If you’d never heard of the Mountain Goats and were told they had a new album out that features songs about the occult (and one about Charles Bronson) and had a death-metal musician as a producer, you’d probably be very surprised by what came out of the speakers when you hit play.
Of course, if you’re already a fan of the Mountain Goats, you won’t be surprised at all to learn that even with those things, the band’s latest album, “All Eternals Deck,” is full of the hyper-literate, acoustic-based songs they’re known for.
amNewYork spoke with lead singer John Darnielle.
Did you set out to write about the occult, or did you slowly realize it was becoming a theme?
You can always hear when a writer sat down and said, “I’m going to tell a story about this” — it sounds very forced. I just write. Then, when I have four or five songs that fit together, I ask: “What’s going on here? What are the images and themes?” On this one, there were werewolves and scorpions and people who die young. It’s about the things that haunt people.
You’ve always been a big horror fan. Why didn’t you explore these things sooner?
I feel sheepish about the interests and obsessions I had when I was young. I want to write about higher themes, like people getting divorced. But at heart, I really want to write about cavemen — or cavemen from outer space.
Death-metal singer/guitarist Erik Rutan produced part of your album. Will you work on one of his projects?
I’d be ecstatic if he asked, but I can’t imagine what I would contribute. Death- metal dudes are outstanding musicians. I don’t have the kind of chops where I could bust out a death-metal solo.
How is the Facebook campaign to get you on “Law & Order: SVU” going?
That isn’t my campaign; it was started organically by a fan. But if you know anybody, I’d appreciate it if you put in a good word.
If you go: The Mountain Goats are at Bowery Ballroom Monday through Wednesday at 8 p.m. 6 Delancey St., 212-533-2111, Mon.-Tues., sold out. Wed., $25.