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We’re deliberately trying to be showmen: Mutemath

After a recent gig in Mumbai, members of the popular US-based alternative rock band, Mutemath, talk about performing in India, and the influences behind their music.

music Updated: Nov 22, 2014 14:55 IST
Shalvi Mangaokar
Shalvi Mangaokar
Hindustan Times

Mutemath tops the list of artistes for those who enjoy alternative rock music. Comprising lead vocalist and keyboardist Paul Meany, drummer Darren King, guitarist Todd Gummerman and bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas, the band rocked the Harley Rock Riders concert in the city recently. We caught up with them before the gig to talk about their music and how they feel about performing in India.

The band’s drummer, King, feels that it’s a good time for Indian music and they have visited the country at the right time. “It’s a really exciting time. Culturally and musically, there’s a lot of great stuff happening in India. There have been great festivals… we feel honoured to be here,” he says. He goes on to say that Indian music has a lot of potential. “There’s unlimited potential in this large country. We realised that we when attended Indian Ocean’s performance a few years ago. They were the first spark of indie music and they sing in different languages. They are really awesome.”

Yesteryear influence
When asked about Mutemath’s music, which blends genres like rock, blues, indie and electronic, the drummer says, “When we first started out, we thought we would be a quieter band. But, eventually, our music turned into something more rock, with the guitars and the bass, and we eventually became a four-piece rock band.” Paul Meany adds that their music is influenced by classics from the’90s. “We came up as programmers and were really inspired by a lot of electronic music that was happening in the ’90s. We started making music together with a lot of shared influences from Björk and Beastie Boys,” he says.

The visual effect
Apart from their sound, Mutemath is also known for the spectacular visual experience they provide the audience with. Their explosive stage acts, King says, are a result of them wanting to be entertaining. “We’re deliberately trying to be showmen. The goal is to not be boring, to make people smile and have a good time,” says the drummer, who feels that in India, “there’s a lot of drumming on the streets — there’s noise, singing, honking”.

Love for India
Towards the end of the chat, the members of the band unanimously state that they are very fond of the audience here. “They’re beautiful. They’re the best audience,” says King, who goes on to share a storyfrom their first performance in India. “At one of our shows here last year, all of us were jetlagged and we weren’t feeling well before we took the stage. But the moment we went on, there was so much energy that we felt charged up, we just felt the audience’s energy and performed. They were singing with us. So it went from being the most tired we’ve ever felt to the happiest. And then I couldn’t sleep that night. That’s the power of an Indian audience. We play shows all over the world, but we don’t feel like that anywhere else,” he says.

First Published: Nov 22, 2014 14:45 IST