Mountain Party's "Your Kind" blends their DIY mystique with a fine dusting of chamber pop. The song's chilly kiss off of "don't you tell me now" is completmented by a melodic calliope and a brooding violin. Lead singer Justin Green joined me for a brief chat about Mountain Party and the importance of a good hustle. Download a copy of "Your Kind" on Bandcamp for free!
SC: What I love about “Your Kind” is the tension between the lyrics and the instrumentation. While the lyrics are explicitly against material possessions “all you want is money / don’t you tell me now / about your diamond rings.” The message seems clouded because the music is couched within a pop song format that uses a string section. The music, in many ways, suggests the high materialism synonymous with modern pop music. Can you comment on the relationship between the lyrics and the music in “Your Kind”?
JG: For sure. The song is definitely railing against the pursuit of money and materialism, but there is also an element of self-aware frustration with one's OWN pursuit. The instrumentation does reflect that I think, and it's really cool to me that you picked up on it. Originally, this was a relatively bare bones song. I asked a friend to write and record some violin tracks, not knowing how it'd turn out or if I'd keep them, and was just floored by what he gave me. I loved it. We talked about it later and both admitted that it changed the overall feel of the song, which was something he was afraid of doing but something I pretty heavily leaned into. I do feel like the song has a luxurious feel to it with the violin tracks. I guess that is why I tried to give the song away as a free download for the most part, knowing it would be weird to sing "all you want is money" and then charge a dollar for it. I guess it is up on iTunes still, but when we premiered it, it was just a Soundcloud and Bandcamp download.
SC: What was your writing process like for this song?
JG: Most of the stuff I write begins with just some rhythm acoustic guitar, this song included. When I like a progression, I typically stumble on a melody with some nonsense lyrics or search for a melody with a few specific lyrics in mind. With this song, I had a few lines written down, some weren't really even related to each other, and went from there. The line "the way the birds circle death" was plucked and interpolated from something I dictated to my phone while driving past a landfill in Florida last year. It just happened to work really well with the rest of the lyrics, and so I cannibalized whatever else it was meant for, I don't even remember at this point. For the instruments, I recorded it all except drums and violins, and asked my friends Gus and Robert to do those, respectively.
SC: How often do you write? Do you keep a songwriting schedule or do you wait to be inspired?
JG: I probably write at least a few verses or half-formed songs every month, but not on a schedule. Normally I have a pretty large backlog of unrecorded songs that I'm sitting on or saving for later. I've forced myself into being very busy all the time with my home life, running a small record label, working my day job, writing fiction on the side, and playing rhythm guitar in the band Pony League, so I have to steal time these days to really focus on Mountain Party.
SC: How does your community of songwriters influence your writing?
I try to let them influence me as often as possible, and that is easier now that I'm playing in a band where I'm surrounded by talented musicians. But I also end up writing stuff that is a bit different than what I normally play with other people. I think that might be why I have a hard time sticking to one style.
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