Jonathan Meek & the Mutes’ sound bursts out of the cage with an immediate intensity; a slushy mixture of warbly, irregular melody that cuts through the mildewy self-consciousness of capital “I” Indie Rock like lemon juice on a 3rd degree burn, and then sounds like Nick Drake joined early Radiohead, reasserting that amidst all the poseurs, there is still a life in the scene – a blistered beating heart with a head drunk with ideas.
Music Zeitgeist had the opportunity to ask this unstable atom some questions:
Music Zeitgeist: Who?
Jonathan Meek: I’m Jonathan Meek of Jonathan Meek & the Mutes, which includes my friend and recording engineer Mike Mittelstedt, and my brother Nathaniel Meek on drums.
JM: One reviewer described my songs as “short films in musical form” which I find to be not only applicable, but also flattering. I’m heavily influenced by films and, in general, my songs rely on a lot of imagery and symbolism to tell a story, which gives them a sort of cinematic quality. I try to make the music work as a setting for each story, so the sounds and moods match the images in the lyrics. Overall, I want to make my songs interesting, so that each time you listen you hear something different or understand something different about the story.
Just as a reference, I would compare my sound to later Nick Cave, Low, maybe some Wilco, and a little Arcade Fire. I’ve also been compared on various separate occasions to Simon & Garfunkel, interestingly enough.
JM: I really can’t imagine doing anything else.
MZ: Until When?
JM: The only reason I would ever stop is if I became actually physically unable to continue.
JM: Truthfully primarily out of my spare bedroom (or “office”) in my house. I’m either writing, recording, practicing, or I’m on the computer promoting my music. I’m pretty much a one-man operation so I’ve got to spend a lot of time on the business side of things. Fortunately, that keeps me focused on my goals. When I do crawl out of my house, though, I play shows in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.