Members of Mt. Desolation are already established in respective well-regarded, successful bands. One would think that would be enough for each of them, but it’s not. No, they want more…More! (I slam my fist on the table.) I’m kidding on the tone, but probably not the story.
Mt. Desolation is the side project of Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin of Keane, which features members of Noah & The Whale, Killes, The Long Winters, and Mumford & Sons Jessica Staveley Taylor, Fimbo, John-William Scott and Phil Renna). The alt-somewhat country-band just dropped their debut album, and it’s the antithesis of its first single “Bitter Pill.” See what I did there? Anyway, I caught up with Quin, who taps the bass and percussion with Keane, and asked him exactly what this project means for him and, most importantly um, my dad. Read on…
How’d you come up with the band name?
It come from a Jack Kerouac book called The Dharma Bums. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you do. It’s beautiful.
I haven’t, but may. Isn’t it enough for each of you to be in one successful band? How dare you attempt and succeed in another one?
We’re only doing it for the money. And women. And fame. So far it’s not working out.
What does this band offer you that Keane cant?
Tim and I are friends with a fair few really great musicians and I guess the main reason for doing Mt. Desolation was to get a chance to get all those people in one place and try and record something. It was really nice just to hang out, let alone actually finish a whole album.
Well said. Are you each fans of your respective bands?
Tim and I are massive fans of every musician on the record and all their various bands and projects. Whether they’re fans of Keane is another question. I’d like to hope they are but I wouldn’t hold it against them if they weren’t. Although, I’d probably burn their band’s records in public. And tell everyone that they were satanists.
And you’d be justified in saying so. Is this a side project or in your eyes just as important as Keane?
Everything musical we do is a valuable learning experience and a great pleasure but I think I speak for both of us when I say that our first love will always be Keane.
If I could ask you the question I should have asked first but didn’t, how did you form Mt. Desolation in the first place?
We were having a few beers at a pub in Dublin one night when we on tour with Keane. I think we were talking about country music for some reason and how fun it would be to make a whole album live with all our friends in one day. It turned out both of us already had a couple of country sounding songs hidden away in the vaults so that made the whole thing seem like it might actually be doable.
What has the experience been like to play the album live?
So much fun. It’s exciting being a baby band and playing to small crowds who don’t particularly know your music, it feels like you have to work even harder for them to enjoy the show. It’s a lot more tiring than normal touring traveling everywhere in a little van instead of a tour bus is great but means lots of early starts which usually follow late nights. And setting/packing up our own gear has reminded us just how amazing the Keane crew are. Loading the van at the end of the night feels great because you know you’re work is done and you can go for a beer.
Unrelated to anything, will you write a song about my dad?
That depends. Will he write one about us in exchange? And will he want a cut of the publishing when our one becomes a global phenomenon?
You bet he will! Anyways, I have to cut this interview short. Lastly, where do you find the time to write songs for this band on top of your other one?
We just steal them from other bands. Actually, I think we’re probably just workaholics. Writing music is quite addictive.