I feel as if I am floating. I am waiting suspended in the internet for the three lovely ladies from Mountain Man to contact me. I am a little nervous, it feels a bit like a blind date with someone you already know. Mountain Man was formed earlier this year at Bennington College (alma mater!), and have been getting some great press. They went on tour this summer, and I was dying to talk to them about their exciting adventures and beautiful music. After a slew of technical difficulties, we finally connected over the phone, and it was two, not three, as Alex couldn’t be with us. With my ear pressed to the phone, and my phone pressed to the computer, here is what Amelia, Molly and I talked about.
Danger Dome: So you guys are doing some pretty exciting stuff, and kind of blowing up which is pretty great. and I was just wondering, how did you guys get together and sort of decide that, you know, you wanted to be making music together?
Molly: Well, Amelia and Alex had been working together for a long time, and when I took a term off, I was living with one of my best friends and there was a guitar there and only the first two or three strings worked on it, and so I wrote a song on the first two strings of the guitar, and then I came and visited Bennington, and I was singing in the Dewey living room and Amelia came down, and Amelia and I …
Amelia: We weren’t friends at all, we actually hated each other
M: Well I wouldn’t say we hated each other, we had like really intense vibes
A: Yeah, and so she played this song and I fell totally in love with it, and kind of made her sing it …
M: She kind of trapped me in her room, and I was like “What the fuck is going on?” But it didn’t really matter, because when we were singing with each other we had an understanding going on.
A: Yeah, and so then I showed it to Alex, and then we were planning the first opening show for my house, and we decided to play that show together and taught each other all of our songs.
M: Automatically we listened to each other and ….
A: got it. And Bleeker (of Alex Bleeker and the Freaks) was the one who actually suggested we form a band, I think.
M: Well he was like, “it’s gonna go somewhere, you need a name”. I think we knew something was happening. And Alex was like “Mountain Man” and we were like …
A: Fuck yeah
DD: How does it work having three separate musical minds coming together, and other than going off of songs that you all had individually, how does it work to work together as a group?
A: We would just get together and we would sing like an easy base song, and then we would show each other our ideas, and we all kind of write our own parts, our own harmony parts to each others melodies
M: We started trying to write songs together, like lyrics together, but we don’t have any finished songs so far. It was hard but we had this understanding.
A: We all write songs mostly about the same things. Molly’s songs are really intense, and Alex’s songs are very nostalgic and mine are about insects or weird. But they cover the same topics, you know mostly about womenhood.
DD: I think it’s kind of wonderful and a little bit ironic that your name is Mountain Man and you’re three chicks, and maybe you get that a lot.
M: We were walking in Bar Harbor when we were doing our tour, walking down to the ocean and we were like “If we could say our band is about anything, what would it be?” and we were like “different ways of being a woman”. And I think we are all really strong women and we represent that in different ways.
DD: So how was your tour this summer?
A: Dude, it was so fucking sick
A: We were traveling in like a tiny car, you know with one guitar, just bouncing from friends’ houses
M: We listened to prairie home companion, and everyone was so incredibly hospitable, we went swimming in lakes all over the east coast, drank a lot of good beer, discovered that budweiser tastes like bananas. Everybody responded so well.
A: Total bros were like so down to hear us play, it was really nice. I just found a piece of bacon in my pocket.
DD: (laughing, a lot) Do you think that being on tour together in such a small car taught you guys anything about yourselves, or solidified you more as a group?
A: We learned how to be a family.
M: There was a lot of open communication, about how we presented ourselves to each other, and also how we present ourselves to other people as a band and what that means.
A: Particularly because our band is so much about playing live, since I was the manager, it was weird to enter a new performance space and be like, “HI! We’re Mountain Man!” and struggling between performance and actually being humans and stuff. That’s what we’d like to be able to do, make a really chill environment, and that’s hard when you’re in venues and you’re not in someone’s kitchen.
DD: If live performance is your ideal, do you think that recording is representative of your music?
A: It’s really different. One thing I love is that when we sing together, you can see us breathe together, and we try to become one entity, and usually it just works like that. And recordings, I look at it as a way to get people to shows.
M: I like the idea of music that we have put so much of ourselves into, and so much good energy into, playing out in the world. I think that it really depends on the person listening to the recording. I think that they can get as much out of it as they want to.
DD: I don’t know what Alex has been doing since she graduated, but is she around?
A: She’s in Charlottesville
DD: How’s that working for you guys?
M: We’re gonna make it work.
A: Yeah we’re going to try to make it work. I mean, we’re still in school you know, Alex needs to live her own life. We want to make a very defined space for our band in our lives.
M: It is in our lives and I don’t think that the three of us can move away from it. It’s natural and it’s unnatural at the same time. The timing sucks.
A: We’re going to put out a 7″ in late December/early January with Underwater Peoples.
M: We’re trying to do a tour over Field Work Term (January and February) I want to do it on the west coast, where I’m from, but you’re all on the east coast.
DD:So how do you guys feel about that “Animal Tracks” cover Bleeker did?
A: You know, I think it’s pretty sick, I think it’s Bleeker just expressing love. Bleeker’s version of “Animal Tracks” has some different lyrics that he wrote.
DD: I don’t have any other specific questions for you guys, unless there’s anything you’re dying to tell me. But I’m really glad it’s working out for you guys, I think you chicks are awesome.
M: I’d like to say that it would have been great if Alex could have been here too because she is so articulate and focused and amazing.
A: We feel good.
DD: I feel good too.
Be sure to check out these beautiful harmonies from these beautiful ladies, and over at their bandcamp you can download high quality mp3s and pick your price! Hear the aforementioned “Animal Tracks” cover here.