It’s the middle of the month and Indieterria is now back with another cool band you just have to know. Usually people like us here at Vanadian Avenue (professionally known as Artists and repertoire or A&R’s for short) are sailing the vast waters of the world wide web in search of another talent to bring it to the surface for your enjoyment. It is a hard, ungreateful tasks at times but once a truly talented band or a musician is found, a long and succesful career can begin.
Sometimes we don’t have to search at all, the bands approach us ourselves and all we can do is to sit, listen and admire as they are excellent at their craft. Our latest guest, Mutant-Thoughts found us on social media and we had to invite them to Indieterria as they are truly unique band!
Official Bio: Mutant-Thoughts is an experimental synth-rock band formed by Han Luis Cera (vocals and synths), Joshua Lennox-Hilton (bass and backing vocals) and Tom Pearmain (drums). Their unique sound combines traditional rock music with electronic sounds, eerie vibes and beautiful melodies. Mutant-Thoughts’ live shows are a spectacle that cannot be missed – it is equally energetic and emotional, filled with odd time signatures, crazy electric signals, heavy bass lines, eclectic vocal harmonies and to the listener’s surprise, no guitars. Using synths, drum machines and other special effects, Mutant-Thoughts is able to transform their surroundings into a completely new, detailed musical reality. The band released their first album in 2016. Their latest EP entitled “Is This Me?” was released in September 2017.
Han Luis Cera (vocals and synths),
Joshua Lennox-Hilton (bass and backing vocals)
Tom Pearmain (drums)
We are sure all music journalists can wholeheartedly agree that looking for a new, interesting band to write about can be tricky. Among millions of self released singles, YouTube videos and EP’s filled with repetitions or (in worst case scenarios) bad cover versions, discovering a true gem sometimes feels like a mission impossible. Yet the hours spent listening to home-made demos are rewarded when you come across a band that captivates you with their music within seconds. We all know that feeling: the music starts, you close your eyes and a beautiful sound landscape unravels its mysteries to you through lyrics, tempo changes and fuzzed guitars. Good things do come to those who wait and we are really lucky to discover the Bristol based trio that calls themselves Mutant-Thoughts. Vanadian Avenue sat down with their lead singer, Han Luis Cera to discuss their beginnings, unusual name and growing up in Latin America.
Vanadian Avenue: We have interviewed many bands with unique names, but yours is one-of-a-kind. It could be the title of the next Marvel superhero blockbuster. Where did it come from?
Han Luis Cera: (laughing) I admit, it does sound a bit like the next Marvel/DC psycho-thriller! That’s a film I’d like to watch. The actual name came from a very dramatic break up of my previous band. The whole thing left me in a situation in which I started having thoughts I didn’t recognize as my own, hence the name, Mutant-Thoughts. I thought it would no logger be possible for me to play with a band again. I started writing songs as some sort of personal therapy. However, when I moved to Bristol, I felt a lot better, and was happy to play with others again. I found Joshua Lennox-Hilton (our bassist), and Tom Pearmain (drumer), and I’m very happy and lucky to play with these two guys.
Vanadian Avenue: We are interested in learning more about Mutant-Thoughts. When and how did you meet?
Han Luis Cera: I moved to Bristol in 2014 but even before then, I was already looking for musicians to collaborate with. After a while, I met Josh, as he responded to a post I wrote online looking for a bass player. Around the same time, I befriended Pablo, an Argentinian drummer that played with us for the first year; sadly he had to leave us as he moved abroad. He basically transformed all the electronic songs I have written on my own into proper rock music as no band could ever play them in their original version (laughing)! After Pablo left, we played with another drummer named Tobias for about half a year, and he left for personal reasons. Then we auditioned a few drummers. Tom was the first one we heard that day and we were so impressed, that the decision was easy. He just understood immediately what we were doing and it was very easy to get along and work with him.
Vanadian Avenue: Han, you are Colombian native. Can you tell us about your life in Latin America. What type of music you grew up listening to?
Han Luis Cera: I grew up in Barranquilla, a port city in Northern part of Colombia. I was exposed to lots of types of music, but mostly Latin. Barranquilla has one of the biggest carnivals in the world, so we are used to listening to a lot of music, all day and every day. It is quite interesting to live in a society where music plays such an important role in our culture. Also, Barranquilla is located on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia; our music is hugely influenced by African music, with heavy emphasis on rhythm. That is the reason why the rhythmic section is so important for Mutant-Thoughts and why we put more fluid stuff on top of it. I enjoyed growing up in Colombia. I think that Latin America has a very interesting way of dealing with problems. People seem to be happy regardless of the situation. And I think it takes a lot of courage to see life like that.
Vanadian Avenue: Moving to the other side of the world can be a great adventure or a traumatic experience. How do you find the life in the UK? Was it easy for you to get accustomed to a new reality or did you experience any cultural shocks?
Han Luis Cera: I lived in Amsterdam before moving to Bristol, so I had my fair share of culture shocks when I moved there! Coming to the UK was definitely a lot easier. There are a few things that I find interesting in British culture, (like wearing shorts in the middle of the winter), but I really love living here. I’ve met very interesting and talented people, and I’m doing what I love!
Vanadian Avenue: We can imagine that music scene in Colombia and in the UK are completely different. What do you think about the music scene in Bristol? Should we even compare them both?
Han Luis Cera: I think British people generally have great interest in live music. That helps the music scene a lot and it gives the musicians a chance to grow. There are multiple small venues and places where musicians can play and reach new listeners. We only have a handful of venues in Barranquilla where you can see a live band play. Most Colombians tend to listen to music from records or on the radio, rather than live but that means the music is everywhere, even on public transport. During the Carnival season, there are gigs everywhere though.
Vanadian Avenue: Your music has been likened to Pink Floyd, Faith No More and Caspian. We also hear UNKLE, a bit of Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead. Also, we are not the first ones to point out that when you sing, you sound like Tom Yorke or Davie Bowie from his Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars era.
Han Luis Cera: Some of the artists you mentioned have indeed influenced us. We all have different tastes in music and we bring them into the band. We give each other the space to experiment and grow. All of the bands that we are likened to are incredible and we can only see that as a huge compliment. I personally think we sound different to them, but if I could ever play together with any of those bands, I’d probably go into some form of a shock not being able to believe my luck!
Vanadian Avenue: Mutant-Thoughts use a lot of odd time signatures, tempo changes and you are not afraid to experiment with sound. It is not so common these days but reminds us the golden days of the progressive rock: early Genesis, King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator. You have learnt from the best!
Han Luis Cera: To be absolutely honest, I don’t really listen to progressive Rock, apart maybe from Porcupine Tree, and Pink Floyd, (if you can call them progressive rock). I don’t really listen to music with odd time signatures that much either. I just have a fascination for rhythm, contrast and I enjoy doing the opposite of what other people are doing. I’m not trying to be interesting or cool or anything like that.
I just think that if something has been done before, there is no need for me to do it again. I’m not sure if we’re succeeding at that, but that’s the idea. I could say that my fondness for rhythm comes from Latin music. There was a lot of jazz influence in 70’s salsa. On the other hand, my fascination with sound experiment streams from feeling limited with the possibilities of keyboard based instruments. As much as I love the sound of a piano, or an organ, the synthesizer is the instrument I seem to be able to express myself most intimately with, but I do still check my parts on a piano though.
Vanadian Avenue: Last month, you have released your latest EP entitled “Is This Me?”. It is a beautiful piece of music, very well written and perfectly executed. We are especially fond of two songs: the title track and the atmospheric “Alone”. Can you tell us more about them?
Han Luis Cera: Thanks! I’m really happy to hear that. Well, the whole EP is about going through a rough period in life and being able to find a solution to your problems. It has some very dark moments and it has moments which are more up-lifting. The title song “Is This Me?” is about self-analysis. A question to one-self about what we are doing. Is this really what we want to do? Are we acting according to who we are or are we acting on an instinct? Are our action based on what we believe to be true at that moment or do we have the full picture of the situation? It is hard to find the answer to those questions.
I’m unable to explain just two songs without discussing the context of the other songs at the same time. They are all linked together. The second song on the EP is entitled “Chaos and Entropy” which is about going through the actual problem. It is about losing oneself and just tasting every single moment of that path.
The third composition is actually a poem. I have named it “Trying to Make Sense” which I think the title is self explanatory. Then we have “Alone”, which deals with the sense of realization that after the chaos and suffering, we are actually alone. At this stage, we have taken some distance from the world to give ourselves the chance to deal with our problems. And then we close the EP with “Adaptation” which is about changing, “mutating” into a different person that is now able to deal with the problems left in the past.
Vanadian Avenue: Mutant-Thoughts appearance on the Bristol music scene was very well received. You have played alongside new prog/math rock talents such as Last Hyena or YOUTH. When can we see you on stage next?
Han Luis Cera: At this moment, we are working hard on promoting our EP and some of the new projects. We are lucky that Bristol has a great music scene with many, very talented bands we have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with.
We will be playing in Bristol again on the 2nd of November at Mr. Wolf’s for the EP launch of “Siblings of Us” who were kind to invite us to support them. On the 8th of November, we will travel to London to play at Off The Cuff. We are also looking to add more dates before the end of the year, so please check our Facebook and the official website regularly.
You can follow Mutant-Thoughts at:
Official website: www.mutant-thoughts.com
If you’d like to write about them, book a gig or interview the band, Mutant-Thoughts press pack will come in handy!
Interested in seeing them live? Mutant-Thoughts are real musical magicians!
Enjoy the brand new Bristol sound!
Rita and Mal.