Mon, 05 Apr 2010 07:49:23
Mutemath may very well be from the future.
On their latest album, Armistice, the band create their own brand of truly "alternative" rock 'n' roll injected with equal doses of electronica, glitch pop and some good old fashion jamming. The album twists and turns through entrancing soundscapes fueled by their intoxicatingly intriguing musicianship and soaring vocals.
Mutemath mainman Paul Meany sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive chat about creating Armistice, reading for inspiration and so much more.
Do you feel like Armistice captures your live energy?
All of those songs are on the cusp of such frustration creatively that when the dam finally broke, we were just going for it. We weren’t asking any questions. If it sounded good and it felt right, we kept it. We were working with a producer that definitely kept pushing us beyond the limits of where we were accustomed to allowing ourselves to go. Once those songs started to happen, there was this kinetic energy, and one song kind of lead to the next. The record became a pretty exciting experience.
Where do songs typically start for you guys?
For this record, it usually started in the dining room of this one particular house. The guys would just play there. It began with guitar, drum and bass. I would just listen to them from a nearby control room and when something good would happen, we'd jot it down. We would just begin to piece together some of these jams and begin to build a song from there, which is how "The Nerve" happened, which was a pretty great moment. It was just playing and holding out the bucket waiting for songs to fall out the sky. A lyrical concept would pop up, and that was it. I would try to write every lyric down really quickly because those good ideas simply happen. Then, we would move on to the next song.
Does reading influence your writing at all?
Yeah definitely, I keep a stack of books with me once I get in the thick of lyrics. Sometimes, you get stuck in an idea or you're looking at a particular concept at one angle and you run out of things to say and places to go. So yeah, the books are a way to help slingshot me around to different places.
There's an interesting parallel between books and albums because the audience visualizes the story for both…
Yeah definitely, and then everyone's disappointed once the movie comes out [Laughs].
The connection involves the viewer imparting his or her own experience onto the work.
That's the parallel, then you get disappointed once the movie comes out, or in this case with music, you become disappointed once the songwriter tells you what really inspired the song and what the song's really about. It's like, "No, that's not as good as what I thought it was about."
Do you feel like you can fit any kind of sound into these tracks?
Absolutely! We joke about it. I think we were all burnt out from previous bands and that formulaic approach to music we were all accustomed to. When we got into Mutemath, the idea was to allow ourselves to constantly stray from that. We feel like the sky is the limit. That's all healthy for the atmosphere for good music so I hope that we continue to push ourselves.
It seems that these songs lend themselves to a little bit more jamming on stage.B
Yeah, actually, I'll ask, "How do you know when a Mutemath song is done?" And the answer is—the moment we're scared to death of it. We usually keep working on something until we are completely perplexed and have no clue on how we're going to play it live or what's going to happen.
Will you be seeing Mutemath at Coachella? If you don't have Coachella tix yet enter our exclusive contest for a chance to win a pair!