Friday, February 25, 2011

Interview with Mouth To Mouth To Mouth

Vii Caso (IU/Hiroshima Vacation) Interviews Mouth To Mouth To Mouth!

IU: How did this band come together?

Corey: I wanted to start up another band with Gabe and Peter because I missed playing music with them. Mathcore at the time was the only music me and Gabe both shared interest in so I suggested we put together a band in that vein. A year later, when we were finally able to start the band we asked Bubba to be our bassist and MTMTM was formed.

IU: Describe the song writing process?

Bubba: It can really vary from piece to piece but overall every member has input on all the parts. The first piece we wrote, “Open Hand, Insert Mouth” was written at the tail end of summer just as the band was forming. Gabe & Corey worked diligently on structure and drums &  guitar parts, then Skyped parts to Peter to learn while he was in Poland. I came in later and wrote bass lines to their work. Corey brought most of the riffs to “Mickey Mouth” if I’m recalling correctly, but there was much more involvement from all parties in the structure and parts for the rest of the instruments. “That’s a LOT of Aardvark” spawned out of the bass intro I wrote and that killer beat that Gabe kicks in with.  We wrote the foundation to that one in Corey’s basement, the one and only practice we’ve had there so far. Initially it had a slight bit of a Meshuggah vibe because of the broken high-hat Gabe was railing on which was vaguely reminiscent of a china cymbal. “Consensus on the Fences” was written around the great tapping lines & chords Peter created for the first several parts. As you’ll notice from the EP, vocals are not at all at the center of what we do and are treated as any other part. If we reach a section that we feel would really benefit from them , we’ll include them.  In my own humble opinion, everyone in this band is a talent in their own right so inspiration, structure, and riffs come from all directions.

IU: Who came up with the clapping breakdown in "That's a Lot of Aardvark?"

Bubba: Haha, we were aiming for a transitional part to go from the wall of sound that Corey is singing over into that complex rhythm that Gabe comes in with. I’d mentioned how I’d always wanted to do a clap breakdown in my previous project, Bazaar of Guillemots and the guys were into the idea. Gabe modified a version of what he’s playing on kit to work as a precursor to it.

IU: One thing that I love about MTMTM is that the music is technical, but a real joy to listen to. Most technical/math rock comes off to masturbatory or technical for technical’s sake in my opinion. Response?
Bubba: Thanks! The other guys can likely attest to this further but it was definitely part of the goal of creating the band. That’s why you’ll hear us refer to ourselves as “math-punk” sometimes instead of just math-rock. Intricate proficiency is important but not at the sacrifice of melody or the flow of the piece. I find myself humming Corey, Peter, and Gabe’s parts all the time so I figure that’s a pretty good sign that we haven’t flung the pendulum too far in the tech direction. 

IU: You guys recently recorded your debut EP at the legendary Pyramid Sound studios, how was that recording experience? It's a long way away from one microphone in a basement.

Peter: We got there around 10 or so in the morning, set up, and started recording. For the most part, we all used mostly our own gear with some from Pyramid (Corey: Tube Screamer, Peter: Phil's Vox amp, Gabe:  bass drum head). All the amps were in isolation booths but we all had headphones that had live feeds from the booths so we could do live recording. The drums were rather thoroughly mic'd, with about 11 or 12 total, and 5 on just the bass drum. We recorded live for the most part, doing overdubs when necessary. Also, we all did vocals for the line 'Please don't touch me!' in "Open Hand, Insert Mouth"

Corey: It was great! The hours flew by actually. I'm very pleased with the end results. Phil did an amazing job. 

Bubba: I  agree. It was absolutely fantastic! From the get-go I knew I wanted to properly document what we’re doing as it’s the most excited I’ve ever been about a band I’m in (which is saying a lot) since moving to Ithaca. Phil approached us in early January after seeing our set live. It had been a good 10 years since I had a band in a studio – albeit some friends of mine have had some pretty mean DIY set-ups so, I was a little hesitant at first. Knowing we’d be able to get all of these tracks down right the first time and being able to focus on our parts and all the button pushing, mixing, running cables, etc was very, VERY intriguing. Phil invited me down to check out the studio and after see the board room and those isolation booths and listening to a bit of what he’d done lately, it was pretty much getting the five of us on the same schedule. He was great to work with and really captured what were going for sonically as a band.

IU: You guys have played some out of town shows, how has the response been to MTMTM outside of Ithaca?

Bubba: Great so far! We hit Binghamton earlier this month at Bazooka/Bazooka and we had a very warm reception to our set. It was great to see the support from friends in Binghamton bands that have played Ithaca and the car fulls of folks from Ithaca who made the trip down. Thanks!!  We’re hitting the Youth Center in Cortland on March 5th which should be fun as well.

IU: Any future plans?

Bubba: Immediate future is our show this Sunday at CSMA with local sax/electronics wizard Kier Neuringer and drone/improv duo Matta Gawa from D.C.  Then there’s the show on March 5th which is a SPCA benefit show with 4 Point 0, Bees///, Elsa & the awesomeAWESOMES, and Rye n’ Clover. Hit us up if you want info. 

Further ahead, we’ve got new pieces in the works and goals to hit elsewhere in central & western NY, maybe even venturing into PA or OH if we can make it work. If we’re able to pull together another EP’s worth of material I’d love to record again.

IU: Final thoughts?

Take every opportunity to come see us play live! The lifespan of this band past this summer is somewhat uncertain as three of the members are graduating and one as many of you know will be heading to Chicago.

Check out the debut EP at and come to the show!