Every once in awhile, a band that has been through the ropes of the record industry comes back with a bang that drives your punk rock mind insane. The Canadian rockers, MUTE, have toured the world and have taken musical risks that showcase their artistic diversity throughout a mixed bag of melodically punk rock discs. I caught up with guitar player, Alex, to discuss their upcoming release, their DIY approach and more.
First and foremost, introduce yourself to our readers. Who is MUTE?
Mute is a four-piece fast melodic technical punk rock band. We’re from Québec City, Canada. We’ve been around about 18 years. We have released four full length albums and have done over 600 concerts worldwide.
Congrats on the upcoming album release, ‘Remember Death’? What do your fans and listeners have to look forward to with this release?
People can expect more of our patented brand of catchy yet technical songwriting with a strong emphasis on melody and speed. We don’t believe in fixing what’s not broken. We’ve been playing that genre of music for decades now and we don’t really feel the need to tinker with it too much. Fans know what to expect and we are happy to deliver! That’s not to say we’re getting stale. We are always looking to improve over our past records. An incalculable amount of time was spent on getting every detail right. The vocals are better than ever. The sound is better, more natural. And there are a few curveballs thrown here and there to keep the listener on his toes.
Your DIY approach to your music career is impressive. Share with our readers what that entails.
Our DIY approach entails that we do most of band-related tasks on our own. From making demos ourselves in the practice room, to art design and even accounting. Sometimes because there isn’t anybody else to do it, and other times, because we can do it better than anyone else. It’s very time consuming, but in return, it means we are in full control at any time. From every money transactions to the band’s image, we do as we please. Obviously we also get help from some very precious collaborators, like for international touring. You have to know when teaming up with someone else can be beneficial.
You have built a reputation for being a band that is on tour quite frequently. Tell our readers about your favorite venue to play and why you choose that location.
There’s this venue where we played a lot in our hometown of Québec called Le Cercle. We have a lot of good memories from playing there. It’s a good sized venue, not too big nor too small. We just feel very comfortable in there. Almost like second home.
I would have Bjorn “Speed” Strid from the band Soilwork do a guest appearance on vocals. He has an amazing voice and a great range of sung and screamed vocals. I would pick him also because he is in a band that plays a kind of music somewhat far away from what we do. A lot of times, guest spots are predictable. Bands choose people from bands that sound exactly like their own. I’d like our collaborations to be unexpected.
What is the music scene like in your hometown, Quebec City? Any bands/musicians that you’d like to recognize?
The scene is pretty good. There are a lot of venues available. Most of these places are booked a long time in advance. There is a lot of choice for people who want to see live music. On our side we draw good crowds every time we play. Hometown shows are always very special to us.
If you had the chance to take only three albums with you onto a desert island, which three albums would you choose and why?
Green Day – Dookie because it’s the album that made me want to play guitar and be in a band.
Craig’s Brother – Homecoming because it had the greatest impact on my songwriting.
Angra – Temple of Shadows – because it had the greatest impact on my lead playing.
How important do you perceive practicing and instrumental technique are for achieving your musical goals?
Being proficient at your instrument certainly helps you to play musical ideas the way you want them to sound. We practiced a lot individually and as a group in our years in the band. All that time serves us right when it’s time to put a song together, but now days we put more value on good ideas and good songwriting rather than technical prowess and flashy parts.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell our readers about your favorite pieces and the artists behind them.
My favorite tattoo is actually not even a real tattoo, but rather a collective make-up piece done on five different bodies for the classic Japanese movie “Blind Woman’s Curse”. Basically the whole thing is a giant dragon, but spread over the backs of five people.
Last but certainly not least, any messages for your fans?
Our new album Remember Death comes out on October 14th. We are extremely excited about this record and we can’t wait for everyone to finally hear it. Get ready!