Interview w/ Mount McKinley

New Jersey shoeless wonders Mount McKinley have quietly been making a ruckus in their hometown

for a while now and slowly they’re making their way into every bloggers’ hearts.

This is ideal winter music, sobering and intoxicating at the same time.

Every song is bundled up, warm in sheets of fuzz.

I could nestle up with their myspace and sleep the day away right now.

Mount McKinley - In the Dark

Mount McKinley - The Beach

AHWF: Why "Mount McKinley"?

Some blogs have been getting their TMZ on and making up theories (some which I won't bother to mention).

Dylan: Haha…we just like the sound of it. No significance.

AHWF: What's your guys' writing and recording process, and where do you lay your tracks down?

I picture somewhere poorly lit and well heated.

Joe: We practice in Dylan’s basement and it’s actually really the opposite; well lit and poorly heated. We’ve been playing together now for three or four years, so we’re pretty used to each other’s style. Our songs are usually the results of jams that we structure and organize and add layers to. Since it’s only the two of us, the recording process flows a lot easier because there aren’t so many competing ideas and we both know what kind of sound we want.

AHWF: What's the secret to getting yourself out there and heard these days?

Lately, for every "chillwave" band there's like 10 "glo-fi" bands (I honestly don't know how the two differentiate).

Dylan: The blogs that have featured our songs lately (Pixelhorse, Get Off The Coast, Friendship Bracelet) have exposed us to a lot of people who we weren’t reaching. They have definitely been the biggest help to us in that regard. As for standing out, we don’t think about that. We just write songs, record them and hope that people listen. I actually have no idea what chillwave is…

AHWF: How's the Jersey scene treating you?

Do you guys see yourselves branching out, say, into the big apple like a lot of bands drool over, or do you think you'll stay put?

Joe: We definitely want to branch out and play more shows in New York. We’ve played a lot of Jersey shows but don’t always get such a strong reaction. Most bands here that we’ve played with are punk or play garage rock, similar to The Gaslight Anthem, so we’re usually on the other side of the music spectrum when we gig.

AHWF: Do you guys have any trouble translating your recordings into performances as a duo?

Some bands can't seem to make up for the instruments they're missing live.

Dylan: We’ve never had a problem with that. When we’re recording, it can be tempting to add and experiment, but we make a conscious effort to keep that to a minimum so that our live set sounds as close to the recordings as possible. We also use drones via samplers and loop stations to make up for our lack of bassist.

AHWF: What are some things that inspire you guys outside of music?

Dylan: Ponies, sunshine, cupcakes, etc.

AHWF: What do you think of the internet and blogs taking over where a lot of the music industry is dying?

Joe: Though it doesn’t make for the perfect business model for the music industry, I think the shift to the internet and blogs is something that most people have already embraced. I think the internet makes it harder for newer bands to get heard, but at the same time, certain blogs do a lot to promote and release new music.

AHWF: Something I wonder about a lot of bands with sound quality similar to yours in your recordings is how you feel about distortion? Nowadays some bands seem to actually add a lot of distortion to the whole songs in post-production, whereas other ones simply don't have the equipment to NOT have distortion and clipping occur on their tracks. In a track like "In the Dark" you use this wave of distortion pretty masterfully though, in a way I probably wouldn't enjoy the recording as much without it.

Dylan: I think that overdrive, fuzz, distortion etc. can be great when it’s balanced by cleaner elements. I'll cite “Sometimes” by My Bloody Valentine, which has a layer of muddy, fuzzed-out guitar coupled with an acoustic guitar strumming the same progression. I love the way that sounds. We had “finished” recording In The Dark a few times, only to scrap everything and start over. In the end, we just applied that same concept and were finally satisfied with the outcome.

What's with the barefootedness?

Dylan: When we play in my basement I never wear shoes. So when we play live, I like to be barefoot.

AHWF: What can we look forward to from you guys in the near future?

Joe: We’re in the process of writing new material so we should have more recordings up soon. We’re also booking more shows, so expect more live performances.

Thanks a lot guys!