How is Mouth Of The architect doing these days?
Chaotic as ever! Seems like we're always sailing on choppy waters, but nonetheless we keep pressing forward. We were fortunate (after a few failed attempts) to tour Europe for a month, our new EP just came out with pretty good reviews overall, and we all feel pretty good about the future. Things are a lot less destructive around the MOTA camp nowadays.
Could you tell me about your recent European endeavours (so far), and your performance on Roadburn! What stood out most for you guys?
All in all the tour was very good. Other than the brutally long drives at mind numbingly slow speeds, we played a lot of really good shows for a lot of excited fans. Everywhere we went we were so well received, and people really went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Some of the standout moments were Roadburn and Asymmetry fests. Roadburn was of course amazing, but very stressful for us. It was the first show, and for reasons I'll leave out of this interview, we showed up about 4-5 hours later than we were supposed to. All of our equipment was rented, and we didn't have time to check everything out before we played. Our power converters didn't work, the airport broke Kevin's Gibson, blah blah blah- it was a nightmare! Ultimately we pulled it off, and played an amazing show. Asymmetry fest was much later in the tour, and we were much more comfortable at that point, so everything went much smoother on our end. That was one of the best shows we've ever played. The crowd was very receptive, and it just felt like everything worked that night.
It's been almost three years since I spoke to you last. We had an interview about your supposed break-up back then. Can you tell me briefly about the most important events after your split with Gregory Lahm?
Well, we wrote and recorded 'Quietly'; easily the most problem-free endeavour to date. The songs came about very naturally, and the recording saw no major setbacks. We've done a few good tours with great bands, and I feel like the band is- as it always has been- moving in a positive direction.
Are you again on speaking terms with Gregory?
I had the feeling 'Quietly' somehow went by a little less noticed than previous efforts, would you agree? Do you have an explanation for that?
There's probably a number of reasons for that. I feel the main reason is that our touring schedule was much more active supporting the ties that blind. We played over 200 shows one year (I think in 2006) as opposed to a much more limited touring availability once 'Quietly' came out. Also, the material was a lot less direct and a bit more thoughtful than our previous efforts. Often these kinds of offerings go less noticed.
Ok, onto the new EP, why did you record an EP this time?
The deal we signed for 'Quietly' was for an LP and an EP. 'Quietly' was all ready to go, so the EP was to follow. It was also a good opportunity to explore a new direction, and not have to flesh out and entire record in that direction. We wanted to do something a bit more progressive and involved, while still maintaining our sound. We had also kicked around the idea of doing a cover, and there was the unreleased track we wrote with Greg- the EP format just seemed right to do all this.
I must say the new work is awesome! Those two tracks are the most versatile and heavy tracks in the history of the band I think. Could you come up with a reason why these two tracks sound the way they do? Any unreleased anger you fed them with perhaps?
Haha maybe. Without going into too much detail, all of our lives have changed dramatically since 'Quietly' came out. Those songs are an expression of both failure and triumph, trust and betrayal. But most of all, it is music for the love of music. We always try to push in a new direction, be it a small or large push. But the music is more active and not so apathetic, which I think is a good indication of where we are at as people.
So uhm, do you have more where that came from? And when are you planning to record it?
No plans as of yet. We do have quite a bit of material though. When we were writing for 'The Violence Beneath', Steve kind of went into a writing frenzy. We just developed enough for the EP and left it at that. Simple answer: we have stuff, but no plans to record it just yet.
Could you explain your choice of that live track you added? And is Joe Lester playing on it? Did playing with Lester influence your style in any way?
It was the last song we wrote with Greg before he left. The recording was from the Mastodon tour we did, and was the only recording we had of it, and we thought it would be a shame to not do anything with that song. We talked it over with Greg and decided it should go on the EP. That is Joe playing bass on restore. He plays on the two original tracks on the EP as well. Joe has been a tremendous influence and inspiration to us since the day we met Intronaut. Although Joe wasn't present for the writing process on the violence beneath, he brought his unmistakable "Joe Lesterness" to the table and completely reshaped the sound of the record for the better.
Of course I want to know why you guys choose to record a cover by Peter Gabriel! And why that track, and not -for example- 'Sledgehammer'? Are you guys big fans?
This was something that we argued about as a band for years. The only thing that we agreed on was that we wanted to do a recognizable song by a significant artist, and we wanted to change it completely as if we wrote the song. Ultimately we settled on Peter Gabriel because he rules! His work with Genesis and his solo work are amazing. We chose the song because it was inspiring, but had an underlying sadness to it. Once we started working with the song, everything just sort of fell into place. We are all certainly big fans of Peter Gabriel, and I can't help but be curious if he's heard our version of his song.
So that cover was pretty much unaccounted for, is there any other hidden musical taste among you guys you should warn us for?
Our musical tastes are about as varied as they get. Personally, I listen to very little metal. If you were to hop in our van on tour, you'd probably be surprised at how little metal we listen to as a band. Jazz, classical, and folk music dominate the majority of our I-pods. You're more likely to hear John Coltrane, Angels Of Light, or Ween in our van than most of the bands in our genre. I think it's this variety that gives us our unique sound - in that we're not limited to what everyone else in our scene is doing.
What are your immediate future plans?
Work, save up some money, and do this all over again. We have some shows here in the States coming up, but mostly its just time to recuperate and figure out what's next.
Are you coming back to Europe any time soon?
The sooner the better! I think that for our first tour over there, we were very successful. I could only see it getting better from there, so we plan on coming back as soon as it is possible for us to do so. There is a ton of planning and investment involved in a tour like that, and since we do almost everything ourselves it will probably take a while.
Thanks a lot for your time, if you have anything to add, this space is yours:
We'd like to thank all the people who came out to see us on our European tour! We met a lot of really great people who made the experience all the more valuable. Thank you all so much.