The JamBase Podcast: The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle
The frontman discusses the band's new Muscle Shoals–recorded album, 'Dark in Here.'
Episode 84 of The JamBase Podcast, a partner of the Osiris Media Network, features an interview with The Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle. JamBase’s David Onigman interviewed Darnielle and discussed the band’s new album, Dark In Here, which comes out tomorrow, Friday, June 25 on Merge Records.
Darnielle and Onigman previously met in 2015, while the former was recording part of “Terrapin Station” for JamBase’s Songs Of Their Own series celebrating the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary. The interview, which was held over a video call, began with a discussion of some of the “stealth” aspects of The Mountain Goats, like their recent “jam adjacent” tendency to perform longer songs and Darnielle’s development as a lead singer.
They then discussed recording Dark In Here at the historic FAME Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The album was recorded around the same time as 2020’s Getting Into Knives and Songs For Pierre Chuvin, the latter of which saw Darnielle revert back to early Mountain Goats albums by recording with only a boombox. Darnielle detailed the experience in Muscle Shoals playing with renowned session musicians like Spooner Oldham and Will McFarlane.
Moving into a bit of an “Art Of The Setlist” segment, Darnielle revealed the band’s system for creating their setlists for live shows, which changes from concert to concert. Darnielle explained how each member of the band participates in the process and what their preferences are for the types of songs that are played.
Circling back to the Dead, Onigman asked Darnielle about his recent claim regarding the legendary band’s studio recordings. John stated “Althea” was the “only case within the entire GD catalog in which the studio recording is definitive” and went in-depth into his declaration as Onigman proposed potential alternatives.