Mute: Interview at Kloemprock
Mute is a fast-punk band. I’ve been listening to Punk since 2004. My feeling is that the scene of punk has changed: it’s hard to get people enthusiastic for the genre...What’s your feeling about this?
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): It doesn’t really matter to us, we started up 1980, when the punkrock was still alive and well en we saw the decline over the years. About 2002 it got to a new low, but we didn’t really care, because that was the only music we wanted to play. So we kept doing it. There are still fans all over the world. Sometimes you just have to go where the fans are!
Punk has two faces. It’s not very popular, but on the other hand it’s therefore exclusive and the fans are really coming for the band they love
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): That’s right! It is quality, not quantity. In some countries it’s still big, like South America.
I’m surprised! South America?
Marc-Bastien (Guitar): Yeah, there is a big punk rock scene in South America.
Marc-Bastien (Guitar): Everywhere! Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina
I wouldn’t expect the genre would be popular over there!
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): Yeah, the kids really like punkrock over there, it reminds me of the good years we had in Canada, back in the 90’s.
How is the scene in Canada right now?
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): I would say pretty much the same as here in Europe.
Marc-Bastien (Guitar): The scene is good now. Ten years ago it was all time low. But now it’s getting back out there and more bands are coming together. So that’s a good thing! Also more kids are going to shows again.
And for the band? You’re touring in Europe now...
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): Yeah but we’re almost done. We only have two more shows left. We’re playing tonight here at Kloemprock and then tomorrow at a secret show...
You’re doing a secret show?
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): Yeah, sounds fancy doesn’t it?
It does! So you guys come from Canada. Does it take a great effort to come all the way to Europe? Like this small country?
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): It’s our fifth time in Europe, so we’ve been here for the past five years and it’s getting easier for us. We know the merch now. We know how to rent a van and stuff like print merchandise. The first tour we did here, we had to adjust a little bit, but now we’ve got a great experience.
Alexis (guitar): We’ve been lucky that people are willing to help us.
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): By pure passion!
Alexis (guitar): Everyone is very keen to help us. The promoters, the other bands, our booking agent here. We’re really in dept with this people.
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): It’s like a community. These people are in to it with pure passion.
The youth is really digging Dubstep and Drum and Bass. What’s your opinion about that kind of ‘music’?
All together: ‘Boo’.
Alexis (guitar): I think you’re nice by calling it music.
So you would never try something like dubstep to mix in your music?
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): No,never crossed our minds. We’re playing the same kind of music for over the past 15 years now, so I don’t think we will ever going to change that. Or slow down...
Alexis (guitar): Or speed up..
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): Hey, I like speeding up during the show!
That’s a good thing!
Do you think the punk-artists should to something to make the genre more popular?
Alexis (guitar): Probably not, you know. The way it’s always been like a community you know. It got ‘big’ on its own, it doesn’t need any help to make it more popular. I think it’s getting fine on its own and everything goes in cycles. Now it is on the low but eventually it all comes back. Like metal for example, it was completely dead during the 90’s and look at it now! It is doing pretty fine for a genre that was dead and buried. So I don’t think we should worry. We don’t need to find stuff to make everybody like it. If you wait long enough it’ll come back.
More about the band... I was surprised to hear the cover “To be with you” that you guys made, why this choice?
Marc-Bastien (Guitar): It started up as a joke!
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): Yeah, here in Belgium by the way.
Alexis (guitar): It was in a place called ‘The Hun’ and we were backstage preparing for the show. I was warming up on the guitar, just playing the melody, you know.
And suddenly we were thinking it could work as a cover, because it’s a catchy and it is song that a lot of people know. Even younger people recognize it, because of its popularity. It is an easy song to play, easy to arrange. So it took about 15 minutes and we had the whole thing figured out in the backstage!
Marc-Bastien (Guitar): Yeah, we started to play it during soundchecks.
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): And I started to sing on it and then we said: let’s do it, because it was making people happy. That’s another move from the other stuff that we do. So we usually keep that song for the ‘encore’. It puts people in the good mood, so it’s a good way to finish our set.
Alexis (guitar): The reason why we recorded it, was for a bonus track or a release, but people close to the band put pressure on us. So we put it on the official release in Canada.
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): Though it’s not on the European version, because we couldn’t get all the rights here for all those different countries. Instead we put some other songs as a bonus on the European version.
I also only heard it on Spotify
Alexis (guitar): Someone told us our stuff was really hard to find on Spotify
It is really hard to find indeed
Alexis (guitar): Why?
I have no idea. On Youtube or in record shops also by the way
Alexis (guitar): Record shops are out of the deal, because we don’t have a big distribution.
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): You have to dig a little deeper to find good punkrock nowadays.
Alexis (guitar): Maybe it’s the name of the band, maybe it is too common...
Personally I am amazed by what you guys play on those guitars! Since when did you start playing music/guitar?
Alexis (guitar): About 16 until 17 years. It’s pure magic.
Marc-Bastien (Guitar): That’s the secret, just practice. Then you think you’re good...but you’re not, because someone told you so.
Alexis (guitar): So you start practicing some more! And that’s how you grow.
I was also wondering where the title ‘Bates Motel’ comes from?
Alexis (guitar): In the movie ‘Psycho’ all the action takes place in a Motel. A girl gets stabbed in the back and all the blood drains into the shower. The swirl of blood is like the storm on the cover of the album. It made us think of that. There isn’t really a link actually.
In the song ‘Neon Valley’ you sing the sentence: ‘We have built a paradise, a safe haven for the sinners. The perfect place to start over’. Is there a place where you’d like to start all over again?
Etienne (Drummer and lead vocals): We don’t want to start over. We live the moment, we live now and that’s cool. We love touring in Europe for instance.
Thank you guys for your time and I’ll be standing in front of the stage during your concert!
Last update on July 22 - 23:32h
Interview and written by Sarah Provost
Technical support and recording by Vincent Eltgeroth