It started, as many ingenious ideas do: over a few, or maybe more than a few, drinks at a cozy bar—specifically, a Dublin pub. A little more than a year later, Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin, pianist and bassist respectively in Keane, had a new project, a new album, and a new tour on their hands.
Mt. Desolation take their name from the fictional mountain in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, and the music reflects that nominal starting point, even if the American-style country it aims for often comes off (wonderfully) more Kinks than Cash—more Muswell Hillbilly than Virginia hillbilly. The self-titled album, made with members of Mumford and Sons, Noah and the Whale, and the Killers, is an understated gem, full of melody, brisk storytelling, and barely concealed excitement—no wonder Rice-Oxley was in such a pleasant mood when he spoke to Blender.
A couple of questions that I like from the interview...
What has the reaction to Mt. Desolation been from Tom [Chaplin] and Richard [Hughes] from Keane?
They've been lovely—really good, really encouraging. Jesse and I are very focused on Keane, and very excited about making the next Keane record. We've fit Mt. Desolation around Keane, so it's not like there's been a clash of schedules. And they love the music. Tom's been to quite a few Mt. Desolation gigs, even the first two tiny ones, just to support us, really. They've been brilliant about it; it hasn't caused any problems at all.
Both of those guys appreciate escaping from the Keane thing for a few weeks, getting back to normal life, which I think is very sensible, whereas Jesse and I are obsessives that need to be making music every moment that we're awake.
It might be too early to ask this, but what is the future of Mt. Desolation?
I don't know. We're very lucky that we don't feel the pressure to push it for all it's worth. Our plan is to do this tour and then go back to the UK and start making the next Keane album straight away... and I'm sure that will take up the next two years of our lives!
We have a very strong sense of wanting to continue Mt. Desolation, but it's hard to know yet when or how we will continue. But it's nice to put it aside while there's still a hunger to do more. We really enjoyed making the record, which is important. It's been so fun making it, so fun being on tour. We just did three weeks in the UK, and now we're living the dream bringing the tour to the States. It's been amazing, and I've learned so much from it. I would love to do it again, and I'm very excited to take everything I've learned back to writing for Keane. It's been a real education to me—a real eye-opener.
Click here to read the whole interview =)