Some weeks ago, we got a heads-up that a band called Palinopsia were preparing to release some pretty damn cool gritty sludge for world consumption, and upon pressing that beckoning play button, we got a welcome earful of the five-song debut, Murmurs from the Well Nothing More. We secured an interview and rocketed some email questions their way. By the time the interview was over (when they sent responses back), they no longer referred to themselves as Palinopsia, marking the first time this Decibel scribe has had a band switch monikers mid-interview.
Was the change worth it? Well, guitarist Macaulay conveys his frustration with being “that P band” all the time. Will MiaBM stick? Who cares? Their music is pure crunch ‘n’ snarl, a harrowing and inspired avalanche of bassy blasting that is well worth the 20-minute run time. Check in with the band at their Facebook page and be sure to stream the hell out of the songs on Bandcamp (embedded here for ease of access). And don’t miss our interview with the men behind the metal.
Who is Mine Is A Black Mouth? How did you first start playing music together?
Well first off, I’m Haydn and I do vocals. Three years ago Macaulay, the guitarist, and Will, our drummer, started playing together in a hardcore/crust project called Endciv. They disbanded in 2013 and after some time away they began writing again for a new project. I started playing with them in the winter of 2014, originally on bass but quickly moving to vocals after our current bassist Johnny joined the band. Adding Johnny changed our sound greatly, and we scrapped the EP we’d previously written to start working on Murmurs.
What ideas/interests/tastes drive the sound of Mine Is A Black Mouth?
I was an emo fan, Macaulay and Will were crust punks, and Johnny was a djent kid, and we got together just wanting to make heavy music in a jam band town. Johnny and Will come from a jazz background, I’m classically trained on piano, and Macaulay spends most of his time in a water damaged double wide trailer listening to Tom Waits. We converge musically around acts like Thou, Eyehategod, Wolves in the Throne Room, and The Body.
Which came first for Murmurs, musical ideas or lyrical ideas?
Musical ideas, 100%. Lyrics are always written to the music after everything’s been composed. Macaulay and I spend a lot of time thinking about phrasing, so the riffs and surrounding drum beats have to be very much in place. Our use of vocals has far more to do with adding an additional layer of atmosphere and instrumentation then it does with lyrical delivery.
What’s most important to you when you write or play this music?
Creating something that’s visceral and brooding that feels honest to us. We’re not so much interested in playing within a specific genre as we are with making something we’re excited to play every time. We never sat down and said “let’s write a sludge song” or “let’s write a black metal part.” We just play and if I’m writhing on the floor by the time Macaulay’s riff is over we keep the part.
Have you been playing these songs live? What have audience reactions been like?
We’ve been playing out a lot this fall and are hoping to tour in the winter or early spring. Long haired youth shove each other when we play, which we take as a compliment. At our last show at Dead End Farms Autumnal fest, one drunken fan showed his enthusiasm by repeatedly body slamming me. We can’t complain.
You mentioned that your songs “blur the lines between waking life, dreams and memory in a time of ecological collapse.” Can you talk a little more about your own specific thoughts on these topics and how you think it comes across in the music?
I know Macaulay records the vast majority of his dreams and sources them as inspiration for both his visual art and writing. As for the ecological component, there is no denying that we are currently living in a time of massive environmental collapse due to the horrendous effects of industrial civilization and the values or lack thereof, of the dominant culture. While we avoid overt politics in our lyrics, there’s certainly an element of absolute disdain for what our species has done to the planet.
What are your short term plans for the band? Any hopes for where you’ll take the band from here?
We’re currently working on another record. I think we’re bringing a higher level of intention to our writing process than we did with Murmurs. We’re capitalizing on the fact that we live so close to one another and are trying not to let our rural location stifle our busy show schedule. As for long term plans, simply keeping Johnny in Vermont is the dream. I want to do this for as long as my body will allow me.