Mammüth stands for quality stoner metal. With their album 'Outlander' they have given us something that goes beyond anything standard. Singer Steffen Overaa sheds his light on how this band lightheartedly deals with daily events, the coming about of songs and how they try to lure the casual listener into their fold with the mysterious and the delirious.
'Outlander' is a criminally good album. It's not just my opinion, I see a lot of great reviews online. Tillykke! I believe this is the first time Lords Of Metal is doing an interview with you, so maybe you can tell us a little bit about who you guys are and how and why you created Mammüth.
Mindblowing! Thanks a bunch! We still can’t believe all the positive feedback we´re getting! We always try to stay unaffected by reviews, but in the end, such response is a huge motivator! Mammüth started jamming back in 2007. Chris had some riffs ready which was a stoner oriented culmination of all his experience with different genres. With David´s drum section and Stig´s deep, growling bass it sounded great from day one! We all came together knowing we want to make a massive wall of heavy metal, the rest came by itself and we quickly hit the road! After a couple of years of songwriting and playing gigs, we wanted to expand the musical spectrum by adding another technical guitarist. Stian, our old buddy and colleague from earlier bands, was the perfect match, adding more diversity to the music. Stian has also joined the vocal section and does the artwork.
Your debut album, 'Gone With The Wolves' was released in 2012, almost six years ago. I believe a lot of good things take a long time to create and/or grow, yet I'm wondering why it took six years to write and finish 'Outlander'. Can you tell us a bit about the process you went through and, I always find this very interesting, is Mammüth a dayjob or something you do in your spare time?
Well, after the nine track ‘Gone With the Wolves’ (which also took a long time to make) we decided that we are not to make long full-length albums again. So we made the twelve track full-length ‘Outlander’. And yes- we are spare time musicians, and yes- this album almost killed the band (twice, actually), and no- we do not know how to limit ourselves. That’s the thing, we are having so much fun that we lose track of time and ourselves. Fortunately, we don’t have a label pushing us with deadlines, haha…
Speaking of spare time, when I look at pictures of the band, and of course the general attitude of a lot of metal musicians, you seem like a fun group of guys to be around. What does a typical night out in Drammen mean for you guys? What happens?
A good night starts with a perfect rehearsal with just the right amount of alcohol (there is a fine line there), followed up by a local metal-show, lots of good friends, more alcohol and nude swimming in the city river! If it´s winter, then everything above except the nude swimming… We are quite laid back guys and we are serious about nothing but our craft….
There are a couple of pretty lengthy songs on 'Outlander', and the album clocks out at almost an hour and a half. That's quite a lot of music. Were there any other songs written during the 'Outlander' process that you decided to cut from the album? And if so, what usually happens to material that doesn't make it to the album?
One of the exciting things about music production is how songs morph thru the different stages. At one point the favorite becomes scrap and the underdog is the new hit! Scrap is sometimes forgotten (always contained in a sealed compartment at a top-secret location) or morphed into a new track. During this production we actually discussed scrapping 'Circling Voltures', which we are glad we didn’t, finalizing the guitars and vocals really gave the song the right drive that it needed, plus the drums sounds awesome on that track!
The lyrics are also quite interesting. None of them seem to be about very happy things (and they don't have to). Two songs that particularly got my interest are 'GodEater' and 'SpaceGhost'. Would you mind shedding some light on those two songs? What are those about?
Well, ‘SpaceGhost’ is a fabulation on cosmos; where the unknown redefines the Laws of Physics. There is something intriguing about the border between science and the unknown. Dark matter in form and content! ‘GodEater’ reveals the band as unadulterated atheists. If you have a God of ANY kind, we would love to sink our teeth into it. Yumyum!
When I'm listening to this album I hear a lot of warrior-esque words that conjure images of battles and battles past in a kind of mythological and sometimes even fantasy-like way. In fact, some of the songs take me back to the adventures me and my pals used to have while playing Dungeons & Dragons. I'm curious, where do you find inspiration to write these lyrics?
Fantasy and mythologies are a great source of inspiration, along with other topics/genres (history, science, horror etc). In general, we want the lyrics to take the listener into something vast/strange/distant/mysterious/deranged/deadly/dirty, without getting cheesy. That’s the hard part….
Just for fun: did/do any of you guys play Dungeons & Dragons at all?
Our drummer David is a real gamer and fan of Magic the Gathering, Hero Quest, Dragon Age an such, but never into Dungeons & Dragons (I think it’s too difficult for him).
In general, music evokes strong emotions and feelings in people. As a teenager I loved the energy of heavy/power metal but during the years I have come to appreciate the melancholy of, for instance, doom metal a lot more. To me, your music drifts a bit in between these two (emotion-wise). Do you agree?
Not only do we agree, but we love to love to hear that! Having this contrast is one of our main pillars in Mammüth. And you are absolutely right, with age comes the longing for something more than just brutality, and there is so much more to metal than just pure power. On the other hand, the search for more extreme music never seems to stop haha…
When I first listened to 'Outlander' the songs sounded very straightforward, but listening to it over and over again it becomes clear that there's much more to it. I usually don't bother to categorize music into one style, even though this can lead to very interesting/annoying/funny conversations among metalheads. Your music has, among other names, been called stoner and doom. I wonder what your personal interpretation of both these styles is. What is doom and what is stoner to you? (It's okay if it involves drugs, we're a Dutch e-zine.)
I think it´s clear to anyone who knows these genres that we do not stand with both our feet in any of them. Stoner, doom, sludge and prog are all genres we are comfortable with, but too much focus on this dilutes the target we really are aiming for, which is to craft our music like milk from our own udder, with no limitations what so ever! (The drug part can be discussed over a beer haha…)
Can we expect a tour from you in 2018? I for one would very much like to experience your music live.
Playing gigs is the main focus for 2018, and we are working towards booking agents. We would absolutely LOVE to come to Netherlands and rock out!