As complex as a quadratic equation, yet as beautiful as trigonometry, Muto Leo’s post math adventures in modern recordings are layer cakes of polyrhythmic perfection. Throwing angular guitar riffs, mind-melting signature changes and pop hooks into the mix, Muto Leo have a cunning plan: it’s math with melody – and that’s the way we like it in Liverpool. SevenStreets caught up with Scott, Joe, Luke and Will ahead of this week’s EP launch and Easter Weekend gig. Live, they’re a force of nature. You could find worse things to work off those Creme Egg multipacks this weekend…
So, give us your creation myth: How did it all start?
S: It all started around 3 years ago, whilst we were in University. Joe, Will and I were sat around drinking one night, and after a like minded conversation on music, we decided we would start playing some covers together. I clearly recall us covering Into Dust by Mazzy Star before we started throwing some ideas of our own around.
We’re fans. We like to hear Liverpool creating new soundscapes. Do you think you offer something that’s been missing in Liverpool for a while?
S: I think there is a distinct lack of instrumental bands in general maybe not just Liverpool. We understand that instrumental music is quite niche and viewed by many as self indulgent! So it’s always nice to hear that people enjoy the music we make! We’re slightly cursed with thinking our music is never ready or it’s never quite good enough. We construct our set to almost tell a story and we try to fill the entire 20-25 minutes with continuous music. I think it’s important to keep people guessing with instrumental music! It’s very easy to lose your attention when there is no vocalist to focus on, we really make a conscious effort to make the sound as entertaining as possible.
Is it a good time to be a musician in Liverpool?
J: I would say so yeah, the amount of new and fresh music in and around Liverpool at the minute is immense! But not only is there the quantity, there is the quality. It really is a coming of age for Liverpool right now.
L: Absolutely! Liverpool is erupting with great music at the present and you can discover new music everywhere you look. It’s great to see a real expansion in local media such as Sevenstreets, as well as other local music magazines and blogs. All in all, it’s a fantastic time to be a musician and I urge everyone to get out there and behold to the talent that oozes out of Liverpool’s music scene.
How supportive is the Liverpool music scene for you right now?
W: I think it often gets bad press for being stagnated and one dimensional and I can almost appreciate that point of view from an outsider looking in. The truth is though that there are lots of sub-scenes in Liverpool and they are all doing extremely well. There has been a surge in the DIY scene recently which is great for a band like us, but it hasn’t left us out in the cold with the city’s brightest promoters. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support which we have had from Sam Garlick & Everisland. Sam has helped us so much, particularly in terms of getting our music noticed by some of liverpool’s most respected organisers.
Who are you listening to?
J : Well at the moment I’m 100% addicted to the new Maccabees album, I always followed their stuff and when this came out and I first listened to it, my first reaction was “wow”. There’s a guy we found on soundcloud called Marc Sadler, and he’s done a few remixes of a few tracks here and there, but his remix of the Lucy Rose track “middle of the bed” blew me away, if you haven’t heard of him you should definitely check his stuff out.
W: Recently I’ve been listening to Hysterics by Rolo Tomassi…..Again. It’s not a new album but it’s one of those records I keep going back to. It’s not what you might call an easy listen but there more recent album ‘Cosmology’ is a little easier to get along with. As far as Liverpool acts go, This Is Two have really blown me away lately. They have just released a new EP on the same local label as us. (BabyFace Records)
S: I’ve been listening to a U.S math band called Giraffes? Giraffes! They’re mental! They’re a two man show from Western Massachusetts who have recently released an album called PINK MAGICK. Their style is quite old school in terms of math-rock, almost Hella-esque. But more recently I’ve been listening to Turn On The Bright Lights by Interpol.
Tell us about the EP
L: Well ‘Cascades’ EP is our second EP as Muto Leo, but our first instrumental EP. It was recorded and mixed at the Sennheiser studio in LIPA by Alex Pegington, Produced by Josh Ballantyne and Mastered by Marc Joy at Come Together Records in Wrexham. Cascades will be released on a local label Babyface Records on 7 April, by our good friend Liam Malorey-Vibert. Were launching it in the Caledonia on the night.
J: With this EP we wanted to capture a snapshot of what we are doing, and what we are about. The aim was to create not only an EP for ourselves but the record had to invoke a reaction, to capture the listener and create a delicate musical soundscape around them. Hopefully we’ve achieved that!
W: ‘Cascades’ is our line in the sand I guess. We have only ever had one instrumental track available for people to listen to and we were really keen to make an honest representation of what we do. Musically, it’s a twisting, fast tempo record, lots of hooks and badass drum and bass lines.
S: We’re really happy with the way it’s all come out! All the recordings were done ‘Live’ and in one take, we think by doing it this way it added more character and depth to the tracks, As well as a degree of honesty in that people can expect us to sound like this live.
Sound City – discuss…
J: Sound city is one of those festival events that just keeps getting better and better. It’s not only good for the city in terms of revenue but more importantly than that it’s a way of local home grown talent to showcase their material. People need to hear this stuff, we don’t all sit round listening to the beatles in Liverpool! There is SO much more out there, and sound city is a perfect way of discovering and revealing that talent.
S: Sound City is an awesome event. I’ve been going to it since 2008 and it seems to be getting better and better every year! We count ourselves lucky enough to have supported Dutch Uncles at last year’s Sound City considering we had only played a handful of shows as an instrumental band at that time. I think it’s really good to see local events such as Sound City and Liverpool Music Week attracting the calibre of artist that they do.
W: More local acts supporting the big out-of-town bands please. People come to sound city because they know they are going to have a great time regardless and catch some great headline acts. I’d love to see the organisers give local acts a stage to sell themselves to a new crowd.
What are your thoughts on the noise in the city debate currently raging?
W: This is a tough one. This debate has potential to damage live music in the city centre beyond repair. I feel that both sides should try and work the problem rather than the council simply enforcing bans and the music community protesting against them. With the closure of the masque, the CUC and the end of a live music programme at Mojo, it’s crucial we do all we can to keep venues open. The music community must work proactively to build a mutual respect with the council and residents. I just hope that both sides can show some flexibility. It would be such a shame if hard-line council attitudes continue only to restrict the work of some of Liverpool’s brightest artists, musicians and entrepreneurs.
J: Up until now Liverpool has been a cultural hotspot for live music and performance so why is it now all of a sudden become more of a problem than it’s ever been before? I think the people who are closing all these venues and banning all these events should seriously consider the damage they are doing to the Liverpool music scene, as Will said, the list of venues closing down is growing by the week and this will only negatively affect Liverpool, and it will be far worse than any amount of noise pollution, it will kill off live music in the city and stifle new talent.
We’re guessing you’re as sick of the post/math/whatever rock labelling. So give us seven words to describe you instead
S:We’ll chase the wave, you’ll ride it?