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Mount Carmel interview

Mount CarmelThe dudes who make up Columbus, Ohios’ Mount Carmel are fellas of few words; or at least that’s what I can gather from this scantily worded e-mail message I got back after requesting an interview. I stare and stare at it wondering what the fuck I’m gonna make out of these five hundred or so words they gave back as a response. I check some notes I took drunkenly one night while listening to their debut LP on the Siltbreeze label and it’s just incoherent drivel. I’m really at a loss here. I guess it’s up to me – the writer –to actually do my job and buck up to convey this bands’ power and let their greatness be known to you, the lowly reader. The things I do for little to no money….really…

The real difficulty here is that I have nothing to say. And there really isn’t much to say in all honesty. Well, I guess I can say that when I laid the Mount Carmel album on the table a few weeks ago and let ‘er rip, I just stood there staring at the disc in disbelief while it span around and around in wonderful monotony. It wasn’t until the fifth or sixth spin that I actually gave a shit who these guys were and how the hell they made this record. Prior to that, I was too wrapped in just enjoying it to even care.

Mount Carmel is comprised of brothers Pat and Matt Reed on bass and guitar with seventeen year old drummer Kevin Skubak and they’ve been playing for about a year. The record they just dropped is nothing short of a gemstone for a simple reason; it’s real and honest with no intentions to join any clubs. Sonically it’s awesome because it sounds like Terry Reid fronting a band on Holyground (That ones for all you collector types who need that sorta validation) It’s a testament to the notion of a sound that will be timeless as long as the people behind it fucking believe in it. And yeah…I think that’s about it.

On with the interview…

Tony Rettman: I guess just give me a basic rundown of the band, when it formed, etc. I know two of your guys are brothers, so that explains how you know each other, but how did you get the drummer…off of CraigsList or something, right? Were there any bands you guys were in that were of significance prior to Mount Carmel?

Pat Reed: Yes Matt and I are brothers. Yes, we first contacted Kevin on CraigsList. We were in no other bands before this one. Mount Carmel has been doing it for about a year now.

TR: What was the inspiration to start the band? Do you guys have…like…uncles or dads or something that turned you onto 60s/70s rock? How did you find out about these sounds and what spurred your interest in them? When you formed the band, was it a conscious decision to do a power trio thing?

PR – We had no choice. There was only inspiration. We got into the music through a gradual process. We knew what we liked and we dug deep into it…still digging deep (like an Alabama tick). The sounds have always been in us, we are just now figuring out how to express them. The power trio thing just happened, it was never a decision.

TR: The first thing that hits you when you put on your LP is how authentic and timeless it is. It could have been made at any point in music history and it would still knock your socks off. What do you think are both the technical and organic reasons for this? (ie — the studio you recorded in, the way you know each other, records you like, etc.)

PR – The record is what it is. We played kinda tight that day (not very well) and recorded it in like 3 hours. Mostly 1 and 2 takes. We try to be very careful with what musical decisions we make, but at the same time we don’t want think about it. We want to feel it. Everything has to be based on feel. When you play with emotion you are playing with truth. Blues is truth.

TR: How’s the band accepted where you live? Tom Lax painted a picture for me that there is an element there that does not dig on you for one reason or another. Care to expand on that? Do you pay attention to crap like that or do you let it go?

PR – We are only focused on what matters to us and the people who love music like we do.

TR: On the flipside of that, who has been supportive of you guys around there? How did someone like Mike Rep come into the picture?

PR: People have been incredibly supportive. Mike Rep saw us play and liked us. He decided to hang out for a bit.

TR: How did the deal with Siltbreeze come about? How did Tom find out about you?

PR: There’s no deal. Tom wanted to put out our record and we said yes. I think Tom found out about us through Mike Rep.

TR: Any plans to play outside of Ohio? East Coast? How was playing in Texas at South by Southwest?

PR: We plan on touring around the east coast for sure. Texas was tiring and eye opening.

TR: Do you guys delve deep into the sounds that came out of the late 60s/early 70s? What are some current favorite discoveries?

PR: We try to. Right now I’m on Delaney and Bonnie, Peter Green (always) and rare live Cream recordings.

TR: Any more plans for recording? Will you be sticking with Siltbreeze?

PR: We will be recording more soon. We have our second record written already. We have no clue.

by TONY RETTMAN on 6/21/2010 in Interviews | Tags: ,