An Interview With Mopotomus
Th latest release from Mopotomus is a wonderfully woven and powerfully cinematic record that incorporates such a vivid array of tones and textures to create something that come across honest and lush with acoustic guitar backbone but with an array of instrumentation at the forefront to give it added life.
The "About Time" album is absolutely packed with stories that re told with a passion and oozing with heart and truths. It's part of what makes this record so addictive really.
You want to know more; you want to hear more and after a bit you feel like you are a part of a greater story. The album gives you the gift of painting these stories and pictures out for you with a beautiful palette.
The songs are arranged so well and have a way of bringing in a jazzy undertone beneath the acoustic folk rock feel of it all.
Horns, strings, live percussion and vocals that dig deep and give off a sort of rustic feel, this record really has a way of digging in and holding tight.
The guitar work on this release is nearly perfect and is performed with plenty of soul. You can clearly hear this artist's love for the craft in every note. You get inspirations of classic rock, folk, jazz, and even classic guitar in there. It's such a full-bodied mix that make for unique songs that push the envelope enough to be noticed.
With such an engulfing album, we wanted to have a chat with the mind behind Mopotomus and find out where this all came from.
Here's what happened.
RAG: Okay so let's start with About Time" This album has very vibrant acoustic feel to it! Where did this record come from? They're acoustic because I'm a drummer, and I tend to bang the crap out of the guitar like I do the drums, and electric guitars just don't put up with that. I'm as attentive to the percussive sound of the strings (the rhythm) as I am the chords, or melody. These are songs I've been playing around, solo, for the better part of 20 years. The first of, I think, four albums I'll be releasing. RAG: So how did this all begin for you? When did you fall in love with music really? I started writing around '01. I'd learned to play guitar by ear in the mid 90's playing along with the music of the time. I've played drums since I was young. Got a little plastic drum set from (like those in JC Penny catalogs) and beat it to death, then got a real set when I was 9 or 10. Sat in the basement for most of my life with headphones on playing to everyone I thought had a good drummer. Van Halen, Genesis, Phil Collins, Rush Tower of Power, Omar Hakim, Dave Weckl. In '99 I started rebuilding my drum set. I hadn't played in a while. After building it back up (replacing everything that was broken), I thought about trying to get some studio gigs, so I set off to make a demo. That's when I started writing. If I played someone else's song, I played what their drummer played. So, I wrote in order to have an original thought, and wrote songs around grooves I wanted to play. After a while, I'd made enough songs for an album and just kept writing. The songs turned out better than I thought they would. By '04, I had around 40 songs either finished or worked out to one degree or another. About that time, I started playing out. So, I've played these songs out, solo, for almost 20 years. Thought it was about time I record them, so I got an interface and pro tools and went to work. The whole album is me, and I also recorded mixed and mastered it. There was never really "moment" so to speak that I fell in love with music. It was just always in my head. I've always paid particular attention to it. More than just casual listening. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a recording/mix engineer. I've always heard music in my head. Still do, all the time. It took me a while before I noticed that it was new music I was hearing and not just someone else's music I'd heard somewhere before. RAG: Who is in your headphones right now? A lot of different people. Wood Brothers are always in there. I've started listening to Phil Collins again (first two albums), some sort of brass band (Brass Monkey Brass Band, Dirty Dozen, March Fourth Brass Band), Chic Corea, Foo Fighters, Black Crowes, Stones, Van Halen, Bill Withers...it's always a rotation. My itunes looks like 4 people from 3 generations share the account...pretty eclectic... RAG: What inspires you to write a song? For some reason, when I kick on the shower, a song pops in my head (probably because I can't get to my phone to record it before it's gone, so I have to sing or hum it until I get out and can get it). Other than that, just the song themselves. I'll hear it and some of them don't go away until I record them. They just stick in there and usually complete. Some are just ideas, but most are complete songs (minus lyrics of course....I hate lyrics..) RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this song. Who are some of your biggest musical influences? Everyone listed in the headphones question. I think Genesis, which lead to Phil and Peter's solo stuff. Van Halen was a jumping off point for the drums that lead to other things. I think Omar Hakim is my biggest drumming influence. He just blew my mind the first time I heard him play. Guitar, I'd say, Dave Matthews in the way he structured his parts. Not really chords, but a mix of chords and other things. I liked the Indigo Girls guitar chords, always interesting. As far as vocals go, I'd say Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. Not sure why, just love their voices. Also love Bill Withers and Joe Cocker....Colin Hay....I guess I just like raspy voices. Not sure if it's because mine is raspy too, or if mines raspy because of theirs....nature or nurture? Who knows? RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
I'm a carpenter, so if I'm not playing out or recording, I'm building something. RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do? Not lately. Covid kind of shut it down, like it did with everyone. Luckily, I was just starting to record when that hit, so that kept me busy, but, I have yet to really fire the live gigs back up to full steam so far. The break was a welcomed one. RAG: This song feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming artists out there? I think being able to do as much on your own as possible is always a good thing. Learn the production side of it. It can only help you in the long run. Learn the techniques and the software. If nothing else, you'll have an idea of what's going on in the studio (if you're not doing it yourself) and you know what's possible, what's not, and can add to the conversation.
RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future? Another album of old and new stuff (it will all be new to you), but I tend to write a couple of songs while I'm recording material I've already had. Just ideas that take over and all of the sudden, a new song. I've already tracked the main parts of ten or so songs.
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Thanks for listening. Please tell all your friends....and all your enemies for that matter.....and those people who are both, and the people who are neither, but mainly, just thanks for listening.