Clayton Bartholomew of Mountaineer
Weapon of choice: Guitar
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I always loved music from as early as I could remember and was always interested in it. I imagine if I hadn't gotten into music, I would probably be a lot more successful today.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like cooking, reading, writing, working on projects around the house... I think all of those things are best when approached from a creative perspective.
How long has your band been around?
Mountaineer started in 2015.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Bay area, California. I don't know that it has had much influence that is obvious. There are lots of influential metal bands from the bay area, some that inspired me as a young person, but at this point in my life I take inspiration from more personal sources rather than the collective consensus of any "scene" mentality.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
We are all active mountain climbers, though some of us are more serious about it than others.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Personally? The best show I've probably played was Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson in 2014. Neurosis, Pelican, Sunn (((O))), etc. The worst? I have fun at every show I'm allowed to play, so there are no bad shows.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Slim's in San Francisco was a really cool experience. It's neat to play at a venue that you've been to so many times as a kid and held in such high regard. They just closed their doors for good, so that is a big bummer.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Headliner: Pink Floyd
Main support: Type O Negative
3rd: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
When you think about writing songs, think about writing stories. Think about telling a story that starts in one place and goes somewhere else. Don't try to emulate anything else you hear, try to find your own voice. Don't listen to advice.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Don't listen to advice.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I will answer with the song that means the most to me from our new album, Bloodletting (out May 22nd via Lifeforce Records). That song is Ghost Story. The music and lyrics just really encapsulate the thematic meaning behind the entire record and sum it up for me.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I like playing all of the songs live and we tend to reimagine the studio versions for a live setting and build setlists based on a number of factors. My favorite song to play live is whatever reimagined version seems the most interesting to me at the time.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Usually, serious writing for an album happens after some overarching thematic statement is decided upon and then each of us contributes accordingly. This way, the inspiration for the album is all coming from a central place. How each of us come up with ideas is personal to each individual and probably varies wildly from writer to writer.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
It depends on the theme of the album that we decide on. Each record we have made has hinged on a unique message.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Of course. For our current line up, we haven't had too much drama, but anytime you work with 6 different people you are going to have disagreements. You have to be somewhat flexible and willing to compromise on certain things. You need to carefully choose the hill you want to die on... it can't be every single hill.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Future plans include going back to some normalcy... hopefully we can play shows again someday. We want to tour for this record. The only thing I'd like to spotlight is the fact that our new record is coming out on May 22nd and if you are reading this, we think you will enjoy it! Thanks for taking the time to ask me these questions, we appreciate the coverage!