MUTEMATH (USA) Interview

By Calen Vanstone


Since releasing their latest album, Odd Soul, Mutemath elevated from “who?” to “ah yeah, those guys”, here in Australia. However, back in their home country of the United States of America, things are a bit different.


They’ve released three studio albums, four E.P.’s, and two live albums. They’ve appeared on television performing for Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and David Letterman. Played the Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Van’s Warped Tour, V Festival and the CMJ Music Marathon festivals to name a few. They even had a song on the first Twilight Soundtrack. So yeah, they’re kind of a big deal.


So Australia is finally getting a chance to embrace these New Orleans chap again. After coming over for a spot at Groovin’ The Moo, the boys are heading back down under for a more extensive tour, in particular, a first-time stop here in Adelaide.


For a band so developed in their home country, how do you adapt to a whole new audience?


“It’s encouraging. It’s like your first day at a new school. All the kids don’t know your past, so you can start again in a way. It’s scary, but exciting,” says, Darren (King – drummer)


Thankfully, Mutemath’s time with Groovin’ The Moo was anything but scary for King.


“Two weeks of Flava Flav. Every day, you’d be doing your thing, and then he’d just pop up out of nowhere. He’s a total character – exactly as you’d imagine him to be. Keeping everyone laughing and making sure they were having a good time.”


As for the experience, minus Flava Flav.


“Australian’s know how to have fun. It’s as if they’ll die if they don’t have their daily dose of fun. I had read a lot about Australia. I had high expectations, and they were all met! I ate kangaroo – and loved it! I went water skiing. Watched some AFL!”


“Was great to see Matt Corby, Big Scary, Ball Park Music. Great talents and fun people. Also, a big fan of Tame Impala!”


Despite the recent joys of spending day-in and out with Public Enemy’s flamboyant MC, the history of Mutemath has been a rocky one at times. As with most bands that’ve been together for over ten years, (they wrote their first material for what would become Mutemath way back in 2001) it isn’t necessarily that easy to keep the machine well-oiled, so to speak.


So how do you make it work?


“You have to enjoy it. And you can’t be wasteful with your time. Sometimes it’s nice to do nothing. Sometimes that’s the best thing. But there are other times; sitting on the toilet playing Words With Friends on my iPhone and going, I really could be doing something better.”


One such recent bump in the road for the band was the sudden departure of long-time guitarist, Greg Hill. Hill left not long after the writing and recording of the new album back in 2010, but it wasn’t officially announced until April the following year, when the record was complete.


“It was the craziest day,” remembers, King. “We had flown back from Jakarta and gotten in to a band fight about what to do over the next couple of days. Then, all of a sudden, Greg quit. Paul (Meany – lead vocalist/keyboardist) realised it was the best time to ask everyone if we were still in this. We all, of course, said yes, and then Paul told us he’s going to be a dad. With that news out, Roy stated he was having a second child. I had just recently gotten married myself, so it took a while for it all to sink in.”


“I miss Greg, he’s a talented guy. It was definitely a bummer, but we all knew we had to keep going.”


With several big tours coming up, including the one to grace our fair shores, and the hope to record a new album, 2013 is building up to be a huge year for the band, and one that will see them enjoy even more success abroad. As for the direction of the new material, something of a stylistic change seems to be on the cards, at least in King’s eyes.


“I do hope so. Either way, we don’t worry. Whatever comes, comes. I look forward to getting back in to it.”


The core partnership at the centre of the band, that’s existed since the band formed, between King and Meany, is one of the key reasons Mutemath is still around to this day, and why they will thrive long in to the future. King remembers those days fondly, and the gratitude he has for his friend.


“I was very lucky when we started out. Paul really believed in me. He knew I wasn’t as good as the previous drummer he’d been playing with, but he stuck with me. He really felt I was worth having around. I owe it all to him.”


MUTEMATH are performing here in Adelaide on the 21st of March, performing at Fowler’s Live head to for tickets!

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