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Five Questions With… Mute Choir's Sam Arion

Toronto alt-rock trio Mute Choir is the latest signing to Sleepless Records, with the new partnership being marked by the band’s new single and video, Familiar Ways.

Five Questions With… Mute Choir's Sam Arion

By Jason Schneider

Toronto alt-rock trio Mute Choir is the latest signing to Sleepless Records, with the new partnership being marked by the band’s new single and video, Familiar Ways. Blending elements of modern pop and psychedelia in the vein of bands like Tame Impala, the song depicts the surreal state of being a spectator of your own life, feeling a constant pull between clarity and confusion, and unable to break the cycle.


That’s been a common theme for producer/songwriter Sam Arion, who describes founding Mute Choir following an identity crisis. The band also includes fellow musical polymaths Milan Sarkadi and Iris Waters, brought together by a thirst for experimentation.

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The trio is involved in almost every aspect of their work, from production and mixing to artwork, delivering a distinct vision. They describe the results as organized chaos, the essence of a cluttered downtown as well as the lonesome ambience of insomnia. The group seeks to make sense of the noise around them, searching for a middle ground between conflicting forces.

We caught up with Sam Arion to find out more, as Mute Choir gears up for a cross-Canada tour with The Blue Stones that kicks off in late January and continues until the end of March. Get full details at mutechoir.com

Congrats on the new single Familiar Ways. Is it a taste of more new music to come? 

Thanks! It definitely is. We’ve been writing a lot of new music, and Familiar Ways felt like a good starter and sneak peek at some of the vibes we’ve been experimenting with lately. It's one of the younger songs of our batch, too, so it definitely shows our process at a developed stage and points to how we might be approaching future works.

How would you describe the band’s artistic evolution so far?

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It’s been quite a journey. It started as a solo project, but Iris and I have been musical collaborators for years, and you could say that Mute Choir was unofficially somewhat of a band well before we called it one. We started making music with Milan in 2016. As a team, we were producing, engineering and mixing music for ourselves and other artists and, pretty soon, it became apparent that the three of us collaborating created a result we really liked, and we decided to join forces.  

Our evolution has been a result of the three of us working together and exploring the dynamic we create. We’re not really a typical band setup; we don’t have a drummer, and no one is tied to a specific instrument. We all play multiple instruments, we're all producers, and the approach to every new song is as a sort of blank page where anything can happen without limitations of what we can or can’t do. As a result, our style ends up dipping its toes into a lot of different genres because we all like many different styles of music. We’re all like kids at a toy store whenever we get to experiment with new ideas and inspirations. Milan got really into photography and has always been a bit of a film-junkie, then that turned into him getting photos that became our album art and now experimenting with video and cinematography. We just like creating freely, in whatever form that manifests, and Mute Choir has become our catalyst for that.

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You’ll be touring fairly extensively with The Blue Stones this winter. How are you getting prepared for that? 

We’re really stoked for the tour! We’ve locked ourselves in the studio for the last little while, so there’s nothing we’re looking forward to more than playing live again. As far as preparation, a cross Canada winter drive can be a little treacherous, so winter tires for starters!

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What are some of your other plans and goals for 2020? 

Playing live, meeting new friends, seeing new places, releasing more music, creating more music. Also, I think Milan wants to buy a cat.

What do you recall about your first time performing in public?

Playing out of tune guitars in front of my whole school at age 13 and playing quite horribly, but also thinking, I want to do this for the rest of my life.

mutechoir.com

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Label: Sleepless Records

PR: Cristina Fernandes / Listen Harder

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