Mastodon’s Troy Sanders: “What’s In Your Control Is The Riffs You Create”

Photo by Alfred Nitsch, via Wikipedia

Last year saw the release of Reluctant Hero, the new album by metal supergroup Killer Be Killed. More than just the sum of its parts, the record was a huge hit, earning critical acclaim and end-of-year list spots from publications across rock and metal (including, it should be noted, The Pit’s 20 Best Albums of 2020). 

When we spoke to Troy during the roll-out of the album, he described the intense process of getting four of metal’s busiest talents — himself, Soulfly’s Max Cavalera, former Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Greg Puciato, and Converge drummer Ben Koller — into a room together. The fact that the guys were all still listening to the record and enjoying it, Troy said, was the ultimate sign that it wasn’t just a fun moment between peers. This led us to wonder: has that ever not been the case? Had Troy ever had a moment like KISS’ The Elder, where he tried to have a record stopped the day before it came out?

“No, thankfully not!” laughed Troy. “That probably just reflects on the focus and the sincerity of the writing process. Because ultimately, what matters most is that internal people involved are super happy with everything. There are moments you might question, but you have to get over that hump. Because what’s in your control is the riffs you create, the songcraft you put together, the lyrics you choose — what becomes a full album. 

“That’s what’s in our power,” he added. “Once everyone’s happy with all of that, then it can be released into the world, because you always want to look back and be super happy and proud of it. If your circle of fans don’t love it, or it’s too odd for people to grasp onto — anything from a huge success to an ultimate let-down to your circle of fans — you can’t control that. You want people to like it, and you hope people love it, but all that’s in your power.”

Read the full interview on our site. Killer Be Killed’s Reluctant Hero is out now.

***

Words by Chris Krovatin