Roundtable Interview With Mutiny
Edison, New Jersey's Mutiny have been rocking in their current line-up since May of 2006. Brandishing everything heavy -- from face melting solos to blast beats, they continue to create their unique brand of technical metal. Nonetheless, Mutiny's sonic output comes back to rest on heavy grooves and melodies.
With an average age of 18, Mutiny have a lifetime in front of them. Even so, they've already played countless shows, with the likes of Danzig, WASP, 3 Inches of Blood, and are moving on to play the Bamboozle Festival alongside My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, and Killswitch Engage.
I caught up with Mutiny for some Chinese food and throwing of a frisbee. What follows is a conversation with all five band members.
Steve: Guys, how's everybody doing? What's going on?
Lu: Really good.
Steve: First, I'd like to get some basic vital information. When did you first start making music together?
Samus: Ask him [points to AJ].
AJ: Oh, let's see. [camera zooms in] Oh Jesus Christ. I would say about [camera moves inches from AJ's face]...I'm very comfortable by the way. I would say....Are you serious?
Steve: Haha, I'm recording.
AJ: Six years ago Mutiny got started, and started making music. We started off with some keyboard stuff, you know? Some cool shit like that. Then it moved on to these guys [motions to band mates around him] and now, we talk about everything. And [the riffs]...Years in the making, these riffs. The riffs don't come easy dude, they don't come easy. But when they happen, they get through everybody. Then they fucking rock man.
Steve: Any other thoughts on that one? On the origins of Mutiny?
Lu: This line-up happened May of last year.
AJ: That's when we played our first show, right?
Samus: Me and Drew--
Lu: That's when Sam was officially in the band. So Sam was the last new member to be added. It's almost the one year anniversary. [turns to Sam] Drew was in the band before you. Sorry. [laughs]
AJ: Yeah, about a year now.
Steve: That answered my next question on all the band members: original, or not original?
Lu: He's the only original member [points to AJ].
Steve: The only original member?
AJ: In my opinion, this is first line-up, because nothing was this serious before.
Steve: How time do you guys spend together outside of the band?
Samus: Like every day.
Lu: Every day. Probably 5 or 6 times a week.
Drew: Eight times a week. [a few laughs]
Lu: Yeah, eight times a week.
Samus: Yeah, we hang out eight times a week.
Steve: Eight, that's an exact number?
Everybody: Probably more.
AJ: We don't have friends any more.
Lu: Yeah, we don't.
AJ: We're either rocking or chilling as friends.
Steve: What do those activities include when you're chilling as friends?
Samus: South Park.
Lu: Family Guy.
Samus: Applebees hates us.
Steve: Why? Why does Applebees hate you guys?
Samus: Because we're there every night, and we always request the booth [the biggest seat in the house--all the way in the corner].
Steve: So what's wrong with that? You pay, don't you?
Samus: Drew comes in there and causes a ruckus.
Drew: [in a confident, unapologetic tone] Yeah.
Samus: He writes his name on the wall.
Steve: In what?
AJ: Yeah, he leaves a mess.
Drew: With Mutiny marker.
Steve: Very cool. Mutiny marker. Did they wash it off?
Steve: Alright. Mutiny makes a lasting impression. Now, what metal musicians have inspired Mutiny?
Brandon: I'd start off with Alexi Laiho [Children of Bodom] and Michael Romeo [Symphony X].Yeah, just Symphony X and Bodom, man. In Flames too, we're really inspired by them.
Steve: How about non metal musicians?
Drew: Victor Wooten.
Brandon: Victor Wooten, yeah.
Lu: We're big on classical, too. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, all that stuff.
Samus: We already broke Bach though. [Breaking Bach is the title of a Mutiny tune].
Steve: Yeah, so I hear.
AJ: And that started off with a lot of punk. We all kind of did in some way.
Steve: Yeah, I remember watching a "making of"...I think it was Twisted Within Lies. I forget who filmed it. I watched it on YouTube, and I could never find it again. It was the making of Breaking Bach. Brandon, you were playing the main riff, and AJ, you were playing
that, and I think AJ, you suggested instead of going with thrash, add...right out of the beginning...more of a punk beat...
AJ: Yeah, yeah.
Samus: That was Twisted Within Lies dude. Fat John was there. That was the first Mutiny rehearsal [with the current lineup] ever. It was me and these two [points to Brandon and AJ].
Brandon: That's when we met Sam.
Lu: I had never met Sam at that time.
Steve: How long ago was that?
Lu: In May of last year.
AJ: Right after my birthday.
Steve: How did you guys meet up?
AJ: The four of us [motions to himself, Lu, Brandon, and Drew] were set, and we were looking for a drummer. We got an email from this guy back here, and he's like, I'll drum for you guys.
Lu: Yeah. [He said] Check out my video!
Brandon: We saw his video, and we were all bugging out. [Go to youtube.com, and search 66Samus to check out his drumming chops].
AJ: Then we came over here [to Samus' house] and set up a day, ya know. I'm looking at him, and I'm like, yo, this guy is definitely the shit.
Samus: I thought the exact opposite of him.
AJ: Yeah, he thought the exact opposite.
Samus: My friend Fat John/Mudskid and I were chilling in my driveway. These two [Brandon and AJ] roll up in a Lexus... And AJ gets out of the car.."Yo, wassup bro?" I'm like, what is this? Rap metal? Is this Limp Bizkit or something?
AJ: Short hair.
Samus: Yeah, I see the short hair. They get upstairs, and all of a sudden I see...[makes noise and sweeping motion on an air guitar].
AJ: Then I busted out one of the newest riffs from Twisted Within Lies, and I was like, what can you do with this? All of a sudden, blast beats, fills, all that crazy shit.
Steve: Well, what's Mutiny's record company/label situation? What are your plans with that?
Brandon: Trying to get signed soon, hopefully.
Drew: Yeah, a demo.
Lu: We've got [contacts at] RoadRunner Records, Nuclear Blast...
Samus: Nuclear Blast is not looking at us.
Lu: They gave us their number.
AJ: Basically, we're self producing the demo. We're going to make press kits and send 'em around the world and see who likes it. Hopefully we'll get picked up and put on a tour.
Brandon: That would be cool.
AJ: We're making the demo at....[points to Sam]....
Steve: 66Samus Studios?
Samus: [points behind camera to his house, where a window is open] You see that window that's open? That's it. The far right window.
Steve: What do you guys think would come first, a full Mutiny album, or a record deal?
Everybody: Record deal.
Steve: Alright. Some metal bands pride themselves on being true blue metal, but you know, they really aren't...So what sets you guys apart from those pussies?
Lu: We were told once--
Samus: We play with ALL BALLS alright!
Lu: We were told once, we're not trying to be metal, we are metal. I can't really remember exactly who said that, but it was at one of our recent shows, and they were very impressed by what we do.
Samus: We don't try to do anything, we just get up there and rock.
Lu: Yeah, whatever we--
Samus: Whatever comes out, that's it, and we play balls out all the time..
Lu: No holds barred.
Samus: Yeah, I broke a drumstick during the first five minutes of our last show. It was a brand new stick.
Brandon: Basically, that's how it is with writing too. Whatever sounds good, you know. Me and AJ usually start off with a riff or idea, and we never had music theory or anything like that, yeah...and just whatever sounds good...we make harmonies...that's how songs are written.
Samus: If a person in the band does not like one riff, it gets changed.
AJ: Even more about that. If the first time you show somebody a new riff and they're not going crazy, then it's not gonna happen. And more on that. I remember coming out of a show, I said to one of the fans I talked to after,I was like, yeah, I worry sometimes our music is too light or some of our music is too happy or whatever, and the guy said, 'Dude, you can't get any heavier than that'. And that's what made me realize, we're gonna keep doing this melodic stuff, 'cause it's coming out heavy.
Steve: So, what were your guys first exposures to live music? And live metal? How about just music in general?
Brandon: Live music should be as perfect as the album, if not better. Symphony X definitely showed me that. They're perfect live I think. That's my favorite live band.
Steve: Do you guys remember what the first bands were that you saw live?
Samus: Marshall Tucker.
Drew: Symphony X.
Lu: Alice Cooper.
Steve: Not bad.
AJ: Blind Guardian and Symphony X. You can't beat that.
Samus: That was your first show?
AJ: My first metal show.
Brandon: Actually, Necrophagist too.
Steve: Was that with Cannibal Corpse? In November? [The show was on 11/11/06 in Philadelphia].
AJ: Even before that we saw them.
Brandon: Live...so fucking good.
AJ: Live...four times we saw them.
Lu: Necrophagist is the best live band out there.
Drew: So tight.
Lu: We try to--they're our biggest models right now, as tightness and live goes. They're just amazing. They put on the best show.
Samus: Virgin tight.
AJ: Definitely virgin tight.
Steve: I noticed, AJ, you were talking about before, you were just writing and a lot of the melodic heavy stuff was flowing. [From that] I've noticed elements of black metal--technical guitars, the blast beats, ambient keyboards. Now, will you guys ever adopt stage names, like Dead....or things like that? Or wear any corpse paint or sacrifice any animals on stage?
AJ: Probably not.
Samus: The most Lu and I do is some eye makeup. That's about it.
AJ: You know, stuff like that is cool for certain bands, but for us, we don't want to distract from the music. I want people to look at us headbanging, but beside that, I want their ears working more than their eyes. And if we have any distractions, it's going to get bad.
Lu: Honestly, I think it's a pain in the ass. It's one more thing to worry about before you do a show. Oh, when do I put on my makeup? You're on in 5 minutes. Where's the bathroom? Where's the mirror?
AJ: Where's my spikes?
Steve: Now, why should somebody come see Mutiny? Why? Why should they bother?
Samus: To get their ears raped.
AJ: To see live music done right.
Samus: They don't think it can happen.
AJ: Yeah, if you listen to our songs, if you're trying to hear it happen live, it will. And more. When we're writing a song or arranging a song, number one concern is 'so, how are we going to do this live?' That's it. It's not about the album. It's about live. That's why someone should come to a show.
Steve: Leading into the next question, what artist or band would be Mutiny's dream to open for?
Brandon: In Flames.
AJ: Children of Bodom.
Lu: Symphony X. Necro[phagist].
Steve: Alright, now what bands would you like to have open for you?
Samus: That's our goal, to have Bodom open for us.
Steve: You think that's going to happen in this lifetime?
Drew: You know it man.
AJ: In this lifetime, probably.
Lu: I think it's possible.
Samus: No, dude, if Metallica opens for us, that means we're the best band in the world.
Steve: Yeah, they made something like $60 million on tours/shows alone in last year. I know you guys have been lining up shows left and right, from your work in The Break Contest, to shows at Hamilton Street and Dingbatz and places like that. Do you have any mini-tours or out of state shows planned?
Samus: Not right now.
Brandon: We're trying to build a local fanbase before anything.
Lu: Yeah, that's the most important part because why spend money on the trip to go out of state for one show where only a few people are going to remember you. People from New Jersey are not going to come all the way up to Pennsylvania or Conneticut to see you.
Samus: Because they know you're going to play back home soon.
Lu: Exactly, the next day you're going to play right back in Jersey again. We'll just see you then. It's not worth it yet.
AJ: We're still getting better, and I want to put our best foot forward, when we start doing more national acts and more national venues. When we feel ready, we're definitely going to put on something.
Steve: What are you favorite venues to play thus far in Mutiny's career?
Everybody: Starland Ballroom! [Starland Ballroom is in Sayreville, NJ].
Steve: Hands down?
AJ: Hands down.
Samus: The barn show!
AJ: Ah, the show in the barn.
Lu: Fastlane was nice too. [Fastlane is a small venue in Asbury Park, NJ].
Everybody: That was good.
Lu: And then there's our good friends Hamilton Street. As small as that stage is, it's always nice to rock that place. I always rock that place.
Samus: Yeah, the kids are the loudest there.
Lu: The kids love it. We're so close to them. I guess they love being close to us.
Steve: That's so sweet.
Brandon: One day you guys will see us at the PNC Bank Arts Center [an ampitheater in Holmdel, NJ].
Lu: And then you'll be, 'Man, I wish I could see 'em at Hamilton Street again.'
AJ: I like Hamilton Street. We try out new songs there.
Brandon: It's good to play small places as well as big places.
Steve: What were your guys favorite albums of 2006?
Steve: Last year.
Brandon: The new Necrophagist--Epitaph.
Samus: That was '04 dude.
[Everybody laughs. At Brandon.]
AJ: Angra put out a pretty good album.
Steve: That was in 2006? I thought it was in 2005.
Samus: That was in 05.
Steve: They're putting out a new one this year.
Brandon: Yeah, that's true.
Lu: Who released a new album this year?
Steve: Lamb of God..
Samus: That was pretty good. What else?
Steve: Amon Amarth.
Samus: That was good too.
AJ: In Flames--Come Clarity.
Steve: Oh yeah.
Everybody: In Flames! Oh yeah.
Steve: As the closing question, what do you see Mutiny doing this spring, and throughout the summer?
Samus: Not being in this fucking town.
AJ: Yeah man, get the hell out of here, start getting more people to see our shows.
Drew: Stem out.
Lu: Play Giants Stadium.
Steve: Oh yeah. Bamboozle! Fuck yeah.
Brandon: We'll be ready. We're practicing every day.
Lu: We practice every day, we're training our bodies mentally, physically, to be able to handle the shows, that way, once a tour comes up, we'll be able to handle it no problem.
Brandon: It's not going to come easy, but....it's hard work.
Lu: We're ready for it.
Steve: Any words in closing to Mutiny fans or those who have never heard of Mutiny or are unsure about Mutiny?
AJ: Come to a fuckin' show!
Samus: Yeah, that's all you need to know.
Drew: Watch a live show.
Brandon/Lu: Just come to a show.
Lu: Come watch it, because what you hear on the website, you'll hear live and better, believe it or not.
Steve: I can believe that. I actually think you guys are tighter live.
Lu: Yeah, come and check it out! I'm pretty sure you'll be satisfied.
Steve: Sounds good.
Samus: If you're not satisfied, Drew will take you in the back room...
Lu: Drew'll show you a good time.
Steve: Alright. Goodbye Mutiny!
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