In this interview spotlight, I chat with Knoxville based rockers Mass Driver about the latest project, motivations, challenges and more.
Full Q&A along with links and music below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
The guys in Mass Driver are from different parts of the country. Sean is from the fighting city of Chicago. Rodney is from the Harrisburg Pa area. And Austin, well he’s from all over the place. New York, Texas, California and, New Mexico are places that he’s called home at one point or another. But for various reasons we all wound up in Knoxville TN. We came together like freaking Voltron to form this rock and roll monster!!!
As far a the type of music we play….it’s rock music….fuzzy riff based rock music. We get put into the “stoner rock” category from time to time, probably because we prefer to play huge amps and drums. But we don’t see ourselves that way. It’s just straight up ass shaking, head banging rock and roll.
One of the great things about Mass Driver is that we haven’t painted ourselves into a particular sub-genre of rock music. We fit in with metal and hard rock bands on big stages. And punk and hardcore bands in DIY spots. Because of that we’ve had a lot of cool opportunities and experiences that most bands probably miss out on.
We don’t take ourselves very serious when it comes to song content, and, well, ourselves. More than a few songs are about, or at least mention Atari games, fast food and robots. We could say that we try to make it fun for our listeners…. But the truth is that we keep it fun for us. Everyone else having a good time is just a by-product of that. What’s the point in playing music in a band if you’re not having fun? If you’re listening Mass Driver and banging your head and having a great time then we’re all winners!
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to keep going?
Being loud and playing fuzzed out riffs is probably our biggest motivation. It’s the simple things, ya know? We’re also all great friends which has been tremendous.
The band also play’s together in an instrumental surf rock band, The Appalachian Surf Team, so that says a lot about how well we work together and get along. Both bands have been going strong for five years so there has to be something more than kickass riffs going on there!
How is this new release different than previous ones? Were you trying to accomplish anything specific?
First and foremost the production and recording is light years beyond what we’ve done in the past. Brack Owens over at Ridgetone Recording Studio is an audio master. He’s also a phenomenal musician so he is able to make suggestions on trying different things that really add to the track. He’s a super chill guy that’s great to work with. We can’t give Ridgetone studio and Brack enough praise.
We had a few motivations behind this track. The first was recording in a better studio and setting. Our previous albums were recorded in the loft of a barn, that had a hot rod shop on the bottom floor. Which sounds cool and all…but it doesn’t make for the best environment to record in. Stopping the recording so that the guys under us could fire up an engine can make for an “interesting” experience.
Our original plan for the release of this track, Jurassic Mutha, was that it was to coincide with a video with the Hard Knox Roller girls, the local roller derby team. Unfortunately we ran into several challenges. The main one being the team losing their practice space. So when the dust settled, we decided to go the animated route for the video. Which turned out to be pretty funny and different from anything else that we’ve ever done.
Name one or two challenges you face as an indie musician in this oversaturated, digital music age? How has technology helped you (since we know it does help)?
Advertising is how most people nowadays find new or even old music. Beyonce doesn’t make timeless songs, she makes music for Toyota Commercials. And that’s fine it’s pop music and that’s where the money is. Not everything needs to be a “Dream on” or “Stairway to Heaven”….which come to think of it are probably advertising aftershave or bug spray somewhere now. Hell we just wrote a song called “T-minus Rock and Roll” which would be perfect for an antacid or tampon advert. So if you know anyone on Madison avenue feel free to pass on our contact info!
The challenges in the digital age are the same as they were before downloading and streaming became a thing. Getting your music into people’s ear holes. The cool thing about the time we live in is that the individual or bands have more control over getting their stuff out there. Sure there is still a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to compensating artists for the work that they produce. But the fact that we can put out a song and/or video on our own and have thousands upon thousands of people see and hear it is pretty freaking cool.
Where is the best place to connect with you online and discover more music?
We’re all over the place. Name a social media platform and we’re on it. You can check us out on our own site at www.massdriverrock.com
We’re on Facebook.
Instagram at @massdriverband
Twitter at @massdriver1
You can also stream our music on Spotify
And check out our live performances and other music videos on Youtube.
Anything else before we sign off?
We encourage everyone reading this to get out and support your scene. Whether it’s going to a house show, bar or whatever. Bands and musicians put a ton of work into what they’re doing and they could really use your support. Buy a sticker or a T shirt, record or CD. Give them some love because they’re busting their ass to get this stuff to you. There is a lot of great music out there so don’t be afraid to find it.
We really appreciate the opportunity to yak on and on about the band. We have a lot of awesome stuff coming up so find us the Interwebs and keep up to date on all of out happenings.