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INTERVIEW: Trapping Time with Bear Mountain by Mikel OD

Bear Mountain comes to town this Thursday night (yes, on Halloween) to perform at the Magic Stick Lounge. They bring with them a sound that seamlessly combines catchy electronic synth with indie pop, keyboards flourish and guitar jangles while the vocals soar above it all. Imagine a musical equation that takes take the dance music of Chromeo and adds to it the compelling synth magic of MGMT and you're approaching the territory Bear Mountain occupies.  Bear Mountain also carry along with them a secret weapon in the form of Kenji Rodriguez, a visual artist that creates projections and lights that goes far beyond the typical reds and blues. Their recent release “XO” straddles the line between ep and album with 7 tracks of satisfying dance music.  I had the chance to exchange some questions back and forth with Ian Beavis, the singer and electronics provider of the band, about playing their music live and their influences. 

MCB: Have you played Detroit before? What do you think about Detroit?
BM: We've never played Detroit before. We're really looking forward to it. Detroit seems like a fascinating city with a lot of history, and we get to play there on Halloween.
MCB: Bear Mountain is an effective cross between dance and indie rock – how did your music evolve into what it is today?
BM: I think it came to be this way because we never thought about it too much. We just always followed our instinct and never over think  what we're doing. If there's something that interests us, we try to go with it and see where that goes. Even though we're influenced by Dance music right now, that's not to say that we won't become a psych rock prog band in the next few years. Wherever our interests and influences take us that's where we'll go. 
MCB: Electronic music bands usually bring a visual element to their music but you take it a step further with a member of the band performing live visuals. How did this come about and how do you think your visuals differ from other electronic bands?
BM: Kenji actually saw us perform once and after the show introduced himself and told us that this was the music of the future. He showed us what he had done in the past for bands like Arcade Fire and Purity Ring, so we brought him on as a full member of the band. 

MCB: There seems to be a real renaissance in electronic music these past few years. Can you tell me about what you think about the electronic music scene today?
BM: I think it's really exciting, and there's some pretty incredible music being made right now. It's a great time to be a musician. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next year or too but I think we may have reached a sort of EDM bubble where we're a bit over saturated. On the flip side of that, I think dance music has firmly implanted itself in North American culture, especially on the radio, so it's great to see those barriers knocked down. 
MCB: What’s a surprising band you like or a band that influenced Bear Mountain that most people wouldn’t think of?
BM: I think we're influenced by all sorts of stuff. We're definitely influenced by a lot of pop music, and especially 80’s hits like Phil Collins, Tears for Fears, Don Henley. Between the four of us we listen to a lot of different music, and we're always exposing each other to music we otherwise wouldn't listen to, so that's definitely a factor. 
MCB: Where’s the most exotic place your music has taken you?
BM: We traveled to Mexico this year and played some shows down there. We drank a lot of mescal and ate a lot of tacos. Kenji is from Guadalajara, so it was great to travel to his home town and have a bunch of people come out the show. It definitely felt like a second home down there. 

MCB: If there was any other decade you wanted to be a band, what decade would that be and why?
BM: I think we all used to have a fascination with the late 60’s early 70’s, but I'm not so sure that time was as awesome as our parents made it out to be. I would like to be a jazz musician in the 20’s probably. You get to travel, have a steady job, play music…sounds like a pretty good deal. 
MCB: It’s October, a natural time to talk about horror movies – what’s your favorite horror movie? What kind of movies do you like best?
BM: I actually really love horror movies. When I was 13 I watched every B rated horror movie I could get my hands on. The soundtracks especially in those movies are amazing. The out of tune synths and drum machines…it's amazing. We watched The Conjuring in our hotel room the other night and everyone got pretty scared, actually. I think staying in a lot of hotels on the road you start to develop a fascination with Ghosts…there are a lot of haunted hotel rooms out there. 

This post by Mikel O.D. of MPAD Media