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Mastodon’s Troy Sanders on Working With Maroon 5 Producer Mike Elizondo

Cindy Frey

This week Mastodon releases their long-awaited fifth studio album, ‘The Hunter.’ The Atlanta, Ga. quartet is one of the world’s leading hard rock outfits, boasting sold-out headlining tours, Grammy nominations and the kind of gushing album reviews usually reserved for bands like The Arcade Fire and Radiohead – in other words, non-metal ones.

When information about ‘The Hunter’ starting hitting the Internet, one piece of news turned more heads than any other. Mastodon announced that they would be working with Mike Elizondo, a well-respected producer known for his work with artists like Fiona Apple and Maroon 5.

Noisecreep had a chance to chat with the band and asked how the Mastodon/Elizondo team-up came about. “He approached us when we were in the early stages of writing ‘The Hunter’ album and flew down to Atlanta and took us out for some tacos. He got some points right off the bat from that,” laughs Mastodon bassist-vocalist Troy Sanders.

“Mike sat us down and told us he was a big fan of the band and then gave us some ideas on what he would bring to the table if we chose to work with him on the album. A few of those things aligned perfectly with some of the ideas we already had about what we wanted to do with the record. We were on the same page with him on the direction we wanted to take sonically and the things we wanted to achieve with ‘The Hunter.’ So yeah, we hit it off with Mike right away.”

Watch ‘Curl of the Burl’ From Mastodon

Elizondo’s eclectic musical background scored a lot of points with Mastodon. “Mike grew up playing bass in bands and then went to college to study upright bass. From there he went to work with Dr. Dre and everybody else. So it was great having someone in the studio working with us that also was a musician. We feel that we’re not a one-dimensional band and we wanted someone to come into the project that had an open mind to music,” says Sanders.

Sanders described working with Elizondo once they entered the studio. “Since Mike’s such a phenomenal bassist, I asked him if I could take a month off and have him play all of my parts, but he said no [laughs]. Seriously speaking, he just made us feel really comfortable and was open to all of our ideas. Our kind of music has so much going on, but he got it. We love throwing curveballs every now and then and we did that on ‘The Hunter.’ Working with Mike was an amazing experience and once people hear the album, they’ll know we made the right choice.”

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