We spoke to Melbourne instrumental rock band Bear the Mammoth about their EP, about their gear, about who they’d love to play with and a whole lot more.
(((o))) In the internet age it’s good to have a band name that people can google easily and Bear the Mammoth fits the bill. How was the band born and who came up with the name?
We had been jamming together for some time and it was always in the back of our minds that we eventually needed to come up with a band name. Names were thrown around but never stuck. Bear The Mammoth was mentioned and it just seemed to stick, so we kept it! No real meaning behind the name, just a bunch of words that we obviously liked.
(((o))) Who is in the band, what instruments do you play and what other roles do you have?
We have 4 members in the band. James Kershaw plays the electric guitar and occasionally has a play with the Roland SP-404 sampler. Ben Sharpe also plays the electric guitar, Stephen Evans plays the Bass and Chris Lobo plays the Drums.
(((o))) Leaving genres aside, how would you describe your music? Is that something you set out to create from the start?
I guess the easiest way to describe our music is Instrumental Rock. We don’t really have a starting point for the music we create. Mostly one person comes up with an idea and we all work on it together by improvising along with it. If we are happy with it, we keep it. Pretty simple formula but it works for us.
(((o))) Tell us about some of your gear – what are your favourite pedals and why do you like them?
James: I have an American Fender Strat and a Japenese Fender Telecaster Custom. I love the Fenders tone and feel and haven’t found another guitar I like to play as much, so I just stick with Fender. My amp is a Ceriatone Dizzy 30, which is a clone of a Matchless DC30 with a few mods. This amp sounds real nice coupled with my 4×12 Fender Supersonic Cab and can make any sound I’m after if I spend long enough fiddling with my pedals! My favourite pedal is my TC electronic Nova Delay. It’s a pretty brainy delay pedal, but can’t do the crazy pitch bends a Boss DD3 can do when you play with the Delay time, so I still keep a DD3 on my board for when I want those wild noises. Apart from those pedals, I really like my Diamond Tremolo and do need to spend some more time alone with it to find out everything it can do.
(((o))) If you could have any instrument you wanted, what would it be?
Steve: Paper plane bass guitar, probably wouldn’t play very well though.
James: Original 60’s Strat
(((o))) Tell us a bit about one of your most memorable gigs and what it meant to you. What do you enjoy most about playing live?
Most memorable show would be the Sans Vox gig we played earlier this year alongside some other amazing bands and which was an eye opener for us. It sure made us feel a lot comfortable to be in a scene where we could appreciate good music and also playing to a reasonably big crowd which also was a surprise to us.
(((o))) Who would you most like to see play live, and why?
James: Bringing Jimi Hendrix back and introducing him to electronic music. That would be nice to see.
Lobo: I would say Joe Morello with the Dave Brubeck quartet as he’s such a phenomenal musician and a badass. Also would be a dream to see Shellac.
(((o))) We’ve got some talented progressive bands in Australia at the moment. Who are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
There are heaps of great bands in Melbourne at the moment! Some we are loving are Xenograft, Tangled Thoughts of Leaving, Cat or Pillar, Scul Hazzards, Laura. I’m sure there are many more out there we haven’t heard as well.
(((o))) You recently released an EP. How and where did you record it? What has the response been like?
We recently recorded our EP at Soundpark Studios for 1 day. We recorded everything live to Tape with Nao Anzai as the engineer. He also mixed and mastered our tracks. We are very happy with the end result and we have had a great response.
We’ve had comments from people from all over the globe and we were recently featured on the Post-Rock facebook and Twitter page which was nice. It’s a pretty good feeling knowing that our music is getting heard and liked by people from all over the world. The response has been really good so far for us.
(((o))) What have you got planned for Bear the Mammoth for the rest of the year, and what are your ambitions beyond that?
Our plans for the rest of the year is to play some gigs, jam heaps and have fun. Our plans beyond that are to one day go to another country and do a tour. That would be amazing and something we look forward to.
(((o))) What’s something people should know about Bear the Mammoth that they won’t find out looking at your fb page?
When a few of us first formed together as a group back in 2005, we were a funk/punk rock band making up some fast funky songs and playing chilli pepper and blink 182 covers in a garage. Was a lot of fun and we still do play them every now and then just for the fun of it.
(((o))) Thanks for your time and good luck with the music!
Posted by Gilbert Potts