There are a few bands (if any) whose development excites me as much as Feather Mountain’s. The progressive metal four-piece recently announced they are entering the studio to record material for their upcoming album, so it’s time for the hype to get big again.
I was incredibly honoured and privileged to get a pass in their studio and get the chance to ask them a few questions about the new stuff they are working on. Things are looking bright for the band, and there is a lot to look forward to in many aspects. The interview below goes over what the band is currently planning and working on, the process and inspiration behind the new album, and the journey they walked since their debut album Nidus.
Photo by Hecticmundo
Feather Mountain is a Copenhagen-based progressive metal band with striking potential and possibly the best debut you could ask for. Nidus impresses with coherence and beautiful fusion of diverse elements – melodic instrumental build-ups, mellow vocals, aggressive parts, and absolute sync between different instruments. The seven songs on the album take you on an immersive journey and construct a world of well-expressed emotions including glory, hope, devastation, and dismay.
Hear how it all started and check my review on the album
I talked to the band in June – the guys were kind enough to welcome me at their rehearsal space and displayed outstanding humbleness creating a friendly, but professional atmosphere. Since discovering their music and meeting them, Feather Mountain quickly turned into one of the bands whose development I couldn’t wait to observe.
I was ecstatic when they offered me a chance to visit their studio to catch up and talk about the new album, which they are now in the process of recording.
Based on the conversation Christian, Jens, Andreas, Mikkel, and I had, Nidus as a debut album, and the short teasers the band put out on social media I have solid reasons to consider the upcoming album a gigantic step forward for the band. The boys have been hard at work, and they are elevating their music by focusing on getting better as a group and bringing in a trustworthy team of collaborators.
This year has been a rollercoaster for most of us, Feather Mountain included, but it seems things are moving forward for the band. I am sure they will get far – those guys work hard, they overcome every obstacle on their way, and they deserve to conquer the scene. It’s just a matter of time, and the new album is bound to bring them closer to that.
Once again, huge thank you to Christian and Andreas Dahl-Blumenberg, Mikkel Lohmann, and Jens Baalkilde Andersen for being the humblest, most open and welcoming band out there and taking the time, energy, and interest to make this interview amazing. In case you missed out, follow Feather Mountain on Spotify, Facebook, and Instagram, support them on Bandcamp (sick merch available, by the way), and read our first interview.
Photo by Hecticmundo
You are in the process of recording the new album – I assume you are eager to put it out in the world? When can we expect a new release from Feather Mountain or is it too early for such announcements?
Jens: Official announcements are hard to make, but we hope to get the first single out in the summer.
Mikkel: We have plans for multiple singles and videos if all goes well.
Andreas: We want to work with different crews for the videos. We have been discussing two different formats – we want to make an animated video and another one in the style of In Passing. There are different influences we want to try out.
Christian: We try to plan as much as we can but let’s see how it goes. I think the singles are going to be songs from this session we are doing now. We are recording three songs this and next weekend, and it is probably going to be some of them that will come out first.
Last time we spoke, you said you want to try new things with the new album. How different was the writing process compared to working on Nidus? Did you manage to satisfy your desire for experimentation?
Andreas: It was very different. Nidus was sort of closing a chapter. We had old material that we had to figure out if we wanted to use or discard and replace with new writing. We thought it would be cool and generally better to release what we had instead of starting over. We have been doing that quite a lot already, so Nidus was a wrap up in that sense.
We had Jens and Oliver, who wrote three out of seven songs from Nidus. So this new album, for me, is more personal for the group as a whole. Jens has been a big part of the process.
Jens: Yes, I wrote every guitar part, and I was involved in the writing of all the songs for this album. In Nidus it was only three songs I was involved in.
Christian: Jens has been a big part of the whole process, which makes everything about the album way more personal. Nidus has an essence of coherence because we worked hard to bring the songs together and make the album sound like an album instead of a collection of different songs.
The next album has even more of that, but it is also way more personal. We tried to express some abstract emotions through the music. Andreas and I have a very close relative who is newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Andreas: This person’s life is pretty much falling apart. Mikkel and Jens have been hearing a lot of that because Christian and I would show up at sessions pretty frustrated, crushed even. And this is still in progress, it is very new and chaotic.
We thought it would make sense to take this story and translate it into the album instead of just having noise and discomfort in our personal lives that we try to ignore when we play music. It seems way more meaningful and emotionally productive for us. It’s a bit like therapy.
Christian: Playing music is a way of processing all of the emotions. It was nice that every time something in regards to our sick relative happened, we could go to the rehearsal space and talk about it and try to express it through the music. We would ask ourselves how dementia would sound on the drum kit, for example. How would the frustration of forgetting and losing yourself sound on different instruments?
Last time you also spoke a bit about music as therapy, about putting your emotions through the instruments. How is it with the inspiration of the new album – is it based on your personal experience and the emotions you have been going through?
Mikkel: It’s even stronger this time.
Andreas: It’s weird because it felt like this (music as therapy) was a big part of Nidus, but now it’s even stronger. Christian and I made a timeline a couple of months ago with all the milestones in regards to the story of our close relative – weird stuff that happened several years ago and makes sense now because of Alzheimer’s, but also situations happening now that our relative is even more affected by the illness.
We thought it would make sense for us to take these milestones and make songs out of them. Also with the lyrics – Mikkel wrote most of the lyrics for Nidus, and he still does it for this album. But now it’s sort of a back and forth thing between him and me since I am the one with a very sick relative. I also like writing lyrics, I’m not as good as him, but I enjoy it.
Mikkel is really good at listening to mine and Christian’s experiences. So I would write something, and he would look it over and say – “maybe that’s a bit too direct” or something like that. He brings a balance to the lyrics that me and Christian can’t do on our own. It’s a challenging process but also very interesting.
Photo by Hecticmundo
That definitely sounds like the right way to do it. It seems like a lot of new things are happening. You are levelling-up things in all aspects. This year was pretty crazy for everyone, so I wanted to ask you – which was the best part of this year for you?
Mikkel: I think the best part is happening right now – being in the studio and recording. We have been waiting for this for a long time.
Christian: We also have a new manager – Trine. Her company is called Account The Beat, she manages Fallulah, Livløs, and Deadnate as well. This makes a huge difference for us. She is a force to be reckoned with so to say. She makes it possible for us to go out and play shows despite the current situation because she has so many contacts. She also helps us raise money for the album and for travelling or other expenses we have.
Most importantly, she gets our vision – what we try to achieve and what we want to display with our music. This is definitely one of the best things this year – not being alone as a band but having some allies.
Mikkel: And those are people who believe in what we do, I think that’s very important.
Andreas: I think that meeting Trine helped things not look hopeless. We could ensure we are getting rebooked for most concerts that got cancelled, and Trine is working hard to arrange meetings and get us spots at different festivals.
Our booking agent, Daniel, is also a new member of the team. He hasn’t been that busy because of the pandemic, but knowing that we have those talented, experienced people who want the best for us makes the thought of 2021 hopeful.
We have tricks up our sleeves that we are looking forward to pulling out. It’s definitely more fun now than it was at the start.
Jens: It’s been a little frustrating, especially with the scene opening up again. When you realize you want to go out and play, but you have to focus on a different thing. We had one particular offer we had to say “no” to because we knew these studio sessions are coming up, and it is important to focus on them. We wanted to be prepared before stepping in the studio. So even though we really miss playing shows, I think we made the right call to focus on getting the songs done.
Andreas: We all love playing live shows. The idea of pushing it as hard as you can and putting yourself out there, making yourself visible is also quite the motivation. Maybe it’s only forty people who could attend because of the restrictions now, but at least we would have a sold-out show, we would have fun, we would connect with the crowd. But in the long run, it didn’t make much sense to choose this instead of focusing on the album and getting as much as possible done.
In terms of the lockdown – what was the most challenging part?
Jens: As a band, it was navigating in this new reality. Even though Trine knows a lot more about what we should do and what we should focus on as a band, this is still a very new situation for the music world. No one has been in this reality before so we are all walking blindly and trying to figure out what are the best things to do.
Andreas: We had a break for a month or two at the start of the lockdown. We didn’t meet to play, but we wrote a lot and sent ideas back and forth. That kind of worked out, but we had to keep telling ourselves there is still a band and there is still work to do with it. That was a bit of a strange time.
At the same time, it seems like a lot of people have a hard time being isolated and seeing fewer people. But because of what me and Christian are experiencing this year, it was easier for me because there were no expectations from people who want to meet and go out. It was only the closest people, the band, and work.
Photo by Hecticmundo
What would you say is the biggest difference between Feather Mountain during working on Nidus and the stage you are at now?
Christian: We are much more confident now. We have more experience – having been in the studio before makes me more confident I can do it. We all developed as musicians and as individuals too. We are tighter as a group, as friends. We like spending time together, and this helps.
At the start, I couldn’t be as honest and open to Jens with the stuff me and Andreas are going through, but now it brings us together. Musically Nidus was very heavy, dark, gritty and slow in a way. What we are doing now has much more energy. It’s more aggressive, more playful, and even more cheerful at times.
We are taking more risks with this album compared to the previous one as well. We have tricks up our sleeves that we are looking forward to pulling out. It’s more fun now than it was at the start.
Mikkel: We also have a better idea of where we are heading as a band.
Jens: For me and Andreas as string players, dynamics have changed as well. We lost a guitar player in the spring – on good terms, and we are still friends, which is nice. But it changed our approach because we decided not to look for a replacement. This led to switching up the guitar parts I would play and the ones we write for each other – it’s an interesting thing to do, we are trying to make the most out of what we have.
Andreas: Our expectations for ourselves and the future changed a lot as well. With Nidus it was important to just make an album and get it out there. If we got some fans outside of Denmark or got shows outside of Copenhagen that would be super cool, but now it is something we have to do. It’s something we expect to happen – we hope to go touring outside of Denmark sometime after the album is released.
It’s about experiencing that your dreams are actually possible – if you chase them hard enough, things start happening. If you are with good people who understand your vision, the whole game changes rapidly. When I was a kid, I used to think that the things we are doing now would be great to experience, but could never happen in reality.
We would ask ourselves how dementia would sound on the drum kit, for example. How would the frustration of forgetting and losing yourself sound on different instruments?
It will happen sooner or later, you deserve it, and you work hard for it. In that sense, where do you want the new album to take you?
Christian: We want to play Copenhell and Roskilde festival. We also want to play ProgPower Europe– we have it booked for October 2021, we were supposed to play it this year, but it got cancelled. So we are getting a taste of going abroad. We want to play some cool shows outside of Denmark. And I hope this album is going to propel us in that direction.
Would you want to involve other artists in your work? Not necessarily in this album, but in general.
Christian: Actually, we are bringing my and Andreas’ sister who plays the cello for this album. I think it will be a super cool addition.
I know a great female vocalist that I hope we can persuade to join in at some point. It didn’t work out in this session, so maybe for next years’.
There are lots of cool artists out there but I don’t have a particular name in mind when it comes to the metal scene though. I know a lot of metal bands bring in a co-vocalist from other metal bands and it would be a cool thing to do if it served the music and made the album as a whole better.
It would also be great to reach out to musicians playing other genres. For instance, the vocalist I mentioned does pop music – I think that would be really interesting in a progressive metal setting.
Mikkel: It has to be very genuine. Not just “would you do a verse on my song” type of things – it has to be from the ground up. It has to serve a purpose.
Jens: It also has to bring the other artist’s personality on the track –it is important that they can be on our track, but still be themselves rather than doing something we can already do ourselves.
Andreas: There are lots of bands we would love to work with, no doubt about that. This applies for touring as well.
Christian: Last time we spoke with you, we discussed VOLA a bit. They just released a new single Head Mounted Sideways. Before that song, I wanted to play with them, and now I am absolutely ecstatic about this thought. They are going a really interesting way musically, and you can see great development throughout their albums. I can’t wait to hear what they will release as a third full-length.
Playing with those guys would be super fun, and I don’t think it would be odd – I think we would fit well together.
Hopefully, it’s going to happen, that would be epic. In that sense is there any band or artist that influenced the sound of the new album?
Andreas: We have been sending some songs and artists to our producers to clear out the idea of which way we want to go with the new album. Head Mounted Sideways by VOLA is quite important for me – the way the bass sounds is great. It is so heavy and so violent but still so crisp – every stroke is articulated. I don’t hear that very often, it really impressed me.
Agent Fresco is always a band we look up to. Some of the aggressive songs from Mew as well – the way the instrumentals sound is inspiring for us. It’s fun to explore other scenes than Danish metal as well.
Jens: There are lots of progressive metal bands we like, but it’s a bit dangerous to get too hung up on your idols because, in the end, you might end up trying to be the next-my-favourite band.
Christian: You’ll quickly end up being a shittier version of a great band!
Jens: In a way, what defines Feather Mountain is the inspirations they take that are not from the same musical realm they operate. This way you bring new things to the genre. I recently started noticing how much jazz influence Christian’s drumming has.
Christian: My drum teacher is a big influence of the band. In a subtle way. The last two months, I had a deal with him that most of our sessions I would play one of Feather Mountain’s new songs from the next album – the ones we are recording now. We received some great feedback from him.
There is also Ingolf, who plays the guitar in Lamentari – me and Ingolf are great friends, and we have been jamming and playing before these studio sessions. He also met with Jens and talked about the guitar parts. Maybe he didn’t influence the music that much, but he asked a lot of important questions that affected it. It made us think twice about some parts of our songs – what is the purpose of certain elements and do they serve the song as a whole, or can we do something better? Ingolf has been a great sparring partner for the album.
Photo by Hecticmundo
It’s great you are putting external input into the album. This is bound to make the final result even better. One more question – Nidus sounded very coherent, like one whole thing from start to end. Is this album going with the same approach, or is it taking a different direction?
Jens: In a way, it’s doing both. It is more diverse, but we also want to make it coherent. We have shorter interlude-like songs that would guide the listener through the album. In that sense, it is going to be coherent. But it won’t be eight, or however we end up with, similar songs.
Andreas: We mentioned this earlier – how does Alzheimer’s sound or how does corroding sound? In a way, this album compared to Nidus is more schizophrenic, it sounds fucked up almost.
When I am hearing Nidus now, I wish we had gone in a more violent way with the screams and growls and the overall aggressive parts. I think we are trying to push this as far as we can with the new album, but still, much of the ground layers are built on the jazz rhythms, for example. Maybe it is confusing for some people, but I hope we can present it in a way that makes sense.
I think this album will be fundamentally different from Nidus, but you will still be able to tell it’s us behind it.
Sounds like the best of both worlds. I’m looking forward to hearing it. Would you like to add anything we didn’t discuss?
Christian: There has been some interest in Feather Mountain from different parts of the industry. A great part of that is due to Trine – our manager. Nidus was self-released, and we know that there are people out there who would want to help us release the new album.
We are still considering our opportunities, but maybe there is a record label that suits us, and we can contribute to. It’s all in the process, but it’s an option, and it’s very exciting. Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic and a lockdown, I feel that we are very busy with Feather Mountain. There is a lot of work to be done, and it’s been a long time since we had a rehearsal where we didn’t know what to do. There is always something that we need to prepare for, discuss, and plan.
There are people who want something from us – in a good way. There is a healthy pressure compared to a few years ago when it was all us. We still did a lot, but now it’s different.
The next stage of Feather Mountain is something to observe closely. The band has what it takes to make it and the new album is sure to prove they are here to give us everything they’ve got. Being inspired by personal experiences and putting so much thought and refined musical capabilities into a record ensures the journey they will take us will be worthwhile just like Nidus was.
One thing Andreas said in the interview struck me unexpectedly. He talked about getting closer to your dream and realizing it is actually possible. This explains my feelings about this interview quite well – I always thought entering the studio, seeing how the band records, and talking to them about their music would be an awesome thing to do, but I never thought it was going to happen in reality.
So thank you again, Feather Mountain for the time, energy, and interest. I am looking forward to seeing you progress further and further and hopefully observing the magic that happens when you hit the stage.
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