This year’s ArcTanGent festival was a total triumph. An incredibly fun weekend packed out with copious amounts of riffs, beers and pizza. It’s what my life consists of anyway if I’m honest, but it’s not usually spent in a field in the pissing rain… One of the main highlights from this year’s festival came about on Saturday in the early afternoon. Playing to a field full of on-their-way-to-being-pissed math and post rock fans, the mighty Mutiny On The Bounty smashed through a set that had most in attendance calling them their band of the festival. No mean feat on a line-up that included the likes of Russian Circles, Lite, And So I Watch You From Afar, Jamie Lenman and a whole host of others. The Luxembourg quartet looked to be having the time of their lives, as can be illustrated from the photo below:
Loving Life // MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY
Dust settled and jaws now back in place, UK fans got another dose of Mutiny On The Bounty as they returned for a run of dates this past week, playing alongside the likes of Maybeshewill and Flood Of Red. I caught them in Manchester at the Deaf Institute (a venue I visited twice last week and came to love again…) where they were opening for the aforementioned bands. Playing a set that echoed their ArcTanGent performance, the second date of their UK mini-tour was a total blast. Playing an entirely instrumental set, they kicked off with the awesome ‘North Korea’ taken from their second album Trials and proceeded to smash through another wonderful set, exploring new and old material. Tight as anything, they were a pleasure to watch. Speaking with drummer Sacha after the show, he revealed that instrumental is the direction they are heading in going forward ”As the new album is going to be completely instrumental, we just wanted to try out new songs as well and it felt just good doing the older instrumental songs; adding the new ones – Especially playing shorter sets. But I guess when we go back to playing 45 minutes or maybe more, we’re gonna add some vocal songs again into the set. But yeah, the new album is completely instrumental, so it’s going to be 80% at least instrumental for the future as well.”
One deciding factor in this is down to the guitar arrangements, with Sacha having such appreciation for the work of his fellow band members Clement and Nicolas. It’s always a joy watching these two; Nicolas beaming and going sick on his guitar, whilst Clement goes just as sick and techy but in a more controlled manner. “Even the album before, the two guitar players – they experimented so much with effects and really creating their own effects, by combining pedals and programming them and stuff. So yeah, they just created awesome soundscapes and – I mean, there’s not really much of the guitars that really sound like guitars. They need their own space and that’s perfect like that, so there was no vocals needed”
Amazingly, dropping the vocals has not had a detrimental effect. If anything, the songs old and new sound just as good, and are as danceable as ever. Their set at ArcTanGent was possibly the first time a lot of people had experienced an entirely instrumental set from the band (I know I for one was surprised/gutted not to have heard ‘Artifacts’ from Trials…) but it was greeted with mass appeal. We bumped into the band numerous times throughout the festival, and like many of the other bands who decided to stay for the whole weekend; they looked to be having a great time. “Just being there on its own was fantastic; I mean this is probably the best festival ever for that kind of music. We were just so happy being there and being able to be a part of it as well, it was really good”
I mentioned to Sacha how they were certainly one of my main highlights, and how much fun they appeared to be having up on stage, playing to the packed out main stage – So how about the performance from their point of view?
“It was ok *laughs* I’m probably not the best person to answer to that, ‘cus I’m hardly happy after shows, but that’s probably me as well. It was loads of fun, it was really good. We enjoyed ourselves and enjoyed being at the festival; seeing so many of our friends. We have toured pretty much five or six times in the UK, and we were just able to see so many of our friends which we only see once or twice a year, and that was like a family meeting. That was great, it was really good.”
We talked more on the festival and our experiences throughout the weekend. The joy of being able to hang out with friends you only see a few times a year as well as getting to catch pant-wettingly good bands…“For me personally, the biggest highlight of them all was seeing Lite. I mean, I’ve known Lite for a couple of years now and I really enjoy them, but for me personally it was the first time that I saw them live. I thought after Russian Circles, which I’ve seen I don’t know, six times? ArcTanGent was definitely the highlight of those six times. I thought no one could go above that, but Lite were fucking kicking asses big time. Really, like I was on my ass – it was just fabulously good.”
Whilst this may appear that it’s fast becoming a promotional tool for ArcTanGent, it really isn’t – the festival is just that great, and you can read all about this year’s ATG in more detail here.
Around October time, Mutiny On The Bounty made a post on their Facebook wall to reveal some good and bad news. On the one hand, the van they use to cart gear around had gone kaput. Never a good sign for any touring band, especially if it’s the second one you’ve lost whilst on the road! Good news though, they then revealed that their third album was on its way to being mastered, with the band having just spent two days mixing it at Ghost City Studios in Germany. This follows on from their sophomore release Trials, and as previously mentioned will be entirely instrumental. “I think the direction is slightly different, I think it’s a little bit more groovy than before, especially because this time we really – first of all, we wrote a good part of the album in the studio with the producer, who is a fucking talented musician, really good, like he plays tons of instruments and we were really doing that together. Our influences this time especially were more 80’s music and hip-hop, and electro than any other stuff. I think that makes it interesting. Especially what we heard as well when we were playing the songs. People said that it’s more kinda groovy, more dancey. That’s pretty much the direction to expect.”
Midway through their set in Manchester, guitarist Nicolas gave more insight into the new record, telling those in attendance that it’s expected around April next year – wonderful news, I’m sure you will agree. With the records completion imminent, the band are looking forward to its release and getting back on the road “…We’re still figuring out who’s gonna release it. As soon as that is all settled, we’re gonna see when we’re coming back for a tour. If it’s gonna be a support tour or on our own we don’t know yet. But it’s for sure that we’re gonna come back. We’ll do a first run of European shows, and then pretty much after that around end of April or May, we’re gonna `come back for a full tour in the UK.”
A lot of love has been shown from these shores for these Luxembourg boys, with Mutiny On The Bounty being championed by a load of bands on the math scene over here. It’s coming up to a decade since the formation of the band, and they’ve played with some huge names. I asked Sacha to look back across the years and come up with some of the highlights. “A few highlights have definitely been playing with the bands we listened to so much, and were huge influences in many ways for us. We had the chance to tour and play with many of those really good bands. It’s pretty much incredible; the first time we came to the UK it was impossible to tour in Europe around August, because there’s only festivals going on. We played a few, but we wanted to go on tour, and we asked our friend Henry from Dartz! back at the time if shows are going on here. He said yes, so we booked this tour and the first show was with Meet Me In St Louis, and then we played with Rolo Tomassi. I can name at least 5 huge bands, in many ways. We had the chance to play with those bands and get friends with some of them. Later on we toured two weeks with Blakfish. All those bands which unfortunately, a lot of them are not existing any more, and we had the chance to tour with them, being friends with them, and that’s just great. That’s pretty much a part of the highlights – sharing music with all those amazing people and bands”
Mutiny On The Bounty have had a few line-up changes during their decade together, and it appears there’s going to be another slot to fill. Earlier in the evening I’d caught part of their sound check and noticed “Chiggy”, their usual smiley bass player, wasn’t playing with them. It was a shame to not see him in the UK, as Chiggy is a really sweet dude. Another one of the highlights from this year’s ArcTanGent was getting up on stage during the Silent Disco and hanging out with Chiggy and a load of other dudes we’d seen play amazing sets mere hours previous. Sacha was clearly gutted without the presence of their full time bassist, but was assuring that everything was still great in the Mutiny On The Bounty camp, with music being the priority. “Unfortunately our bass player is not able any more to tour with us, so that’s a little bit of a hassle because we have to find replacement bass players, at the moment at least. Maybe we’re gonna find like a full time member, but we don’t know yet. But apart from that, Nicolas, Clement and me we’re still fixed members in the band and enjoying it a lot. We just go on like we always did. I mean, we had to change some members in the past years, because it was always the same thing – they were not able to tour anymore or they didn’t want to tour anymore. But we always wanted to go on, so it was definitely not a choice to quit, it was just a choice to put some hard work in and finding people, making it happen. I mean Clement; he lives fucking 200 kilometres from us, so one rehearsal for him means 400 kilometres back and forth, but it’s doable. We can make it happen, so we just go on with it.”