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Interview with Mount Salem
27 April 2015
Mount Salem is a Psychedelic Rock/Doom Metal band from Chicago that formed in 2012. They released their debut album, 'Endless' in 2013 on Metal Blade Records. Roland Oei talked with vocalist and organist Emily Kopplin and guitarist Kyle Morrison before their recent London show to find out more about this exciting new band.
How did the band get together?
E : We have all been friends together for a long time and Cody and I used to live in Milwaukee and we moved to Chicago and met the other guys. We used to be in a band in Milwaukee too. We were in bands previously but never together but we all played music before.
What do you feel makes you stand out from other bands doing the Doom/Psych thing?
K : I don't know. We don't try very hard, we just do our thing. I feel you can hear a little bit of everyone's influences in our music. Me personally I have always been into a lot of instrumental bands and I feel like a lot of our songs are loud and quiet and quite dynamic so I feel that is something that I bring to it and then Mark has been into Heavy music his whole life so that is where our heavy parts come from.
E : The music I have always played has emphasis on writing a catchy melody so I think that brings a little different something to it.
Is there a typical writing process for the band?
K : We just jam and play things over and over and she writes lyrics that way. Usually. We will make a recording and she will listen to it and email it back. We just get together to drink beers and write music.
E : Most of the time I have a little note book and I will be jotting stuff down. Either I will write an organ part first or listen to the music as they are playing the riffs and making the structure and composition of the song and I will be jotting down lyrics. I will tweak them later but for the most part it happens at practice.
You had a six song EP out before the album and put those songs on the album with two newer songs.
K : We actually had more than two new songs but we picked the two that would fit the best with the other ones. I think they all flow pretty well together.
When are you going to start working on your next album?
K : We are going to start writing later in the year. We are pretty busy with personal lives and with touring and all that. It is in the works. We have a pretty good grip on some new songs that will be ready when it is ready, whenever that may be.
How long did it take to write the 6 songs on the EP?
E : Those are the first 6 songs that we wrote.
K : They were written over one summer of practicing a lot. That was during the summer of 2012. We rented a little space room and we just played three days a week every week all summer and pretty much recorded them. That was all the music we had at that point. As that was being mixed and mastered we were writing more stuff so by the time we did the Metal Blade thing and we needed two more songs we already had them ready.
The three guys in the band have a bike shop. How long has that been going?
K : It is just a personal hobby shop. It is not a business. It is just a place where we all hang out and work on motorcycles and stuff.
Emily what do you do when you are not playing or making music?
E : I work in a little boutique in Chicago close to our house. It sells little women's clothing and jewellery.
Emily you learned to play the piano. What grade did you get to and how did learning that help you with playing in this band?
E : Man I should be so much better at piano than I am because I took about 10 years of lessons when I was a kid. I took private piano lessons from when I was 5 until I was 15. I didn't take any exams. Then I thought it was stupid and didn't want to practice anymore and then I picked it up years later and had forgotten most of it. It doesn't translate much to what I am doing in the band.
K : Her music is like another guitar. We don't go wild. It just fills up for solos and lead parts. It is not too organ heavy, I don't think. It is a filler for tone and stuff.
E : It is more supplementary, more than being a focal point of the song.
K : She is essentially the rhythm guitar player but she plays the organ.
E : I don't want it to be too excessive.
Can you please pick two songs from the bands catalogue that someone that has never heard the band before can check out to get an idea of what you guys sound like?
K : I think 'The Tower' and 'Lucid'. I feel 'The Tower' is cool and creepy and dark and has highs and lows and 'Lucid' is just heavy, straight to the point.
Have you got any final message for your fans?
K : If it wasn't for you we wouldn't be here so just keep coming and spread the word and we will be back again if you will have us.