Interview with I, The Mountain: Touring, New Album, & Advice for Smaller Bands

Photo from I, The Mountain

There’s nothing better than a small band making big moves, and that’s exactly what I, the Mountain is conquering in the Canadian music scene. Not only did they just get back from a successful 25-show tour, but they are also releasing a new album in April 2020. The cherry on top is that they scored an opening spot for The Strumbellas at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on January 25 alongside The Darcys. With all of these impressive stepping stones, the band is clearly on the road to success.

With great curiosity, we wanted to dive in and learn more about how they operate as a band and what touring was like for them. We also asked if they had any advice for smaller bands, and boy, did Matt Lamers, lead vocalist, deliver.






ABOUT THE BAND

The band started out as a trio in Peterborough in 2012, but they then added two new faces and grew into an abundant quintet now based in Kitchener. The original three were all named Matthew, so you can imagine that it got confusing at times. Lamers told us about all of the “clever” names that people would jokingly assign them including “Matt Squared,” “The Three Matts,” “The DoorMatts,” and “The Mattadours.” Even with all of these oh-so-tempting options, Lamers said that the best one they ever came up with was “Matt-très.” Clearly, things changed once they invited other names into the group.

I, the Mountain now consists of Matt Lamers (lead vocalist, acoustic guitar), Matt Rappolt (percussion, vocals), Matt Morgan (bass, vocals), Allison Dyjach (keyboard, vocals), and Rory McLachlin (lead guitar, vocals). It’s a strength that everyone is on vocals in this band, and you can hear them use it to their advantage in their dreamy-folk harmonies, especially in their most popular release, “The Boat.”

Like most bands just starting out, Lamers told us that the group started out with a more laid-back attitude and tended to goof off a lot more, but over the years, they’ve flipped a switch and become more professional, “especially now that we are treating this as a career and not a hobby.”

Some bands that they have been strongly influenced by include The Decemberists, City and Colour and Manchester Orchestra, even though they’ve often been compared to The Barenaked Ladies and The Beach Boys (probably because of their harmonies and catchy hooks).

The group’s music is “heavily rooted in nature/natural imagery,” Lamers told us, which parallels to their Facebook page that uniquely describes their genre as “nature-inspired folk-pop.” This is reflected in some of their song titles including, “Treetops,” “Owls,” and “Playing in the Forest.”


Photo from I, The Mountain

 THE TOUR

I, the Mountain hit a handful of cities from Oshawa to Quebec to Halifax. According to Lamers, one of their favourite shows collectively was in the small town of Parkindale, New Brunswick at a venue that was transformed from a small community hall.

“The energy was fantastic, and the venue was beautiful,” Lamers said. “It wasn’t the biggest crowd, but everyone was so enthusiastic and opened their hearts to us.”

For all of their live shows, their goal is to “create a feeling of community and inclusivity where people can let loose, dance and sing along,” Lamers said. Their shows include “tons of audience participation… it’s as much performance for the crowd as it is for us.”

On the road, the band snacked on McDoubles from McDonald’s “almost daily,” but they would also do their research to find the best local spots in each town for the full experience, Lamers told us. He also favoured Old Dutch baked dill pickle chips in more on-the-go scenarios.

Lamers said that he planned the tour by first mapping out their route, followed by researching venues in each city including the surrounding towns. He said that many venues responded instantly, but others required “countless follow up emails and many didn’t respond at all.”

He said this process of booking his tour was useful, but he is excited to see how RedPine can assist him next time.

At one stage in the band’s growth, their main goal was to start touring. Now that they’ve accomplished that, their ultimate goal has evolved into taking “I, the Mountain as far as it can go,” Lamers said. Their main motive is to “reach as many people as possible, and hopefully make a meaningful impact in their lives.”

The tour resulted in “lots of new fans and invitations to play bigger venues.”




ADVICE FOR SMALLER BANDS

Are you in a new band? Are you looking for some guidance on how to get to the next step? We’ve got you covered. Here are some hot tips from Lamers himself.

  1. “Tour. Obviously, you can’t do that right away, but once you feel ready, just go for it. If you think practice once a week gets you tight as a band, wait until you play a show every night for a month!”
    • “Plan, plan, plan. Plan as far in advance as possible. Where do you want to go? Where will you stay? How much money will you make?”
    • “Search out unique venues and small towns. These are often our favourite shows.”
    • “Take time to enjoy non-band related activities and explore.”
    • Connect with other bands to engage a variety of fanbases.” - RedPine is a great tool for this!
    • “Don’t be afraid! It’ll be great.”
  2. “Persevere. So many people will say no or ignore you. The music industry is extremely saturated. Keep pressing on! We’ve gotten to this point by pushing forward and not taking, ‘no’ for an answer.”

THE FUTURE

As we previously mentioned, I, the Mountain has a shiny new album coming out in April of next year! They wouldn’t cough up the title yet, understandably so, but they will be revealing it “fairly soon.”

The album will not only feature two remixed versions of their singles, “The Boat,” and “Rosa,” but it will also have more cohesive folk songs with “pop-sensibilities.” Lamers hinted that all of the songs are a little different from each other and it will be a “variety show…something for everyone.”

The album was engineered by Jonas Bonnetta (Evening Hymns), mixed by Dan Ledwell, mastered by Gavin Gardiner (The Wooden Sky) and the cherry on top is that “The Boat,” was co-written by Simon Ward of The Strumbellas. “Dreams come true,” Lamers said.

Over 400 people are RSVP’d to the Facebook event for the band’s big show with The Strumbellas on January 25, so grab your tickets while you still can! The doors are at 7 p.m., and the venue is 19+.

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