Local band Mute Swan prepares to expand its reach beyond Tucson with its new EP, Ultraviolet, and a west coast tour that begins on Sept. 30.
Five songs make up Mute Swan’s second release. Its first release Feel How It Sees came out in 2015. Since then, the band has had time to learn how to work together as a unit, and now Mute Swan has shifted its focus to developing their sound. The band’s efforts have paid off so far—The Fader premiered the band’s lead single, “Never Born.”
Mike Barnett, Prabjit Virdee, Thomas Sloane and Roger Reed make up Mute Swan. Reed plays drums, Sloane is a guitarist, Barnett handles guitar and lead vocals and Virdee covers bass guitar and vocals.
Virdee and Sloane said they met while attending the UA.
Virdee hadn’t played in any bands before meeting Sloane, and he said it took going out and finding other musicians for him to start playing in one.
Mute Swan described its sound as “guitar-heavy dream pop.” Barnett said the band strived for a specific sound on Ultraviolet based on the bands they listened to in 2015, which included Beach House, Wand, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and Stereolab.
This inspiration definitely seeps into Mute Swan’s sound.
The band selected its geometric album art from local artist Paul Jablonka’s work. Jablonka created the patterns by hand in the 1970s, but the lines are so crisp, they look like they could have easily been created with a computer today.
Mute Swan’s live show is tight, polished and appropriately drenched in fuzz and reverb, similar to performances from Tame Impala and DIIV.
Virdee has an oscilloscope—a device used to check electrical signals—that he brings out at shows. It tracks the input and output of electrical signals, displaying it as a wave of light. If the input and output are the same, a perfect sine wave lights up.
The Arizona Daily Star recorded a live session of “Never Born” that shows off the use of the oscilloscope, which Virdee said he hopes to someday showcase on a larger scale.
He also hopes to bring in other effects to their live show, but for now, the band sticks to fog machines—allowing them to set the mood while evoking an element of mystery in their performances.
Mute Swan will get ready for their west coast tour with a couple local shows. The band will open for Giant Sand at Hotel Congress’ annual Hoco Fest on Sept. 2, as well as play an album release show/tour kickoff at Congress on Sept. 30.
Mute Swan’s west coast tour will include dates in California, Oregon and Washington.
Mute Swan will release Ultraviolet on cassette and digital download. They plan on printing and disseminating the album’s download code on rolling papers.
Download codes will come with purchases of shirts, tote bags and other merchandise on Mute Swan’s Bandcamp page.
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