Credit the formation of Mt. Desolation to “a few pints of Guinness” enjoyed by Keane members Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quinn.
“At that time, it seemed like a good idea to try and make a country record,” Rice-Oxley, 34, who’s Keane’s keyboardist and chief songwriter, says with a laugh. “I think it just seemed like it would be almost an amusing challenge for two pasty English guys to try and do that.
“So it almost started off as a bit of a joke, but as we got into writing the songs and time went on, we had some songs we were proud of and excited by, and the whole thing started to take on a little more weight.”
Rice-Oxley and Quinn recorded the first Mt. Desolation album, whose sound is more roots/Americana than strictly country — what Rice-Oxley calls “almost a pastiche” — with a little help from friends, including members of the Killers, Mumford & Sons and Noah and the Whale, as well as Rice-Oxley’s wife Jayne. And even though Keane plans to start recording its next album in November, Rice-Oxley and Quinn are hoping to make Mt. Desolation a going concern as well.
“I hope so, because it’s interesting,” he says. “We’re slightly torn because it’s very tempting to suddenly pool our efforts into Mt. Desolation, but we’re personally both very, very excited about getting back into the studio to make another Keane record. That’s our priority.
“But we also want to, I think, hang on to the original principle of (Mt. Desolation) being something that’s just about music and just about having fun. The idea of stopping before it becomes a fully-fledged campaign is very appealing and ... quite brave, I think. But of course we’re very lucky we can go back to the Keane things. We’re very spoiled in that regard.”
Mt. Desolation performs Friday, Oct. 29, at the Pike Room in the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 248-858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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