New Orleans based rockers Mute Math have taken their unique sound, which incorporates elements of industrial, reggae, jazz, new wave, electric and psychedelic music, all over the United States. But the band that consists of vocalist, and keytar player Paul Meany, drummer, Darren King, guitarist Greg Hill and bassist Roy Mitchell-C∑rdenas, took it to Toronto for the first time on November 9, 2006. Still touring behind the success of their debut self-titled record, Meany spent a moment with Soul Shine to talk about the band's journey so far:
Tell me about your sound?
Honestly, it's just rock 'n' roll to me, but I can't find anyone to agree with me for some reason. It's just good ol' boy rock n' roll that tends to detour with effects pedals and electronic gadgetry a bit.
When you started making music did you set out to add all these elements to it or was it just kind of organic?
When we first started Mute Math, the idea was just to create. We didn't really have any set ambition to be one kind of band, we just really tried to make the best music that we knew how to. And use any instruments we could get our hands on and just create sounds and create melodies and just to see what happened, it was really just an experiment.
So yeah to answer your question it was an organic process it just kind of happened, with the foundation of, 'let's just create let's not set up certain limitations of what we can and can't do and see what happens'. And we're having a great time genuinely making music we love to play every night.
That's always good to hear.
Well we talk to bands a lot and a lot of times they feel like, man I've played in those bands actually, where you get stuck with playing music you don't really like.
How do you think that happens?
I don't know, I really don't know.
But I do think to avoid that you really do have to just make as much effort of reminding yourself that you're doing what you love, you've dreamed about it since you were a little kid and I think the business side really sucks the life out of that genuine emotion, that's when it starts turning into the grind.
And so all the guys in this band we made some sort of conscious attempt to keep it enjoyable. While it's happening, lets write music that we love and can be proud of 20 years from now when it's all over .
Have you noticed more of the business getting in the way now that you're doing bigger tours and things like that?
Getting in the way would be a strong phrase, it just pops up, and the monster of the business will rear it's ugly head from time to time and I think just over time we have to learn how to deal with it and learn when to check out and when you need to check in and tend to certain things.
But you know we're always learning and that's something that's always constant and difficult and dare I say we're actually trying to learn how to possibly enjoy that part of it, then if we do that÷
There's no stopping you.
There's no stopping us.
When you started out, you did a lot of promotion over the internet. Did you make a conscious effort to use the internet to promote your music? Or was it just what was available?
A little bit of both actually.
Usually what happens in my experience is, you make the best recording that you can and then the next part is, alright how do I get this to as many people as possible so they can listen. And to do that you can't bypass the internet.
I mean the internet is just a given, it's such a great medium. To just get the word out and we tried to be somewhat inventive with it and we were able to utilize MySpace - you know MySpace was just an up and coming phenomenon when we started.
Now it's crazy!
Now it's all over the place I think we're definitely one of the bands that benefited quite a bit from MySpace. It gave us an opportunity to showcase not just the songs but video blogs which were able to just give people snippets of the show and what goes on with the band and just put it all out on the table for people to either like it or hate it. And it really helped us.
How do you think the internet has affected the music industry?
I think the way traditionally record companies and contracts have been set up in the past that's slowly becoming obsolete.
I think it's a new model that's growing between labels and artists. Most big record companies right now are looking for artists and bands who have already done quite a bit on their own. We started our own label, Teleprompt, which is kind of a management / label thing, just our immediate team to just help us put wheels on our music; get it on the road, run the internet promotion and just see if we could somehow become a blip on the radar.
And from that we were able, to make a long story short really, we were able to work something out with Warner Bros. that's more set up like a partnership between all the involved parties. I think the days of record companies just being able to get rich off an artist is slowly dying away I don't think that can happen anymore.
The adverse affect is the music industry is more competitive than it's ever been because it's so easy, anyone who makes music can just put it out there - you're competing with everything and everyone, so it's that much more difficult to get noticed, but if you can its pretty empowering and that's been encouraging.
I think I like the way the industry is turning, it's going to be different but as long as people are interested in music then we'll be able to more forward.
Speaking of moving forward are you working on new music?
We're always brainstorming new ideas it's difficult when you're on the road because what you wind up doing is you just start accumulating fragmented ideas.
So that's where we're at right now, we just have a ton of fragmented ideas and we're all extremely anxious and that's what's going to happen as soon as this tour is over we're going to go home and just go at it for like a week in the studio just get it all out and start putting new songs and new ideas together, that's all part of the rush that's one of the great parts about being in a band and making music it's those moments.
Songwriting is÷ I've always looked at it as a 24/7 on call job you never know when inspiration's going to strike and when it does you just have to be ready to stop what you're doing and for me it's always about running this idea over about 10 to 20 times in my head so I can, say "I've got it, got it", write something down on paper to make sure I understand it and can go back to it later÷ and that never stops you know we're always doing that .
Yeah, I always forget things.
I know, I know and I do too and there's a lot of times where I've dropped the ball and I'm so - I wasn't responsible with the little inspiration, it came and struck me and all of a sudden a week later I'm all - I could've sworn it was a good idea but I can't remember it! So to justify that I usually go" ahh the idea was probably crap let's move on".
See what the fuss is about at www.mutemath.com, you'll be glad you stopped by.
Writer: Michelle Garcia