Last year, Mutoid Man slammed our faces into various solid objects by blasting on to the scene with their Helium Head EP. The quality of high-octane punky, rocking prog metal quickly saw them outgrowing their selling point as a simple side project of Stephen [Cave In] Brodsky and Ben [Converge] Koller to become a propulsive force ignited by the sum of their parts, fucked up time signatures, manic drumming, infectious riffs and enough stupid humour to half-fill a comedy club. And old-school video games. Coming this summer will be the band’s debut full-length, courtesy of Sargent House and below we have a video of the band – rounded out by bassist Nick Cageao – playing a new song (“Bridgeburner”) in the cavernous confines of God City, a short interview with the band about everything and nothing and a bunch of exclusive photos taken during the recording process. They’re playing at St. Vitus in Brooklyn on March 11th. So, unless you have some lame excuse like not living anywhere near Brooklyn, we highly recommend going and checking ’em out.
What was the original motivation for starting Mutoid Man and was there room in the initial plan for recordings, shows and more recordings? Or was there even a plan at all?
Stephen Brodsky [guitar/vocals]: Ben and I have had some great musical collaborations over the years. In 2012 we were both living in Brooklyn so it was pretty much a no-brainer to jam together. Only when Ben and his family decided to move to LA did we think to record it before he left, which later became the Helium Head EP.
Ben Koller [drums]: I was really bitter about Steve kicking me out of Cave In and so my plan was to use him to write Mutoid Man songs, copyright the band name, then kick him out of the band.
Nick Cageao [bass]: The original motivation from an outside perspective to me is, two long time compadres with a ton of mutual respect wanting to jam. I think the plan all along is to just have fun. Steve and Ben are two of the most positive, intelligent and real people I’ve been lucky enough to meet.
What aspects of the response to the band and first record surprised you the most?
Brodsky: People thought it was too short. I took that as a sign they might want to hear more.
Koller: I was very surprised that Eric Burdon didn’t like our Animals cover. Now it’s our goal to record at least three Animals covers on every single record we do in the future to make him even more mad.
Cageao: People who like it really like it. “Projects” for the most part seem to fall flat a lot of the time, and I think when an audience sees sincerity in something it is easier to get behind it. I’m surprised that I get to be part of it. *smiley face emoji*
How has going from part-time project to full band impacted not only how and what you do with Mutoid Man, but also the balancing act you’ve had to do with your other bands and the rest of your lives? What has been the most surprising aspect of this adjustment? What’s been most difficult?
Brodsky: Cave In rarely plays live these days and so far there hasn’t been a scheduling conflict. For me, the most surprising thing is feeling like there’s a chance to do something with Mutoid Man that reaches beyond my expectations. And probably most difficult is keeping up the energy to learn new tricks, so I don’t risk repeating myself.
Koller: We will never be a complete band until we get Slash a.k.a. “Slush” on guitar.
Cageao: For me it has been a really sweet ride, as I joined after Ben and Steve created this monster. I look forward to everything that we are all able to take part in with a big smile on my face. For me, I’ve been able to focus on this project almost exclusively as other projects I had been part of were with friends and eventually became less of a priority to all involved as most/all of them had many really exciting things going on. The most surprising thing has just been that this is actually happening for me. Ben and Steve have been huge heroes of mine for a long long time. Not much difficulty on my end.
How different was the process of the writing and recording the new album when compared to the first record? In what areas did you feel the difference the most?
Brodsky: Helium Head was written and recorded as a two-piece, just me and Ben. That changed when Nick came onboard, as he was pretty gung-ho with writing riffs from the start. I remember Ben mentioning that he wanted to hear something like the music from the NES game Wizards And Warriors, and Nick’s response to that was sending us a video of himself playing what later became “Bridgeburner.”
Koller: The area I felt most different was definitely in my butt cheeks and taint, because I played such long studio sessions that I got saddle rash and hemorrhoids.
Cageao: Wasn’t part of the first recording experience. This new record was something so unique I don’t think I can aptly use words to describe it. Three dudes in a room sharing riffs and making each other smile.
Obviously, with a second release in the pipeline, you’re into, and enjoying, what you do in Mutoid Man. What does this band do for you or allow you to do that your other projects don’t?
Brodsky: Well, we’re a young band. Bands that stay together for a while are prone to struggle at times with being prolific. So I feel very fortunate that Mutoid Man is catching lightning in a bottle – hopefully there’s room for more.
Koller: Whenever I release something from my pipeline, the second release always feels way better than the first. Better call the plumber this time, this one’s gonna be a bowlchoker.
Cageao: This band allows me to be happy and hang with some really special people. It’s also a cool challenge. Always pushing each other to barely being able to keep up!
Having the new album due out on Sargent House and being a band that’s developing its own name and pedigree in conjunction with the label, are things going to be ramped up to a greater degree of activity once the album is released?
Brodsky: Everyone’s up for doing as much as they can whenever possible. As a longtime Sargent House fan, I’ve seen the heart and soul that goes into their work. Pretty stoked for what’s to come now that we’re on the inside.
Koller: In the words of Liam Gallagher, what the fuck does that mean?
Cageao: I would definitely like to think so. Ready for anything that comes our way that we can do. Sargent House has an amazing team of really driven people working to help bands reach their full potential.