We’ve been blessed with a group of drummers who can play and are good people, too. We started 2012 by welcoming Chris Pagnani to Mutts, who fits both criteria for an ideal band mate. He also always brought snacks, so, bonus.
In typical Mutts fashion, we got right to work on new music. Big changes create an ideal environment for making art. We had a new drummer and we were about to crack open 21 brand new songs together.
We decided to break them up into two albums – one electric and one acoustic – but we started recording them at the same time.
We went back to the methodology from the EPs, booking 4 tracking days at the Chrome Attic with Jon Alvin engineering again. This studio was over an hour away and had bedrooms and a kitchen, so we moved in there for a few days. We were going to eat, drink, sleep, and breathe this record. Dive in, get it done, and move on.
Our new drummer, Chris 2.0 kept up with our manic pace incredibly well. It’s a lot to ask of a person to learn two albums of material AND help record TWO new albums within about a month of knowing each other.
The tracking on these songs went back to the mostly-live setup of the EPs. The exception is the opening track. It has become a Mutts tradition to have one studio indulgence per album. After putting down the initial loops and vocal, I wrote a road map for the percussion, and all 4 of us went in the live room to bang it out.
Each song on this album has some element that no other song I’d recorded had at that point. For example, Uninvited has a clavinet fed into an infinite loop delay to provide that creepy industrial sounding pad throughout. None of it is groundbreaking; I just wanted to make myself try new things.
Thematically this is the heaviest record I’ve written. When I first started to realize I was gay, I was terrified. Growing up in a conservative part of Ohio with a Catholic family, I had no idea how to process this, and I denied it for many years. By this time, all of my musician friends knew I was gay, and I was living with my partner of three years, but I hadn’t started coming out to my friends from school or my family. So a lot of nervousness and some lingering darkness, coupled with the nastiness of the upcoming election, all rolled into one dark and heavy Mutts album.
We toured a lot in 2012, and released this album on August 9th at Fireside Bowl. God, Country, Grave was soon after used in a Cinemax show called Banshee and is now our most popular song online.