Mute Math

Mute Math was on a tour bus heading to Iowa when frontman Paul Meany talked to Pollstar about the band’s formation and how it evolved into an experimental rock band with a wide appeal.

Meany took stock after his previous band, Earthsuit, broke up just as it looked like things might take off. His collaborations with drummer Darren King, and the additions of guitarist Greg Hill and bassist Roy Mitchell-Cardenas, mixed with instruments such as a keytar started the ball rolling toward its unique sound.

“I was back in New Orleans writing some new stuff and trying to be creatively viable again,” Meany told Pollstar. “I was playing in a few different bands. I think we were just trying to figure out what we were going to do. I didn’t even have a name for Mute Math and was writing songs on the side.”

Meany said a conversation with a friend took the band to the next step.

“I was talking to a friend in Nashville and we decided to form our own label and get going as far as some of the songs I was writing. I heard a lot of potential in what was going on,” he explained. “We really hadn’t done anything as Mute Math so we recorded an EP.”

The release of Mute Math’s Reset EP on Teleprompt – its management company and label – in 2004 in addition to putting the word out on MySpace and Pure Volume increased its fan base, led to more shows and earned the band a tour slot with Mae in 2005.

“When we went out in the fall with Mae and Circa Survive, that was probably one of the big turning points for us,” Meany said. “We were in front of a new audience and it really felt like they embraced what we were doing.

“The people that have come to our shows have been amazing as far as spreading the word and taking what we’re doing and running with it.”

Mute Math’s manager, Kevin Kookogey, met Meany when the frontman called the entertainment lawyer for advice on an Earthsuit contract. The relationship branched out from there.

“We started talking and I became one of his clients. A couple of months later, he wound up hearing some of the music I was doing and we just connected,” Meany said. “He was always there and believed in what we were doing. I really don’t think this story would be close to what it is without him.”

Kookogey, a Berklee College of Music alumnus, said Earthsuit was the first band that piqued his interest in management.

“As a former musician, I was fairly picky in my musical tastes and Earthsuit was the first client whose music and live performance engaged my passions,” Kookogey told Pollstar. “I approached Earthsuit about managing them, which was admittedly awkward since I was the band’s attorney, but decided to lay it all on the line. After ‘dating’ for a few months, Earthsuit hired me.”

Mute Math

Kookogey continued to represent Meany after Earthsuit disbanded. His business relationship with producer/songwriter Tedd Tjornhom led to a meeting of the minds regarding Mute Math.

“Paul asked me to give his early Mute Math demos to Tedd for critique. Tedd loved them and wanted to sign Mute Math to his new record label, Teleprompt,” Kookogey said. “I then merged my management company with Tedd’s label and Tedd and I invited Paul to become a third partner in Teleprompt.”

Meany said agent Bryan Myers of Creative Artists Agency came on board during the Earthsuit days and has remained a part of the team.

“Bryan was one of the new agents at CAA and looking for some up-and-coming talent to sign,” Meany said. “We hit it off in the early days. It was one of those relationships that has been there through thick and thin.”

One setback in Mute Math’s road to success happened as the band’s popularity was growing. Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and the New Orleans natives were forced to consider their options in its wake.

“Since the Katrina thing, we decided to relocate,” Meany said. “Our guitarist still lives in New Orleans. Our drummer still doesn’t have a home. We’re just playing it by ear.

“We’ve spent most of our time on the road so we’ve brought most of our possessions up to Nashville. It’s been a little easier for us with all the traveling.”

Mute Math has been on the road since spring in support of its self-titled, full-length Teleprompt release and is currently on the Warped Tour. From there, Mute Math will first perform at Lollapalooza and England’s V Fest, then hit venues around the States through mid- August.

The band will headline a 40-city club tour starting mid-September. A European trek next year is also in the works.

Meany summed up the band’s wide appeal and ongoing success this way:

“We’re just trying to get in front of people, anyone. It’s been our philosophy to not place too many limitations on ourselves,” he explained. “We weren’t sure what was going to happen but it just clicked. That right there makes the experience that much greater.”