Muertos are a prime example of the reason why everyone should get to gigs early and catch the support bands. I caught these guys on the support slot at a New Candys gig and they were brilliant! A great 4 track EP is available from WrongWay Records , with a few vinyl copies still available. A great introduction to Muertos is the track Black Box, this is the one that really got my attention way back in Shrewsbury.
With a debut album due for release next month, I caught up with the band to find out a little more about them. They are DeAnna Avis, Marc Crane & Tom Lewis and hail from Essex.
Who are you and why did you start the band?
Marc: De and Tom used to play in another band together a good while back. I used to play in another band around the same kind of scene, so we all knew each other back then. All of our bands split and for a few years or so nothing was going down, so myself and De got in touch and decided to create something new from the ashes and get things going again.
De: Yep, I met Marc when he was playing in a vampire garage rock band, Von Jergo. They were making quite a sensation around Essex, and Tom and I were in a political, brash, riot grrrl band at the same time, Death of the Elephant. So our paths crossed a lot at gigs and festivals. We kept in touch and then Marc and I decided to join forces and start writing songs in his dad’s front room. It was very low fi and the musical chemistry was awesome from the start. You never know with these kind of things but we just clicked!
What do you guys want to achieve as a band? What story do you have to tell the world?
De: For me, music is an exploration of all the difficult experiences I’ve been through, a way of processing the highs and lows of life. We write about quite heavy topics, our songs have always been quite personal. So the story I’d like to tell to the world is that it doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, you can get through it. I urge you, anyone who’s struggling – nothing is forever, and that’s the beauty of it all. We’ve been on a hell of a ride, if I even tried to go into it I could write a novel – but we write songs instead. It’s such a buzz to connect with other people who get it.
When you get out of bed, what makes you want to create music? What gives you the drive to make records and play live?
De: For me, it’s two main things. One is needing to express myself and being frustrated at always seeing the boys being the ones who got to shout and strut their stuff while the girls were relegated to being fangirls in the audience. When I started, I wasn’t confident writing music at all – it terrified me. But I thought fuck it if I’m going to be quiet – it’s not in my nature. So yeah, basically I play music to be a pain in the ass, because I think it’s my duty to shake things up, and I’d like to encourage other girls to get out there and start getting their share of the limelight the guys have always had. The other side of it is that I just plain love music, and have always played it as I was raised in a musical family. But I want to emphasise – even coming from that kind of supportive background, there is a hell of a lot of societal conditioning to undo to make you feel that it’s OK to make music as a girl, or get over the thought that you’re not playing the ‘right’ type of music. So I busted out of the box of just playing classical and violin music and ripped open the pandora’s box of punk. That’s why I play, to rip open all the boxes.
I’m a massive fan of bands like Spacemen 3, The Black Angels and BJM, I think I hear hints of them in your music. Who are your biggest influences?
Marc: I’m a big fan of them too. I think listening to those kinds of bands helped me get experimental with guitar playing and this eased me into learning to play. Before I knew any chords I was just into making interesting sounds with feedback and creating atmosphere. Black Sunday by Cypress Hill was one of the first albums I owned when I was young, that album had a big impact on me. It sounded so dark and dangerous.
De: Thank you so much, that’s so cool! My biggest influences are: Mazzy Star, Kathleen Hanna, PJ Harvey, Peaches, 90s west coast hip hop, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, The Raveonettes and last but not least, because it’s been my longest enduring love, Mexican music. I’m inspired by any woman who plays an instrument and sings – they rule my heart.
The album is out in August, describe it in your own words!
Marc: Its a deranged, melancholy trip that will make you want to dance. I also think we managed to successfully compress our three personalities and view points into a black round disc that sounds good.
De: It’s the sound of my therapy sessions put to music. It’s the sound of our inner psyche put to feedback and swirling hypnotic guitars. It’s the sound of our brain waves, our emotions, our love and our pain. I think that it sounds damn good too.
I love the new single ‘Suck It Up’, Where did the inspiration for it come from?
Marc: The strange world that surrounds us! This song is about wanting to get away from it all. Away from the orange goblin in the White House, Brexit, horrible commutes and shattered economy. It’s that feeling, when you are wound up and the least helpful thing someone can do is tell you to calm down and it makes you want to bang their head into a table. This song exists on that space of tension, where you want to BURN EVERYTHING. There is no tidy resolution to this story – we don’t do happy endings. You just have to get on with it and suck it up!
A band with a bright future in front of them I think! Thanks to De & Marc for sparing some time to answer a few questions. You can see Muertos for yourselves on the following dates. Try to catch them if you can, they’re pretty captivating!
Two London gigs coming up in August with Roadkill Records (who are awesome):
The Lock Tavern, Camden: Sat 4th August (Roadkill Records Weekender)
Shacklewell Arms, London: Fri 24th August (Our debut album launch party!)
The Bassment, Chelmsford: Saturday 27th October
Muertos are also playing The Psych Weekender in Manchester for Astral Elevator in September:
Night People: Sun 16th September