Interview – Mahogany Frog

I recently featured the track, A Decision Of The Flower, by Mahogany Frog in a round-up review based around songs with elements of post-rock in them. It’s an interesting genre, and one I wanted to learn more about, so I decided to have a chat with Graham Epp to find out more about Mahogany Frog.

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a track titled A Decision Of The Flower, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song?

The piece is from a subdued section of the silent film Faust, which we’ve made a soundtrack for. It begins with a lonely pulsing Wurlitzer electric piano that eventually is taken over by building layers of electronics. It’s one of the softest and most beautiful songs in our catalogue and is a stark contrast to the mood and feel of the rest of the score.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

We released a record last year called Mahogany Frog In The Electric Universe that we initially planned on releasing in summer of 2020 but that got pushed back as did a small tour we had lined up. The pandemic restrictions have kept us off of the road but have given us time to focus and finish this new record. Even though it’s been a while since we’ve performed live, we’ve been able to release two double records in the past twelve months.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

For the Faust record our writing took a different approach than our previous records. As it is a film score, we broke the entire film down into scenes or blocks and would compose the music for each specific section. There is a long scene in the second half of the movie where the mood changes from doom to a light playfulness. We ended up using some pieces that I had been working on prior to the Faust project. One of the pieces ended up being A Decision Of The Flower.

Do you plan to release more music in the near future?

We’re all involved in a bunch of different musical projects so there will be releases from these groups. As for a new Mahogany Frog record, we’re going to give it some time. That said, we’ll be releasing a short live performance video later this year.

What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

The roots of this band lie in 60’s psychedelia and early 70s electric jazz. Hendrix, the Soft Machine, Miles Davis, Weather Report, etc. In our early 20’s, we heard the instrumental bands Jaga Jazzist and Tortoise and that propelled us forward immensely. Currently we’ve been into the Ty Segall projects. Jesse and I are going to see Fuzz in a week’s time. I like a lot of new electronic music as well. Plaid, Clark, Ochre…

We have a broad taste in music. We were at a grindcore show last weekend with Regurgitated Guts and Archagathus that was incredible!

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

We live in the frozen metropolis of Winnipeg in the centre of Canada. Folks here spend over half of the year in their basement looking inward and asking themselves why they live in such a frozen wasteland. Out of this introspective time, massive amounts of expressive music and art are created and then released in the spring when people are allowed to leave their homes.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

We’ll be playing a smattering of shows this summer as well as tour dates in the autumn.

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

We perform with a tonne of vintage gear and everything, including ourselves, are on the verge of exploding. We play loudly and furiously. Sometimes it feels like we’re trying to control a wild animal.