Mastodon: How We Determine Who Sings Which Part in Our Songs

"We have three distinct voices, so we kind of let the music dictate on who fits where," the musician says.

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Mastodon: How We Determine Who Sings Which Part in Our Songs
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Bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders talked about the distribution of vocal parts in Mastodon, explaining to Full Metal Jackie:

"One of the beauties of Mastodon is that we have a three-way vocal tag team.

"It's created very selflessly, meaning if I write a certain set of lyrics, but Brent [Hinds]' voice fits better on the part, then Brent will take those lyrics and that's his part.

"A lot of time Brann [Dailor] will write lyrics for something but the voice that calls for it is my voice, then I will take it. It's very interchangeable as to who writes what and who performs what. That's a great quality to have as opposed to, 'Hey, I wrote it, so I'm singing it.' That doesn't fly and ultimately we all want the greater good of the song no matter who performs it. 

The musician continued: "We have three distinct voices, so we kind of let the music dictate on who fits where.

"If it's got this '70s, very airy bridge to it - that's going to be our drummer Brann's voice. If something is in the line of a gruff Melvins approach or something, that would be me.

"So we just kind of put the placement of people and our voices where we feel like it belongs. That's a really cool thing that we have."

As an example of the boys doing their singing thing, you can check out "Sultan's Curse," the lead single off new album "Emperor of Sand." It's Troy during verses, Brent in the chorus, and Brann in the bridge.

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12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vicryl 2.0
      "If it's got this '70s, very airy bridge to it - that's going to be our drummer Brann's voice. If something is in the line of a gruff Melvins approach or something, that would be me.  Troy: if theres a part that needs a dying cat, that would be Brent's. 
    alex720
    Yeah, now if only Brent could actually sing his parts live then it would be fantastic.
    JaguarGod
    That will always be what sets Mastodon apart from any other metal band is their use of different vocals for different parts. Whether Troy is belting out a monster chorus, Branns doing his Genesis-style singing, Brent is doing his southern grittiness or they bring Scott Kelly in to destroy, it'll always be a Mastodon thing.
    SithCatt
    I love all three voices. But i think mastodon when i hear troy or brent. Not that brann can sing amazingly though. He has seemed to be a trend in the last to albums gaining more and more singing as it goes on. Reminds me of SoaD. The last couple of albums were awsome but sometimes you think...wtfff where the hell Serj? To me Serj had the distintive System voice. You think system when you hear him. As is troy and brent with Mastodon. Daren and Brann can noth indeed sing and pull it off amazingly. But they..i duno to my ear seem more generic than Serj,troy or Brent.
    magnum1117
    Totally agree, I really love it when Brann (and Daron) sing as support rather than lead (with some exceptions though, like stembreather for example)
    velcrozombie
    I'd go further and say that Daron's lead vocals were fairly weak. His harmonies were on-point and he could add character to a song when he was used in short bursts (like the bridge in "Needles" from Toxicity, for example), but it was a mistake to give him the lead vocal in something like "Lonely Day" - he just can't carry a whole song. OTOH, I feel that Brann is strong enough to take the lead for the majority of a song - he's the best clean singer in the band and his skill gives Troy room to handle the gruffer stuff and Brent to handle the weird, melancholy passages - it makes for a nice balance when they do it right.
    Swanman24
    Great band, it's always nice hearing when bands can work together properly instead of the usual drama.
    DiseaseAlex
    I've been listening to the new album on repeat for probably too long. So fucking good