Faith Mantia, Viking Fusion Arts and Culture Producer
|Photo credit: Mary Claire Stewart|
The high energy band Mutemath was here at Berry College this past Saturday for the annual Exam Jam. The alternative rock band from New Orleans formed in 2003 and have been on a roll ever since. The band consists of lead vocalist and keyboardist Paul Meany, drummer Darren King, guitarist Todd Gummerman, and bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas. This band has become wildly popular and their decade of success has proven their musical staying power. Seated casually in an upstairs meeting room in the Cage all four men seemed giddy with excitement about putting on the show and spending a little time here on campus. “I played some woods disk golf earlier today,” said Todd as the other band members talked quietly about how expansive Berry’s campus was.
Mutemath is not your everyday rock band. This tightknit group of guys is not the drinks, drugs and cigarettes kind of band that is usually associated with rock music. Their music has evolved as the band grew, and has also worked to bond them as a group. “We all had basically the same life stories but different threads of feeling lost and that’s what pulled us together,” said Darren who has been friends with lead singer Paul since high school. Paul added “Our music goes through different chapters of our lives. We are all dads now so that changes how we get through different stages of life and what you do to yourself to reinvent your passion for music.”
Many of their songs have deeper meaning behind the lyrics. In an interview on Mutemath’s website, King talked about the inspiration behind the lyrics. “We wanted to celebrate, up front and center, what we used to think was best kept in the shadows, our weird religious roots.” One thing is for sure, Mutemath has made music that is unmistakably and fundamentally their own. Using New Orleans rhythm and blues, blending elements from psychedelic to traditional gospel to contemporary electronic, the band has found ways to tie positive messages into songs people are interested in and love to listen to again and again.
As for the band, the guys have absolutely no intention of slowing down anytime soon. When asked about how they maintain the high energy that people look forward to during their shows they all started talking animatedly at the same time. Roy elatedly responded with “It’s amazing to travel the world” and then Darren jumped in and added “We feel extremely lucky and it still feels good. All of us remember that it’s not permanent and that’s what makes each show so special.”
Outside of the Cage there was a group of fans already waiting for them to perform. Mutemath did not disappoint. The band came out like a fireball of energy complete with a keytar, homemade instruments along with many cool electronic devices to have fun with. The band members switched back and forth between instruments, sharing talents like a face paced musical chairs competition. All the while lead singer Paul Meany danced around on stage, high-fiving fans to pump up the excitement. The wildly entertaining band put on an enjoyable concert that was a crowd pleaser and their fans are sure to look forward to their next hit album.