Tag: Mute Choir

New Audio: Introducing the Radio Friendly Sounds of Toronto’s Mute Choir

Toronto-based indie act Mute Choir — founder Sam Arion, along with Milan Sarkadi and Iris Waters — can trace its origins to as a response to its founder’s identity crisis, a long-established songwriting bond between Arion and Waters and a deep passion for musical experimentation. The Canadian trio are involved in every aspect of their work, ardently employing a DIY ethos to everything they do from production, mixing and artwork to ensure that their vision is completely their own without interference. 

The trio define their overall aesthetic as “Organized Chaos” with their sound simultaneously evoking a cluttered urban center and the “lonesome ambience of insomnia.” The band explains that they “seek to make sense of the noise around them, searching for a middle ground between conflicting forces.”

“Shadowboxing,” Mute Choir’s latest single is a slickly produced and hook driven track centered around Arion’s plaintive and yearning vocals, thumping beats, layers of shimmering guitars and a sinuous bass line. Interestingly, the song finds the emerging Canadian trio balancing earnest songwriting rooted in deeply personal experience, deliberate, old-fashioned craft and pop-leaning ambition. Although, the song manages to be a radio friendly, arena rock anthem it simultaneously evokes the uneasiness of an uncertain present while encouraging the listener to take a chance on themselves and their dreams. 

“‘Shadowboxing’ was inspired by a  point of renewal; when you’re starting fresh but can’t escape the tremendous pressure of uncertainty. When the future is wide open, it can be easy to overthink your present decisions in the face of who you might become,” the band says in a written statement. “You can never know for sure if life will turn out the way you hope when you go with your gut instinct. There is always a possibility for failure, an fear of failure can be overwhelming enough to drive you to the wrong kinds of compromises.” 

The members of Mute Choir add, “‘Shadowboxing’ is told from the perspective of someone, who let the weight of ear and negativity break their spirit. They’ve given up and distanced themselves from their passions, only realizing how misguided they were when it’s too late. Each verse laments the unfulfilled mundanity of their day-to-day, while the choruses offer a bleak retrospect. The character was written as a reminder to never look back on life thinking what if? It’s better to fail doing what you love than to know you never tried.”

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Sam Arion is an Iranian-born, Toronto area-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and the creative mastermind behind Mute Choir. Raised in the Toronto suburbs of Richmond Hill and Newmarket, Arion left the ‘burbs when he turned 18 to seriously pursue a career in music. Eventually, Arion had a glimpse of success as a part of a band that signed to a major label, and although countless young musicians across the world would salivate over such an opportunity, Arion quickly saw that the demands of the situation ran counter to his own musical and creative philosophy. And for the Iranian-born, Toronto area-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, the only solution was to make a clean break and take full command over his artists output with his own solo recording project — Mute Choir.

Behind the Bars Arion’s self-produced Mute Choir full-length debut was primarily written and performed by the Iranian-born Canadian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer himself. “I’d say that 98% of this album was made by me alone on my laptop at 3 a.m.,” Arion admits in press notes. “I’m not a great drummer so I had to get a friend to do that, but I wrote all his parts. As soon as I started playing music when I was 13, I immediately wanted to learn how to produce because I never wanted to be in a situation where someone else was telling me how my music should sound. What’s most important to me is not feeling like I’m faking it, not just with music but all aspects of my life. That’s what this album represents most—it’s a true expression of who I am.”

Interestingly, Arion has dubbed his sound “post-electronic” as a nod to a split musical personality as a balladeer and experimentalist; in fact he admits that his songwriting has almost always been a bit melancholy but that incorporating electronic music elements became almost like meditation, as it has allowed him to lose himself in the music. “Growing up in a generation musically dominated by EDM, I saw how powerful the ability to make people dance can be,” Arion says. “It brings music into the physical realm. I want to bring that out in people, I want people to lose themselves in the music the same way I did making it, but not necessarily as a means of escape. It’s also very important to me to have lyrical content and themes that also allow listeners to think and reflect on their lives.” Thematically speaking, the album reportedly focuses on freedom — particularly, the freedom to live your life however you choose, and the freedom to follow your creative vision wherever it leads. Of course, in order to develop and have a concept of freedom, there has to be the experience of its direct opposite, so the album in some way also focuses on that dichotomy and how it clashes in one’s personal and creative life.

Behind the Bars‘ latest single “Election Season” is an anthemic bit of electro rock/synth rock that immediately brings to mind Empire-era Kasabian — but within an expansive song structure centered around bombastic hooks, arpeggiated synths, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a sinuous bass line that features a gorgeous and cinematic string arrangement before building up to a cathartic cacophony. It’s the rare song I’ve heard this year that’s both dance floor friendly and mosh pit worthy but underneath the self-assured swagger is some thoughtful and ambitious songwriting.