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A Moment Of Realisation With EZEKIEL OX From MAMMAL

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After taking a couple of years to fully find their feet again after a prolonged absence, Aussie funk/rock/metal dance machine Mammal are finally ready to unleash their second full-length album on the world with the release of The Penny Drop on March 6.

After disbanding in the same year their debut album The Majority shocked our airwaves in 2008, the members of Mammal all ventured in differing musical directions in an attempt to fill the void but despite the quality of their work individually the chemistry and creativity that the members enjoyed as Mammal remained elusive.

“You’ve gotta be able to frame what you see as the truth.”

Ezekiel Ox

After announcing a much-anticipated reunion in 2017, Mammal haphazardly released the singles Community, Crime Scene, Dead and The War, almost teasing their fans with the hint of a greater body of work but making them wait until the smoldering beast had fully regained its hunger.

That hunger was displayed for the world to see with last year’s single Keanu Reeves, very much a song cast from the Mammal mold but with a heavier underbelly than what some may have expected.

The album title became the second track released, offering a small glimpse into the overall sonic picture that while still quintessentially Mammal also offers up a myriad of welcome surprises.

HEAVY sat down with frontman Ezekiel Ox earlier this week to find out more.

“It was a huge process for us, getting it together,” Ox explained, talking about the new album, “because we had a transition of bass players which led to this record. Since Mammal’s been back since 2017 we’ve put out Community, Virtue Signalling and Dead which were all with Nick Adams, our former bass player, and then we put out Crime Scene and The War and this album is our first long-player. We’re a rock band and a metal band, so it’s not like we needed to put out an album. Apparently, now you’re supposed to just do singles, but we feel like we wanted to make a statement, and I don’t think there’s any doubt we have. Full credit – speaking in footy parlay – full credit to the boys and full credit to the producer Jimi Maroudas, full credit to Tyson Fish and also to Forrester Saville who mixed and mastered this record. You’re only as good as your team, and we have the absolute bomb on this record so it sounds the way it should, everyone’s performance is great, and we felt like we had a chance to stretch our legs on this. We’re pumped for the release on March 6.”

We ask if musically, The Penny Drop is what fans would expect.

“I think so,” Ox offered. “I don’t think it’s a massive departure. The main thing – whether people notice it or not – is Nick used to always write the first riff. So when we started writing for this album, we didn’t really know where to start. For those that don’t know, Pete, our guitar player, is a farmer and operates this huge acreage up in North West Victoria, and he went from a point of view where he started writing a riff a day for 30 days and just rinsed everything he could. And that was new for us. As opposed to starting with the groove, we started with the riff – which obviously leads to the groove – and then Zane went through the process of putting those together into songs, and then I went through a process of freestyling over two days. I just went down to Melbourne and got drunk and had a bit of fun with the boys, and they’d throw ideas at me, and we came up with… I think we ended up freestyling for about 20 of them and 17 of them ended up getting written and then five of them got dropped, and you end up with the 12 songs that you have on The Penny Drop. Different process for us, but it’s a weird thing, Kris. I think it’s a negative thing to do to monitor yourself when you’re working. You just want to be working with each member as a whole and as an individual. You wanna be really conscious of doing your job, not self-monitoring too much and letting the producer and letting the engineers focus on what the whole thing is. That’s a really important thing to do, and I think we all did that really well. I know that Kade came in last, which we thought was fair. We didn’t want Kade having to do too much development because we thought that would be unfair for a new member, but I think on the next album we’re gonna want Kade to be a lot more involved because he’s not a new guy anymore. He’s been here for over two years now, and he’s played shows with us, and he’s such an instrumental part of this record. I can’t wait for everyone to hear what he’s doing.”

In the full interview Ezekiel talks more about the freestyling lyrical process, why The Penny Drops is not for kids, how it differs to debut album The Majority, the collaboration with Fresh Violet, Mammal’s live show and maintaining the intensity, writing for the album, future plans and more.

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