Interview/Music: Mammoth

Mammoth consists of Harry Pope (drums), Tim Ower (sax), Arthur Ohara (bass) and George Risk (synth/guitar). The musical quartet has played with artist like Alfa Mist, Neue Graffik Ensemble, Gary Barlow, Jess Glynne, and Stormzy, and now they’re gearing up to release their debut EP this July.

Their music draws inspiration from an array of genres, reflecting each member’s eclectic tastes and experiences. This diversity led to the group’s initial formation; feeling unable “to express these many different arts of our musical personality in other projects”. Pope explains, “this project was born to try and make a cohesive snapshot of our multi faceted tastes and playing styles, and come away with something that doesn’t sound confused.”

We love spreading great new music, so it’s our pleasure to premiere their new track ‘Erlanger’. Combining high-energy drumming with powerful sax lines, glistening synth chords and bouncing bass, ‘Erlanger’ is a track that unfolds itself upon each play. This dazzling effort will keep us entertained until the EP arrives.

We caught up with Mammoth to ask them a few questions about the EP, their musical influences, lockdown and more.

Hear the track here before anyone else, and make sure you head below to check out the interview.

What’s the story behind your name?

I think Mammoth was a word and an image that described how we wanted the sound to be. Huge, strong, and with a very clear identity.

Five words to describe Mammoth?

Gigantic, Spacey, Beatsy, Electronic, Intense.

Are there any themes or inspirations behind your forthcoming EP?

We have such diverse influences, from electronic music to jazz, to rock and metal and our aim and inspiration for this EP and this project, in general, was to be able to express our influences without having to hold back, yet still have a coherent sound that was definitely us. Hopefully, when you listen to each individual track they sound like they’ve come from the same musicians in the same room. I think it can be really easy to lose sight of that.

You’ve all worked with many great artists over the years; have any particular artists had an impact on how you approached the EP?

I think the biggest impact has come from the diversity of the people we’ve worked with over the years, to be honest. We’ve all ended up in some really interesting playing situations as sidemen or in other bands. I feel like, for instance, the fact that Tim has played with so many amazing pop artists has meant that when he comes to a melody part, he’s really good at stripping away what doesn’t need to be there and leaving something really strong. I’ve been really lucky to play with some very individual musicians across a lot of different genres, and I think that shows in that the beats we end up coming out with are, I hope, quite individual to us.

Which is your favourite track from the EP, and why?

I think for me personally, it has to be Mammoth, our self-titled track which will come out with the full EP in July. There are some really heavy riffs and some rhythmic trickery, and after being quite considered and tasteful with his playing for the whole EP, George, our guitarist, does this absolutely face-melting guitar solo, and it just makes me grin like a little boy. It’s joyful you know?

Did lockdown change the way you approached making music?

I think it did for everyone to be honest. Suddenly we’re not all out gigging five nights a week, and we have all this time to create. It sounds idyllic, but when you consider the stress and harm of our livelihoods being stripped away at the same time it really could have gone either way. It was either be creative or wallow. George and I lived together at the time, and I was really struggling over the first few months of lockdown so it was an absolute lifesaver to be able to work on music together. At the same time, having that much free time means the potential for overthinking is huge. When you have absolutely no time constraints, you can chop and change anything at any point. I think we completely scrapped a tune or two because they had just become unrecognisable, we had tried like a hundred different beats to the extent where I had no idea where we started. Too much time without focus can be really dangerous.

If you had to choose just one influence on your music, who would it be and why?

I think personally, Mark Guiliana has had a huge huge impact on my tastes and my playing. I remember hearing him playing on Phronesis’s “Alive” album when i was at college and absolutely losing my mind, then getting turned onto his Beat Music project, which I loved. I remember reading an interview with him where he talked about never disregarding any of his influences no matter the musical situation; he would play like Dave Grohl and Elvin at the same time. That was a big deal for me, and I’ve tried to take that on board.

Anything else you would like to add? Any closing words for the Twistedsoul community?

Please, for the love of God, come see a gig when we’re all allowed! The live music industry needs all the help it can get, and we’re all so desperate to make noise again.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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