VH1 announced earlier this week that MUTEMATH is the latest You Oughta Know artist. We weren’t deeply familiar—though we were impressed with the video for “Blood Pressure”—so we did a little investigating. Their latest record Odd Soul came out on October 4, and it’s got a definite New Orleans funk feel at points—unsurprisingly, the band cites the Meters as an influence—but the overwhelming feel is of a band whose members are deeply in tune with one other.
As it turns out, the band used to be frontman Paul Meany‘s side-project, a long-distance collaboration with drummer and producer Darren King while Meany played keys in a band called Earthsuit alongside bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas. When that band underwent a prolonged lineup shuffle/rebrand as “Macrosick” in 2003 (during which Mitchell-Cárdenas went back to college), Meany got King to come to New Orleans as the new drummer. But that band stayed grounded, and with Meany and King in the same city, MUTEMATH took off, especially once they scooped up the newly graduated Mitchell-Cárdenas (plus guitarist Greg Hill).
MUTEMATH’s records are markedly collaborative efforts, to the extent that at first glance, one might even mistakenly think they’re a drummer’s band, thanks to King’s directorial work on the band’s music videos and the sheer power he brings to the songs from behind the kit. The latter serves the band’s groove, and the former is another example of the band’s do-it-yourself ethos. Odd Soul may be released on Warner Bros., but it comes five years after the settlement of a lawsuit the band filed against the label for not holding up its end of a development deal. They renegotiated, but the point is that the band is only interested in doing things a certain way, and if you’re not going to do things that way, you’re in the way, even if you’re Warner Bros. And once the label got on board, the band’s momentum got that much stronger. Now with guitarist Todd Gummerman replacing Hill, who left the band a year ago, MUTEMATH is wrapping up a headlining tour tonight with a sold-out show at One-Eyed Jack’s in their hometown of New Orleans—but not before announcing another tour kicking off in January.