The members of MuteMath had reached their breaking point. Collectively gathered on the front porch of their New Orleans home-studio where they were struggling to record the follow up to their 2006 critically-acclaimed Teleprompt/Warner Bros. debut, the quartet screamed at each other with the full weight of the accumulated frustrations that had escalated from weeks of fighting. To heighten the tension, a lawn mower droning in the background drowned out their voices, inciting them to yell even louder in misguided efforts to be heard.
MuteMath had written close to 16 songs in the midst of their 3 years on the road and had full intention of arriving in New Orleans to record and sculpt these ideas into the 10 or so songs they would need for their sophomore release. But after weeks of recording and working in every seperate corner of an old uptown voodoo Victorian, the internal conflicts over what parts made up the best ideas began building to a full on creative stalemate.
Finally, drummer Darren King voiced what everyone was thinking, but feared saying out loud: either call it quits or swallow their individual pride and try to write the best songs they ever had. “No one said a word at that point,” recalls vocalist/frontman Paul Meany. “And without comment, apology or agreeing, I just remember all of us walking right back inside, going straight to our instruments, and just starting to play music.” That was the day King, Meany, guitarist Greg Hill, and bassist Roy Mitchell-Cardenas began to write what would become Armistice.
Once MuteMath had grasped the benefit of their new mindset, they didn't waste any more time. All previous 16 ideas were completely scrapped and MuteMath began to work together in the same room everyday just starting with a tempo and key to play in. It turned into a marathon style writing session yielding a new song about every other day. MuteMath eventually signed on Dennis Herring as their official producer and after 3 months in New Orleans shaping up almost 20 brand new songs, they headed to Oxford, MS and worked more closely with Herring to put the final details in place.
Fueled by the band's chaos and confusion, MuteMath has created a work of tremendous beauty and meaning on Armistice. Tracks such as the hypnotic, musically inventive “Clipping,” the propulsive, high dynamic charge of “The Nerve,” the quirky tribute to Murphys Law “Backfire,” and the nine-minute, soaring, closing opus “Burden.” Instead of brushing aside the questions and anxiety that propelled the projects birth, the quartet embraces them, with each song questioning where to go from here.
Its evident that Armistice is not a high-minded story with a beautiful resolve, but rather the experience of knowing when to stop fighting for the sake of progress. Without a doubt, ideals get mamed and dismembered in the scuffle, but Armistice emerges as a transcendant anesthetic to keep us singing and dancing through it all.
The fairytale story of MuteMath began in 2001 when Paul Meany, of popular Christian rock group Earthsuit, began receiving instrumental song demos from Darren King. Those demos started a long distance writing partnership that resulted in King moving to New Orleans in 2003 to work more intensely with Meany. By 2004, the duo had recruited the rest of the band, formed Teleprompt Records, signed a distribution deal with Warner and released their debut Reset EP.
Since MUTEMATH released that first EP in late 2004 and hit the road in 2005, their inherent nature has challenged limitations and expanded parameters. By the time of the 2006 self-titled debut, their blending of adverse genres into its own innovative sonically adventurous creation earned them a reputation as one of modern musics most daring young groups. Their fusion of rock, electronica and pop, mixed with a heavy dose of passion, has created a buzz in the indie rock scene and by 2007, they would find themselves Grammy nominated. Their music is heavily keyboard driven but, like Radiohead, they do not sacrifice the percussive drive of their music. The wall of sound Mute Math creates is accented with piercing guitars and sound samples.
MuteMath has built their reputation with songs on the movies soundtracks for Transformers The Movie, Twilight and Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants 2, as well as highly successful appearances on late night talk shows. Their most famous appearance was on Jimmy Kimmel Live when they taped their live performance of "Typical" backwards and then replayed it on the show in front of another live audience.
MuteMath has one of wildest live shows around. Alternative Press billed MuteMath as the top band "you need to see live before you die," Their dynamic live shows are punctuated by their attention to detail and the freedom they have created for themselves to explore a full expression of their music in sound and visuals
"[Forming the band] was just a creative exercise," Meany explained. "There's something very liberating about that approach. We weren't necessarily thinking about being any kind of band or who we were gonna open for, it was all just about creating music... as much of a record company or marketing nightmare as that would turn out to be, we wanted to make music that we were looking forward to playing every night and fantasizing about how a show could unfold or how we could set up who could play what."
There is more to MuteMath's shows than what we see on television. During their live shows they invite the audience to participate by passing around a homemade electronic noise maker called "the Atari", which looks like a joy stick. Couple the Atari with Paul Meaney's keytar and his manic front man act and you understand MuteMath's reputation as a top live act. However, one of the most memorable parts of a MuteMath show is Darren King's frantic drumming.
In the process of pushing boundaries even further for themselves, MuteMath almost pushed themselves out of existence. “It was a risk we had to take,” says King looking back on what they set out to accomplish for Armistice. “This record was by far the most painful music-making experience I've ever had, but also the one Im most proud of.”
Listen to MuteMath Here
|Flesh And Bones Electric Fun||2008||Teleprompt/Warner Brothers|
|Armistice Live (CD/DVD)||2010||Teleprompt/Warner Brothers|
|Odd Soul (Deluxe Version)||2011||Teleprompt/Warner Brothers|