MAMMOTH INDIGO has been hitting the road hard to support their eponymous debut album. Over the past eight months, the Harrisonburg-based outfit has embarked on two month-long tours that have covered various venues on the East Coast and beyond – cities as far South as Birmingham, as far west as Chicago, and as far North as New York. Life on the road has been as interesting as one would expect from a group of 20-somethings with a strong zest for life and music. They’ve slept in extravagant downtown apartments, rat-infested shitholes, and every style of living quarters in between. They’ve bunked with relative strangers, held an after-hour dance party at one particularly liberal venue, and watched in excitement as a growing number of fans have begun to sing along during live shows.

It’s a thrilling time to be a part of the MAMMOTH INDIGO brigade, and all signs point to more good times on the horizon. They wrapped up their second month-long tour a little over 30 days ago and plan to continue “touring the first album into the ground” while compiling songs for a second release. Tour dates include appearances at two festivals: JMU’s Madipalooza on April 12th and Rally in the Alley in Winchester on April 13th. They also have a show at The Camel in Richmond on April 16th.

Recently, lead singer and guitarist Cody Bowers, who is also the proud father of a five-month old baby girl, took time out of his hectic schedule to chat with The Dominion Collective about sleeping arrangements on tour, the band’s favorite venue (hint: it’s in Richmond), and his unrepentant admiration for pop singer LANA DEL REY.

Who are some of your biggest influences? I hear some COLDPLAY coming through as well as “folkish” undertones.

That’s cool that you hear folk. We get that quite a bit. I don’t listen to a ton of folk music. There are a few bands that stick out as being folky, but I think my lack of being able to play the guitar really well might lend itself to why it sounds kind of folky. The twanglin’, janglin’ kind of style. Dan, on the other hand, can play anything on guitar. One band I listen to that’s really picking up a lot of steam is THE SOIL AND THE SUN. They have violins and a lot of double drumming like we do. Very peaceful, spiritual vibes. Another band I grew up listening to was BRAND NEW. And I know Dan McDonough really likes RADIOHEAD. Eric Singer listens to THE NATIONAL. I love BEACH HOUSE and female singers—WYE OAK. SHARON VAN ETTEN, LANA DEL REY. I’m not ashamed to admit I like LANA DEL REY.

Can you talk a little bit about the cover art for your debut album “Mammoth Indigo?”

Andee Watson is the name of the girl that did it. She’s my girlfriend’s 11-year old little sister. It was funny, because we were thinking about what we wanted on the cover. So one day I ended up on her Instagram account and one of the pictures was that picture. She had taken a picture of her jumping into a pool off a diving board and then photoshopped it onto that sky/plane background and made it look like it does now. I thought it was so cool. I liked the idea of falling, being isolated. I showed the guys and they were like “That has to be the album cover,” and it makes it that much cooler that it was made by an 11-year old girl.

You all just finished up a month-long tour that went all over the East Coast. Was that the most extensive tour you all have done as a band?

We did another month-long tour in August. We had played maybe two shows before we left for that one. So we were kind of ambitious with both of them. [We] just wanted to get out there and start touring hard. That first one was a month long, and it was in the summer. This winter tour was the exact opposite of that. The first one we want a little bit further south: Georgia, South Carolina, and places like that. The second one the furthest south we went was North Carolina.

Where did you all crash?

On the first tour we went into it pretty blindly and ended up staying with people we met at the shows. That was always interesting. You never knew what you were going to get. We got some good stories out of that tour. The second one we planned out a lot better. We stayed with some friends that we had met on the first tour.


Do you care to divulge any of those stories, if they’re fit for public consumption?

We played with this band in Chicago named FLETCHER. They were from England. They were like, “You guys can stay at our place!” And we were sort of expecting the normal little house, like maybe we would sleep on the floor or something like that. But they took us to this awesome, huge building in Chicago. The band somehow knew the guy that owned the warehouse that was attached to it. They had a recording studio that I ended up sleeping in. It was just this beautiful, two-story apartment that blew our minds. They housed us for two days, and we had a blast.

So the place in Chicago was the most extravagant pad you stayed at. What was the grungiest?

There are always those people at shows that offer you a place to stay that can be pretty eccentric. Usually those are just as fun. The mangiest place we stayed at was on our first tour. I won’t mention the name of the venue just because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but the guys that worked at the bar were like, “You can stay with the people who live above this venue.” So the tenants came downstairs, and they seemed like pretty normal girls, but kind of on the wild side. They were like, “sure ya’ll can stay with us!” When we got up there, it was like a crack house. One of the sketchiest places I’ve been. We were scheming up escape plans if they tried to rob us. There was rat poison on the floors around all of the walls. These people smoked a ridiculous amount. We had been there for two hours after our show and all of them had smoked a pack of cigarettes each. It was hard for me to breathe; I had to go outside a couple of times. And it’s not like I have an aversion to smoking. We play at bars every night, and I smoke a cigarette every once and a while. But this was insane. I don’t know how these people lived in there. The dude said that before he lived there, there were some drug dealers living there. They had problems with break-ins and shootings. So we decided to get a case of beer and drink our worries away.

What has been your favorite venue so far?

We played at The National in September, and that was a real honor. I think everyone in the band would agree with that. Playing in big venues like that is so exciting. The sound is so good. All I wanted to do was kick the shit out of the bass drum and let it echo. We also like playing in Utica, New York at this place called the Dev. The first time we went there, our buddy in this band call BAD CELLO hooked us up. Everyone was so receptive. They kept the bar open late for us and had a dance party after the doors were closed. They were so accommodating that we made it a point to go back there on this tour. This last tour, we had a girl by the name of JOEY COOK, a singer songwriter and accordion player. We kept telling her that we couldn’t wait to get to Utica, and she like, “Why are you guys so excited about that place?”, and when we got there everyone loved her music and people who were at our first show were there for the second. It was like a reunion. Just tons of free stuff and good vibes. After we were done playing the first set, a couple hours went by and there were enough people there and they still wanted us to play. So we played a couple more songs at one or two in the morning.

So considering you went to a lot of the same places during the second tour as the first tour, did you recognize a lot of faces? And did you notice people starting to sing along to your lyrics and stuff like that?

It’s always cool when you start a song and people cheer because they recognize it. We’ve been getting a nice little following in Richmond. People singing our songs and stuff like that. It makes us play that much better and makes it mean that much more. This second tour we got to see a lot of people we met the first time. We also saw some new faces who were just as big of fans as the people we had seen the first time. That was really cool to us. It’s crazy how you can put out a video or a song and someone a few states away is listening. It’s so cool. For all of us, this is the most serious band we’ve ever been in. To see that sort of stuff happening is really cool.

Have you run into any overzealous fans? Crazies, as it were?

Definitely, but we love it. That’s one of the coolest things that have happened; meeting those types of people has definitely been a highlight. The crazier the better. It doesn’t really get old.

So now that you have some time off from touring, what are the band’s plans?

We’re trying to play a lot of festivals this summer. JMU has Madipalooza on April 12th. There’s a smaller festival the next day, and we play The Camel on April 16th with OCEAN VS. DAUGHTER. We’re writing our next album as we go. Not rushing it. Our plan is to tour our first album to the ground, really. We’ll probably do another tour in June.

How many songs have been finished for the next album?

I have two that are pretty done right now. This album is going to be a little different. The first album started as a solo album. I was writing these songs, and then I found out I was going to be having a baby. She’s five-months-old now. I decided I wanted to make music my career, to do something I love and be able to support everyone. I realized I needed to find a band to make it happen. We finished “God-Made Satellite and “Rapture” and then went on to the rest of the album, but I had ideas for most of the songs, the structures, the lyrics, that sort of thing. We recorded really fast. We wanted to start touring and go, go, go. We actually had our first album overnighted to us when we were in Atlanta on tour, but with the new album we’re going to take our time, which I’m excited about. The first one was sort of rushed, which was cool in its own way, but the second one will be more of a project. We’re going to get much deeper into it. Much more musicianship and stuff like that.

For more updaters on MAMMOTH INDIGO, be sure to visit their website, follow them on Twitter, “like” their Facebook page, and check out their music on Bandcamp.

Mike Schoeffel

Mike Schoeffel

Mike’s passion for music took root at the age of 13, when he a hijacked a booklet filled with hundreds of CDs from his best friend’s older brother. Mike graduated from Christopher Newport University in December 2011 with a B.A. in English and a concentration in journalism. He has a loose grasp on AP style and harbors an unhealthy obsession with the band Radiohead and its front man, Thom Yorke. He is considering seeking treatment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *