After kicking off its tour with the duo Twenty One Pilots last month, New Times caught up with Mutemath drummer Darren King following the Grammy-nominated band's performance in front of 28,000 fans at Hershey Park Stadium on June 20.
Ahead of the New Orleans-based group's stop this weekend at BB&T Center, King clues us in to the trove of Mutemath's unreleased music and tells how vocalist Paul Meany is bringing back the keytar.
New Times: What's new in the world of Mutemath?
Darren King: We're seven months out from the release of our last full-length. We're focusing on some remixes. We're getting ready to go play Lollapalooza [in Chicago] and also Lollapalooza in Colombia. At this point in our careers, the biggest show we've ever done certainly was Colombia. We did a festival years ago for 70 or 80 thousand people. We headlined this festival that was just — it was one of the coolest things we've ever done... I've always promised we'd return, and we're finally invited back. So, music videos, remixes, and not too early into the beginning of writing — at least writing — new music and journaling.
I've read that Mutemath has written a lot of music that has yet to be released. Do you plan on releasing any?
Sometimes you don't. Over the course of a decade, the scrap pile is massive. A lot of times, what you initially thought was an amazing idea or something you were very excited about, you later realize that it's just a life support system for one small line, or maybe a beat, or perhaps a verse, or the germ of a song or a lyric or something. All those bits and pieces that you keep around and use to create with. It's certainly not the case that they're all great ideas... Sometimes you'll go back to 2003 and it never worked, and now suddenly we have the song for it.
Why do you wear a microphone gaffer-taped to your head?
It just holds my headphones on, or otherwise they fall off. I get too excited.
This is a question I wanted to ask Paul: Is he trying to bring back the keytar?
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It's a great MIDI controller and you get to move around. From the very beginning, ten years ago when we started using it, it had a kids' factor to it that got people's attention. We always got a good reaction live; like, he would rock it. I'm proud of him. I've watched, as he's used it, the price of keytars go up. And maybe that's inflation. But I'll tell you this much for sure: On eBay, they certainly cost a lot more to get whenever he breaks them than it used to... I'd like to think we should give him some credit for the rise in stock of the underutilized [instrument].
This is in reference to the song "Monument" about Charles Evans, the Mississippi man who made a museum dedicated to his wife. What was it about Evans that you had to write a song about him?
That's what's crazy, we didn't write a song about him. We wrote the song; then we met him afterward. And we realized, oh my goodness, this guy is the song. He's the song that we wrote. He's more the song than the song is. It was a perfect fit. Our buddy Jordan, a dear friend, Charles used to be his mailman. That's how we met him. He's my best friend's mailman, and that's a cool way to meet somebody... If you're ever in Starkville, you should go visit him. He has to love that, when people knock on his door and take a tour of his museum.
With Twenty One Pilots. Saturday, July 2, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise. Tickets cost $57 plus fees. For more information, visit bbtcenter.com or call 954-835-7000.