important for people to see people like themselves be portrayed in heavy metal. I think there are a lot of women who really like heavy metal but they are underrepresented. It’s kind of a boy’s game sometimes,” Joslynn shared. “I think it’s important that everybody is represented within the genre. I want someone in the audience to see us perform and think, ‘I could do that!’”

Although this project is fairly young, the members are getting more of a feel of the project’s purpose and true sound through frequent band practices. Their current formula for song writing is improvisation, jamming, and recording everything they play.

This approach makes it easier for tracking progress, but more importantly the Mount Saturn members are discovering how their personal and individual values come together to form one unit. Their creative connection is helping them learn from and more about each other.

“As we start to create, it’s really interesting to see the ominous melodic changes that ominous subject material makes for music that has a certain amount of weight to it. It’s interesting seeing how we juxtapose the emotional feel of the song with the volume it gets play at,” Ray said. “Even when we were playing together before the interview, we were like ‘Oh! That’s different.’ It’s interesting to see how a bunch of separate influences become things that have vital interest to all of us.”

Their songwriting process parallels with how they perform live together. The group as a whole relies on each other for playing off of the feelings coming from vocal or instrumental cues. This has helped build a solid foundation for the band, and with each other. Ray feels that this project is a “happy medium” of playing with friends and playing with people who have a similar vision—they make music they enjoy and enjoy the people they play with.

“Fifty percent of being a part of a band is finding the right chemistry with the right combination of people. All the bands that are going somewhere and make something of themselves may not get along all the time but they’re a close-knit group of people—we get along really well (laughs),” Tanner said. “They like to hang out, they’re friends, they enjoy what they do together, and they enjoy each other’s company. We’ve already got that down.”

Go see Mount Saturn in action at the What’s Up! 20th Anniversary Show on March 3 at the Hub. Check out their Facebook page for updates, and listen up at https://mountsaturn.bandcamp.com/.