Mount Salem

 

Mount Salem are one of the bands riding what can really only be termed the “New Wave Of Psychedelic Doom” (just for a laugh, let’s call it NWoPD).  Along with the likes of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Noctum, The Sword and Scorpion Child, certainly in terms of their sound, the Chicago outfit are following in the somewhat shambling footsteps of early Black Sabbath, vintage Trouble and fellow Windy City residents, Pentagram.  Not that that’s a bad thing, of course…

The Wyrd Ways Rock Show spoke to vocalist/keyboard player, Emily Kopplin via e-mail as their album, Endless, was released on Metal Blade…

WWRS: Your Metal Blade debut album has just been released – can you tell us something about it?

Emily –  First off, we’re so excited to have teamed up with Metal Blade and have this album reach a wider range of people than we could have on our own. We originally released Endless about a year ago with six songs but this time it’s being released with eight songs to make it a full length. It was really nice to go back in the studio to record the newer songs so the people who bought the album before will be getting something different this time.

WWRS: Recently there seems to have been a resurgence of this kind of Psychedelic Doom, with yourselves, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, Kadavar, Avatarium and The Sword.  What do you think the reason for this is?

Emily –  The nice thing about music is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. Different styles and genres are bound to come back around. I think it’s awesome that bands are getting back to the basic stripped down rock & roll and metal that was popular in the 70’s. People are nostalgic for that sound and it’s not something you have to think too hard about. It’s cool to be able to just throw a record on and hear that good old classic sound.

WWRS: You recently played a hometown gig with Pentagram.  How was that?

Emily –  The show was amazing! We were so honoured to be opening for Pentagram, especially here in Chicago so our friends were able to be there. I think we were all way more excited to see them play than we were about playing ourselves. It’s definitely one of the coolest shows I’ve seen and they put on an incredible performance. The positive response we received from the crowd was super rad. I’d love to catch those guys again soon.

WWRS: How did Mount Salem get started?

Emily –  The four of us have been friends for a few years already and we had all played in bands previously. The guys were talking about wanting to switch instruments to try something new so Cody picked up drums (used to play guitar), Mark picked up bass (used to play drums), and Kyle picked up guitar (used to play drums). Kyle was also going to be the singer, and I was just sitting in on practice trying to help him write vocal melodies.  Eventually they just let me do vocals instead and I found a Korg CX3 on Ebay. We started jamming and things were sounding cool so we recorded the EP right away before we started playing shows.

WWRS: Who first inspired you to start playing your particular instrument seriously?

Emily – There are so many amazing bands and vocalists I’ve been influenced by. For as long as I can remember I’ve been captivated by music in general and would always write lyrics in my notebook at school. I started singing in my first band when I was 15 so I’ve been hooked since then. I’ve been influenced by everything from Elvis to Whitney Houston, but some of the favourites are Stevie Nicks, Ozzy, Ann Wilson, and Robert Plant.

WWRS: What was the first album you ever bought with your own money?

Emily – I’m pretty sure it was Futures by Jimmy Eat World

WWRS: What’s next for Mount Salem?

Emily – Right now we’re booking a US tour for the beginning of May. We plan on travelling out West this time, a part of the country we haven’t been to yet. Check out or Facebook page for the latest on these tour dates.

WWRS: Who would you rather tour with?  Black Sabbath or Trouble?

Emily – This is a tough question because we’re a little biased. Our good friend, Rob Hultz, plays bass in Trouble now so to tour with them would be really rad. We just played a show with them at the Metro here in Chicago and it was awesome, they’re killing it right now. To tour with Sabbath though would be incredible, obviously. We’ve already been lucky enough to not only meet, but play with some of the musicians we really respect and look up to so I guess we’ll take either one!

WWRS: When can we expect to see you in the UK?

Emily – We’re working out the details of a European tour right now that is tentatively set for this coming Fall. That’s definitely the next big goal. Kyle is the only one who’s been overseas so we’re all so excited to travel and play some shows for a different audience.

WWRS: If you had to pick five songs to listen to after you’ve completed this interview, which ones would you choose?

Emily – Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf, Fleetwood Mac Silver Springs, MogwaiAcid Food, Townes Van ZandtRake, Nancy Sinatra & Lee HazlewoodSummer Wine

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