Indieterria meets Mutant-Thoughts

Hello, hello!

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 Artist 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, ungrateful task at times but once a truly talented band or a musician is found, a long and successful career can begin.

Mutant-Thoughts logo

Sometimes we don’t have to search at all, the bands approach us themselves 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.

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Mutant-Thoughts

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 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 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.

Mutant-Thoughts promotional shoot #1 by  Igor Tylek Photography

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.

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.

Mutant-Thoughts promotional shoot #2 by Igor Tylek Photography

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.

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!

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 those two?

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.

Your music has been likened to Pink Floyd, Faith No More and Caspian. We 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!

Mutant-Thoughts promotional shoot #3 by Igor Tylek Photography

 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.

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.

Mutant-Thoughts performing live at the Bristol’s Louisiana club – photo by Igor Tylek Photography

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. Also,  we will travel to London to play at Off The Cuff, the date is going to be confirmed soon. We are 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
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mutantthoughts
Bandcamp: https://mutant-thoughts.bandcamp.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mutantthoughts/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mutant_thoughts
Youtube: https://youtu.be/WTfwrTkjqaU

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!
xxx
Rita and Mal.

Indieterria meets Nuns of the Tundra

Dear Readers,

We arrived into October not so quietly. Our ears are still ringing from both Worcester Music Festival and Musicians Against Homelessness gigs, but there is no sign of slowing down. Actually, next week we will rock out again – back at the Marr`s Bar for the EP launch of Nuns of the Tundra. The Nuns are from Malvern and they have built themselves quite a reputation in the last few years. It will be a sonic pleasure to see them live and to listen to their new material. We hope you enjoy first installment of Autumn selection of Indieterria.

Nuns of the Tundra logo

Music from the Shire

 

Nuns of the Tundra

Troy Tittley: Guitar
Arran Davies: Guitar
Jim Smith: Bass
Melos Moody: Drums


West Midland quartet, Nuns of the Tundra, is a rare beast. They easily melt American rock tradition with typical British favoritism for distorted sounds and gritty tunes, creating a fresh sound that has a chance of revolutionizing the rusted structures of the indie genre. Vanadian Avenue sat down with Nundra’s (their pet name!) lead singer and guitarist, Troy Tittley, to discuss their newest single “Float Away”, the Hobbits, road movies and composing on top of the Malvern Hills.

Banner with original logo

According to your biography, Nuns of the Tundra was formed nearly two years ago. Can you please introduce yourselves?  Tell us how the band was formed and where did you meet.

Troy Tittley: The band is the brain child of me and my childhood friend, Arran Davies. We’d always be showing each other cool new music we’d found since we were about 10 years old, and in fact were in a band together called RoadKill when we were 13. We’re better hopefully by now. We had all these riffs and song ideas that were floating around not doing anything, and we had a ton of free time. We didn’t take it overly seriously at first; we made songs about swamp monsters, vampires, goblins… The song about killer sex robots from the future actually became our first single. I also have been in a band before Nuns with a producer Curig Huws, and Curig basically taught me some song writing rules that made me feel confident enough to give it a crack myself. So after that band broke up,  Nuns were formed.

You have to admit that Nuns of the Tundra is a very interesting choice of a name for a rock group. We tried to look for possible explanation and this is our theory: You come from Malvern that derives its name from the old Welsh word “moel-bryn” meaning “Bald Hill”. The tundra biome is usually described as barren, treeless or bare. Also, Malvern as a town has been established by Benedictine order in late 10th century. Maybe as a joke, instead of the monks you called yourselves The Nuns. Nuns of the Tundra. Sounds pretty good to us!

The Nuns photographed by Colton Halls
https://www.facebook.com/coltonhalls

Troy Tittley: I absolutely love your theory and I wish we were that clever. I have to disappoint, but Arran loves nuns, my favorite word is tundra. Deep, right? Tundra Nuns sounded too indie, Nun Tundra doesn’t really work, I don’t know why. When I came up with Nuns of the Tundra, it was a joke, but when I said it out loud, it just stuck with me. We were going to be called nilbog (goblin backwards), but I think Nuns of the Tundra is equally as ridiculous and that’s why we love it. We also have some twitter followers using Nundra to save precious characters, and we really dig that name too.

Let’s talk about Malvern for a while longer. You describe your music asdirty desert stoner rock from the unlikely Midlands town of Malvern”. However, Malvern always had a strong links to (popular) music. For many years it has been the home of Edward Elgar and Julius Harrison, classical composer and professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Malvern Winter Gardens was a popular venue bringing top rock acts such as Joy Division, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbaths and many others to West Midlands. It seems that you are continuing the local tradition of crafting good music.

Troy Tittley: Yes, you’re totally right. Malvern just feels like a tucked away music hub. The hills are pretty inspiring; I did a lot of writing up there because you can get away from everything, so Elgar was definitely on to something. It’s basically the Shire and we’re the Hobbits. It’s rather unlikely because I’d kind of expect a rock band to come from Mordor or Isengard. Maybe Sigur Ros lives in Rivendell! (laughs)

Your music has been categorized as a wild mixture of psychedelic, progressive rock, American collage rock, grunge and mainstream harmonies. Fugazi, Stone Temple Pilots, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse and Grant Lee Buffalo have been mentioned as possible influences. Which other artist you would add to the mix and why?

Troy Tittley: As you can see we have a lot of American influence. I love that Fugazi made its way into that list by the way! Live we can be quite raw, but we like to get the layers and intricacies in there too. Really, I want this sound to evolve into something that shifts from chaos to complexity and back, but that’s for another time. Right now, we are very guitar driven, and try our best not to retread ground structure wise or atmosphere wise, so the wild mixture is probably down to that. I’d probably add Nine Inch Nails and Foo Fighters to that list; it’s basically all I listened to growing up.

Nuns debut single “Robot Love” received fantastic reviews from local and online press. It has been championed by Andrew Marston at the BBC Hereford and Worcester. You were also invited to play at BBC Introducing stage at Lakeview Festival at Eastnor Castle in August this year where apparently “you blew the tent poles off” with your powerful riffs. That’s very impressive start, don’t you think?

Troy Tittley: The thing is that’s not the start! We’ve been going at this for a while now and a lot of the feedback hasn’t been so hot. But that gives you thicker skin and if you can get past it, then that’s when the real stuff starts happening. We used to post demos online to public forums, because face to face people often say things that let you off easy. Online anonymity allows people to be complete dicks to you and you just have to deal with it! So, really it started there. We just got our ass handed to us until our “Mind’s Eye” demo took off. We were on the front page of Reddit Guitar Facebook page for a while and it felt amazing. It doesn’t surprise me as “Mind’s Eye” is currently our most popular song.

Second release entitled “Mind’s Eye” only cemented your reputation as a new band to look out for. Overblown Magazine called you “the saviours of mainstream rock”, Worcester Music Festival described you as “dirty drive 100 MPH through the deserts of the wild west” while Born Music gave you the title of “one of the UK’s most exciting upcoming bands”. By now, you must be accustomed to constant praise.

Troy Tittley: It is a good feeling knowing you are on the right track, but it’s important not to rely on positive press because it can make you soft, in my opinion anyway. I think I work harder when people are being harsh. Josh Homme once said “You’ve got to learn to love being hit by rocks” and I think that’s true. But I am deeply grateful for the positive response.

Your latest single, “Dead in the desert” has almost cinematic feeling to it – a certain dark vibe accompanied by an open landscape of fuzzed guitars and distorted echoes. It is easy to imagine surviving members of Velvet Revolver teamed up with Trent Reznor to write a soundtrack for a new road movie directed by David Lynch. I have to admit, it has been one of my favorite tracks this year. Can you tell us more about it?

Troy Tittley: Can I use that description? I love it. I would definitely watch that movie. That song started off as just the bass riff. Originally, it was a guitar line made by Arran. We changed it hugely and made it way more psychedelic. Then we dropped it from our set for over a year, the chorus just wasn’t right. After that, I got addicted to Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” album and it channeled a lot of how I was feeling at the time and the chorus just came together. Finally, the whole song just made sense. The weird sounds and little guitar licks were improvised in the studio. Our producer Scott Mahoney just set me up with this enormous chain of trippy guitar pedals, went out for a smoke and told me to do whatever I wanted. It was a really fun experience, and we were just trying to create the weirdest and most creepy soundscape we could get away with. I’m glad you like it.

Nuns of the Tundra during their BBC Introducing session
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

On the 10th of October, you will release your first EP and a new single “Float Away”.  How many songs will be included? Where was it recorded?

Troy Tittley: The EP is the first 4 songs we recorded at the Funky Bunker in Malvern. “Float Away” will be the new track and all other singles released will be on there too. It’s our first CD and we’re so excited to have something physical. All songs were produced by Scott Mahoney and the current band lineup: me, Arran, Jim and Melos.

Recently, we found out that an animated video to “Float away” was produced by London based indie/alt rock art company YesMan. Its official premiere took place on the 28th of September and it has already been shown to critics at NYC Indie Film Festival where it was included into official festival selection. It will be competing for the main festival award in short movie category on 7 – 13th May 2018. We are very interested in learning more about this unusual collaboration.

Troy Tittley: YesMan caught our attention with his previous work; it has a really different feel to the majority of the stuff out there. We played him a lot of tracks that we’d recorded, and just asked him to pick the one that vibed with him most. We didn’t want any input; we just wanted him to come up with something, to make a song more than a song. “Float Away” is close to my heart, I wrote the main riff when I was very young, probably 13, so a part of me was hoping he’d choose it. And honestly the song works so much better with the video, once you see it, you won’t be able to separate the two. It’s just how I wanted it to be. Plus I get to be the moon!

Nuns of the Tundra are on the (rock and) roll. What are you up to in the nearest future?
Any gigs your fans should be aware of?

Troy Tittley:  We’ve got a few songs that are recorded and ready to go. We like to surprise people, so “Float Away” will be a departure from our main sound. The next batch will hopefully add another element to our repertoire. We have some songs to be yet recorded, a tour through October and big plans for 2018. Also, we’ll be back in the Louisiana in Bristol on the 4th of October, and our EP launch will be held at the Marrs Bar, October 10th. We’re heading back down to London on the 27th of October and we’re playing a special hometown gig in Malvern at the Unicorn too. Can’t wait!

You can follow Nuns of the Tundra online:

http://www.nundra.com
https://facebook.com/nunsofthetundra/
https://twitter.com/NunsoftheTundra
https://soundcloud.com/nunsofthetundra
https://www.reverbnation.com/nunsofthetundra
https://nunsofthetundra.bandcamp.com

That`s all folks. We will see you at Marrs Bar on October 10, for the EP launch.

Mal/Rita