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Album Review+Interview: Muta-scuM - Idle Worship

Take a ride with us as we breach the chaotic storm of sound waves that makes up a very unique and fantastically interesting album, as well as asking Adam just what his music is all about. Album releases Friday 23rd of July.

Noise, breaks, occasional melody, and something that sounds a bit like tinnitus. - Muta-scuM


Q. For those unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your music, and where does the name Muta-scuM come from?

A. Stylistically it’s probably easiest to call it industrial breakbeat. It’s a bit of a mish-mash. I’ve tried to incorporate a mix of rhythmic noise and break core with a bit of techno but it’s kind of ended up not quite being any of its component parts. Believe it or not the name actually came about way before the music. It was originally a logo design I doodled during a lecture at uni and when I wrote the first track it just kind of fit as a name.

The idea is that it’s mutating scum although loads of people used to pronounce it as “mutter” as though I was insulting someone’s mum. It’s become an almost prophetic thing for the music though, the mutation of what started as absolutely crap music into something half decent (I hope).

Q. The religious element is very clear throughout your music from the artistry, to the song titles, and the places you’ve taken media samples from. This is a very rare element to be found in industrial so can you tell us about the direction of Muta-scuM and what message your music portrays?

A I’ve grown up in a family that have a pretty strong Christian faith going back a couple of generations so it’s probably not much of a surprise that I’ve chosen to follow that faith and just about everything I write comes from that. It’s the biggest thing that’s happened in my life and has affected every decision I’ve made since; So a lot of the stuff I write is more to do with interpreting my worldview and experiences and getting that into some kind of cohesive sound.

Some of the tracks are just music for the sake of music. “Still Here, Still Breathing” for example is just how I’ve always answered the question “how are you?”. Some of the tracks have more actual meaning, like “Welcome to the Meat Grinder” is me tackling the fact that I lost 3 mates to suicide within about 3 years of each other. That one is me kind of trying to scream at the cliff-edge that there’s still hope, hence the vocal sample saying “Never give in to the pain. You are loved. You are not alone.”

Q. Which songs are you most proud of on Idle Worship and do they all culminate into a specific story or are they more of an amalgamation of theme rather than a concept?

A. It’s probably a tie between “A Truly Divisive Icon” which was the last track I wrote for the album and “Rebuilding Jericho” which has been sitting in the vault since about 2012. Icon’s got the most interesting rhythmic layers, I was messing about more with drum editing and wanted to keep it as atonal as I could but still wanted it to have the religious theme running through it like a stick of rock. Jericho on the other hand was more about making something that shifted and moved so it’s got some odd fills and is a bit more cinematic.

The album overall is kind of an anthology of songs from the last 10 years. The track listing does seem to have kind of clumped together into a couple of sections though. The first bit (Still Here, Life_Online, & Meat Grinder) ended up being a kind of life and death themed section and then Icon and Porn Scars kind of ended up being about moral theology. That was purely accidental though.

Q. Tell us about your history. Where did it all start, and what inspired you to start making music?

A. I’ve always had some habits of making music. My folks signed me up to piano, guitar, and violin lessons in primary school so I’ve had a habit of playing music since I was really young. Muta-scuM almost started by accident. The brother of one of my uni mates had a really basic bit of software for writing music back in about 2006 and I’d just discovered EBM so we had a bit of a mess about session writing some sludgy electro trying to copy what I’d heard from the likes of Wumpscut. Frankly, it sucked, but not as much as the rubbish I tried writing on GarageBand after losing contact with him. Over the next few years I started messing about with found sounds and samples and eventually got some decent writing skills layering up tracks.

I have to say a massive thank you to Infest here because if I hadn’t won a copy of Ableton Live 6 in their raffle back in 2006 I might have never got anywhere with my production values but many years later, here we are.

Q. Which bands have you shared the stage with and which bands would you love to play alongside in future?

A. Annoyingly it’s been absolutely years since I got to play live with this project. I had gigs playing alongside the likes of CE Digest, The Ladder, Wrapped In Plastic, and Cyferdyne (although they might even have still been Cyberdyne then) back in the day but I had to put everything on hiatus in 2012 because I joined a pop-punk band (Malokai - search for “Malokai epic fall” on YouTube… you won’t regret it) that took up all of my time. It was great fun, but it meant I had no time to even think about Muta-scuM although I got to do more touring and played more gigs than any other time in my life. In the future I’d love to play shows with the likes of ESA or Cacophoneuses, and Infest one day is obviously the dream gig, but for right now I’d be happy to just get out and play live again.

Q. What artists are you listening to most right now?

A. I’ve been listening to a ton of LITH recently, I recently discovered Bambi OFS, and been listening to a lot of the stuff that Hands have been putting out like the newest Mono No Aware and I’ve revisited older stuff like Twinkle quite a lot. It’s either been that or hammering Ska-Punk bands. There’s not really much middle ground.

Q. What life lessons has being in music taught you over the years, and what would you change about the scene if you could?

A. The biggest one is probably “Write what you enjoy”. If you don’t enjoy it, nobody else will bother with it, but also, you might be the only one who ever hears it. I’ve been sat on bits of Idle Worship for so long I’m almost sick of them so it’s great to finally get other people aware of it. The other thing I’ve learned is knowing the right person is a big part of the music world.

Having taken all that time off from the scene to tour in a pop-punk band, I've lost lots of contacts from years back so I’m having to start from the ground up again. I think if I could change anything about the scene it’d be to make sure that as many small music venues survive the pandemic. I think that’s going to have a big impact on how easy it is for bands to get in front of new audiences and get known or even just keep going.

Q. Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

A. Just a huge heartfelt thank you. Some of you guys have been around since the very first gigs back in 2009 or whenever it was (Hi Dad!), and if you’re new, thanks for listening. Hopefully I’ll be able to see some of you in a venue soon.