Live Concert Photography: Mutemath with Colony House and ROMES at Brooklyn Steel 9/20/17
Currently comprised of Paul Meany (vocals, keys), Todd Gummerman (guitar) and Jonathan Allen (bass), the New Orleans-based alt rock/indie rock act Mutemath can trace their origins back to 2002 when the band started as a long-distance collaboration between the act’s founding members, the New Orleans-based Meany and the Springfield, MO-based Darren King, who were both members of Earthsuit. Initially, the project started when King would occasionally send Meany instrumental demos, and as the story goes, the demos impressed Meany to the point that he had asked his former bandmate if he could add some of his own musical ideas. This began a songwriting back and forth that went on for several months. which eventually resulted in King relocating to New Orleans, with the hopes that they could turn their songwriting efforts into some kind of side-project from their then-primary gig. Initially calling the project Math, the band’s founding duo began exploring their shared influences, including DJ Shadow, Bjork and countless others with their earliest material leaning towards sample and beat-based electronica and electro pop.
Once Meany’s band officially broke up, Meany and King moved into a house in Mandeville, LA, where they spent their waking hours writing material and figuring out how to turn their newest project into a full band. By the following year, the Springfield, MO-born Greg Hill (guitar) was recruited to join the band and with his addition, the newly constituted trio began expanding upon their sound, including more rock-based elements, inspired by The Police and U2. Armed with a collection of demos, Meany took the demos to his friend, producer Tedd T., who fell in love with their band’s sound — and began working with the band as they began to compile what would eventually become their debut EP. Simultaneously, the trio began playing shows on the side with rotating cast of bassists, experimenting with expanding the band into a quartet.
After several months of considering and discussing different options for their new project, the members of the band decided it was best to go independent, and officially changed their name to Mutemath. Teaming up with Tedd T. and their lawyer/manager Kevin Kookogey, they started their own label Teleprompt Records, and within a few months they developed a developmental deal with Warner Music, who released their debut EP Reset to capitalize on Earthsuit’s fanbase. By the end of 2004, the band recruited Roy Mitchell-Cardenas and as a quartet, they began relentlessly touring to promote Reset using MySpace and other social media sites to remote their shows. Within the next few months, they opened for Mae and Circa Survive, during which they chronicled their shows and life on the road, which helped build a rapidly growing profile.
The band’s full-length, self-titled debut was initially self-released as tour-only release, as response to Warner Music Group’s indecision and heming and hawing over what they wanted to do with the band and their album. Telepompt Records eventually sued Warner Music, requesting that Mutemath from their contract — with Telepompt proceeding to promote and sell the band’s full-length debut. As a tour-only release, the band’s debut sold 10,000 copies in its first month, which eventually resulted in attention from the likes of Billboard, Pollstar, Alternative Press, Paste, Spin, MTV News‘ You Hear It First, and adding to a growing profile, the band played sets at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Vans’ Warped Tour, V Festival, CMJ and Voodoo Music Experience. After months of fighting in court, Teleprompt re-negoiated their contact with Warner, and the band’s full-length debut was re-released in 2006 with reworked tracks from Reset EP and a bonus, limited-edition, live EP. And as a result of the buzz surrounding them, the then-quartet’s full-length debut debuted at #17 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers chart.
Interestingly, the band received some unexpected publicity when American Idol contestant Chris Sligh sang “Typical” on that season’s Top 24 episode, and they followed up with the wildly successful video for the song, which made it on the New York Post‘s Hot List and received more than 100,000 views in less than four days. Along with that the song rose up the Modern Rock charts, at one point jumping from #115 to #65 before eventually peaking at #35.
Since then, the band has seen remarkable commercial success — their sophomore effort Armistice, which was written during a particular tension fraught period in the band’s history, debuted at #18 on the Billboard 200 while also charting at #4 on the Billboard Rock charts and #3 on the Billboard Digital Albums and Alternative Albums charts. With the release of their third full-length effort, Old Soul the band went through a number of lineup changes.
Interestingly, the band’s latest album Play Dead was released this fall, and the album finds the band’s sound employing element of prog rock, psych rock, electro pop, soul and jam band rock. And the band headlined Brooklyn Steel back in September on a bill featuring the Franklin, TN-based indie rock at Colony House and the Irish-Canadian indie pop/indie soul act ROMES. Check out photos from the show below.
Comprised of siblings Caleb Chapman (vocals) and Will Chapman (drums), the sons of Christian pop artist Steven Curtis Chapman, Scott Mills (guitar) and Parke Cottrell (bass), the members of the Franklin, TN-based indie rock act Colony House can trace their origins to when the members of the band met while attending high school back in 2009. Initially named Caleb, the band, who describes their sound as “rock ‘n’ roll” with “stripped-down instruments,” influenced U2 and Cold War Kids, changed their name to Colony House in 2013, after an apartment complex they all had lived.
The Franklin, TN-based indie rock act self-released three EPs before the release of their 2014 full-length debut When I Was Younger, and the album’s lead single “Silhouettes” received alternative rock radio airplay, appeared on the iTunes Store Alt-Rock charts and was the most downloaded song on Sirius XM Alt Nation — and as a result, the album landed at #154 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the Heatseekers Album chart. Adding to a growing profile, the band made their national television debut on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, and the following year, the band has toured with Needtobreathe, Ben Rector, Switchfoot and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, as well two consecutive appearances at Drew Holcomb’s Moon River Music Festival.
Colony House released their sophomore, full-length album Only the Lonely earlier the year, and so far the album’s first four singles “You Know It,” “Lonely,” “This Beautiful Life” and “You & I,” have helped the album become a commercial success, as it’s currently peaked at #76 on the Billboard 200.
Comprised of Jacob Alexander (vocals), Nicolas Amadeus (drums), James Tebbitt (guitar) and Andrew Keyes (bass), the Irish-born, Toronto, Ontario-based members of soul pop/indie rock act ROMES can trace their origins to when the members met while attending school in Wicklow, Ireland, where they played music together in a number of various arrangements for the better part of a decade before relocating to Toronto. Over the following year, the members of the quartet turned the basement of their Kensington Market semi-detached red brick house into their full-time performance space, where they spent their waking hours writing and honing the material that would eventually comprise their attention grabbing debut EP, Believe, an effort that received rotation through Sirius XM Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement program and was selected CBC Radio One’s Here and Now Song of the Week. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, Believe EP peaked at #24 on Spotify Ireland’s Viral 50 Charts and #48 on Ireland’s Radio Charts — thanks in part to anthemic pop that draws from funk, synth pop, hip-hop, electro pop, disco and soul the that the band feels is a modern take on some of their earliest influences.