Track by track /// Pale Fires ‘Mammoth’ [EP] 2014

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Our favourite psychedelic wonder Pale Fires strike with a new EP ‘Mammoth’ and, trust us, this record is magical to the greatest point. The collective showcase their signature, outer space, live sound on the EP, invite you to some parallel world and actually hypnotise you so that you join forces with them forever and ever. In this track by track guidance, Pale Fires tell you all about ‘Mammoth’.

River

This track was one of the first tunes we worked on for Mammoth, and I think that it probably pulled into focus how the record was going to sound in hindsight. Oli had written the guitar part to start with and wasn’t sure about it, but after working on it as a band we quickly grew to like it and liked how it had a distinctly different sound to our first record. It has a kind of calypso feel and is always good fun to play live. We all like the way it seems to groove really naturally despite being in an unusual time signature.

Mammoth

We didn’t want this track to have the same name as the record initially but couldn’t come up with anything that fitted any better in the end. In hindsight I think it probably works quite well as the song covers a lot of the different sonic ideas that are on the record. We had written the different sections as different compositions initially and weren’t sure if they would fit together. It’s got a bit of a schizophrenic quality as a result I think. Leo wrote all of the lyrics for this tune and they give it a bit of a childlike nursery rhyme vibe. It’s a fucker to play live and we’re still trying to master it!

Peace Of Mind

This is the oldest track on Mammoth. We had initially attempted to record it during the Louring Skies sessions but weren’t happy with how it came out. I think it works well on the record but I think you can also tell that it’s from a different period of writing. This one has been a favourite live for a long time and is easily the longest serving tune in our live set. The groove is a bit of an ode to Buddy Miles and Billy Cox from The Band of Gypsies and I’d say it features some of Leo’s best vocal performances. The track is quite brutal in places and we all really like the way this contrasts with the mellow outro.

The Boat That Is Rowing Slow

This is another slightly older song, it is one of the more unusual occasions where a fully formed song was brought to the table, but the arrangement and instrumentation was worked on by the band as a whole. This one was also initially recorded during the Louring Skies sessions but never finished. At some point we revisited the track and slowed it right down and completely changed the melodies and it suddenly made much more sense to us! We’ve recently started playing this one live but we’ve changed it again and made it much heavier and it has been going down really well. We like to mess with things!

Howl

This track came straight out of an improvised Jam session. We often write like this and regularly spend hours jamming and improvising. Sometimes it can get a bit destructive (forgetting to eat, getting tired and irritable etc) but it tends to yield good results! This one came initially from Leo experimenting with vocal layering and looping and then we just took it from there. We wanted it to sound like a kind of lonely mantra that exploded into a furious primal groove, which then subsided again… I think we got somewhere close!

Earth Mother

This track was the only one that wasn’t finished when we went in to record Mammoth and had to be written literally as it was being recorded. We had the main heavy progression that makes up the chorus section and were all desperate to include it on the record at the time. I don’t think any of us are quite sure what to make of the finished product! But then we haven’t lived with it for that long. Some reviewer described it as being like Radiohead having a fight with Led Zeppelin which is a pretty cool description! One thing is for sure, Jean’s mate Rob smashed it on the Sax on the outro! We hope to bring him onstage in the near future.

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