Chattanooga, TN-based power pop/garage band Mythical Motors – comprised of Matt Addison, Mike Brown, Brad Smith, & Johnny Wingo – might be gearing up for the release of their new album, but we were a bit impatient. So we caught up with Matt briefly to chat about what’s to come, the mystery of Bigfoot, and so much more! Check out the fun interview below!
What was your first musical memory, and do you think it has any bearing on who you are as an artist now?
Matt Addison: I’m not sure if has an impact on me now, but I have a memory of being around 4 years old, and running around and trying to make up songs. I think I had been watching The Muppets on TV, and I wanted to make up a song about the characters I had seen. I didn’t attempt to write a proper song, however, until 10 years later or so.
Do you think being from Tennessee has any bearing on your sound?
Matt: Probably not. In high school, I discovered indie bands like Guided By Voices, Sebadoh, Superchunk, Pavement, etc. There wasn’t a lot of awareness in Tennessee of those types of bands, so that just meant I had to dig a little deeper to discover new music.
You have such an interesting blend of influence in your sound. We honestly feel transferred back in time when we listen to your work. What made you choose to go in this direction with your music, as a team?
Matt: I think it occurs somewhat naturally when you’re a fan of a wide range of music. We’ve all been huge fans of rock music for many years, and we celebrate what Robert Pollard (of Guided By Voices) calls the 4 P’s of rock – pop, punk, prog, and psychedelic.
Elevated Levels was released last month. What made you choose to include 22 songs?
Matt: Our last album, The Life Stage, had 26 songs, so I had originally planned for the follow-up to be much shorter. But, I ended up with around 30 songs or so. So, I chose songs from that group that flowed well together, and it seemed to work.
What’s the most integral track on the album for each of you?
Johnny Wingo: “Exalt The Highway”
Brad Smith: “Endless Distance of Belief”
Mike Brown: “Endless Distance of Belief”
Matt: “One Seventh Of A Shadow.”
“Shape Shifting Nightmare Celebration” is one of our favorites. What inspired that track, specifically?
Matt: “Shape Shifting Nightmare Celebration” is one of the most unusually structured songs on the album, and was probably inspired by Robert Pollard’s solo material. He has a penchant for writing songs that are inspired by progressive rock, with very unconventional song structures. So, I was attempting to write something in a similar vein, where the song does not follow a predictable verse/chorus structure. The song’s coda was even taken from a completely separate recording, and added in later.
What’s the recording process like for you guys? Does it start with a hook? Are the lyrics all written out first? Do you just play and sing until something makes sense?
Matt: I have several different methods for writing and recording. I’ll usually start with a riff or a finished guitar instrumental, and try to write a melody over that. Then, I’ll write lyrics that fit the melody. Other times, the lyrics come first, but I usually start the process with a song title in mind. I keep an ongoing list of titles, and I find them to be a constant source of inspiration for songs. Another method that I’ve developed recently is to attempt to write a melody for a complete set of lyrics. I’ll then record the song A Capella as a reference, and then complete the song by assigning a chord progression to it later. I find this method particularly exciting. It’s fun and easy.
Any fun anecdotes about the recording process for Elevated Levels?
Matt: Actually, the first thing that comes to mind was not fun at all. The hard drive on my 16 track recorder crashed during the recording of the most complex song on the album, “Over Caravan Park.” I probably spent more time on that song than anything else I’ve written, and once I purchased a replacement machine, it had to be re-recorded from scratch. Not fun. But, it worked out, and the version that appears on the album is the second attempt.
If you could choose any movie or TV series to have your music placed in, which would you choose and why?
Matt: The Man In The High Castle or The Handmaid’s Tale would be pretty incredible. I’m a big David Lynch fan, so it would be amazing to be included in one of his projects.
If you could have your dream rider list, what would be included on it?
Matt: Beer, maybe some tacos. We’d be happy to just have a rider.
Calzones or pizza? Substantiate your claim.
Matt: Pizza. I mean…it’s pizza!
Do you believe in Sasquatch? Why do you think we should or shouldn’t?
Matt: I don’t know much about Sasquatch, so I have to defer to the wisdom of the late Mitch Hedberg on this one. He said, “I think Bigfoot is blurry, that’s the problem. It’s not the photographer’s fault. Bigfoot is blurry, and that’s extra scary to me. There’s a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside.”
Keep up with Mythical Motors – and maybe Bigfoot – here.