MuteMath Bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas – A Brief Interview
Article by Eric Larson, © Copyright 2016 FretlessBass.com
If you have never heard MuteMath I suggest that you check them out. I was first told about this Grammy nominated band from New Orleans by a friend of mine. I had never heard of them. I listened to “Chaos” and “Break the Same” from their MuteMath album and immediately purchased it.
This band is phenomenal, but being a drummer and bass player, the rhythm section caught my attention immediately. Darren King is an unbelievable drummer with amazing energy and creativity, and a real showman. But I was really impressed with bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas. He is the whole package– variety, melody, technique, rhythm, and a unique sound that fits this group perfectly. Listening to the MuteMath album I was amazed at the variety of bass sounds from song to song, and I picked up on a lot of fretless bass technique, but was honestly baffled at how he put it all together. I contacted him and asked about his gear and his approach to bass guitar. I specifically was asking him if it was in fact fretless bass that I was hearing and how it was recorded.
“It’s a bit deceiving but you’ll understand why. I actually didn’t play electric fretless bass on any of the record. I only played my 1950’s Kay upright, which had some quarter pound pick-ups on it, which is why it resembles the electric fretless (by the way, this was before the Nashville flood in which my upright bass was in storage and got destroyed; thankfully, it has since been restored but I lost those pickups). I’d run it through an old Fender Bassman amp and mic the bass acoustically, too.
I definitely use lots of effects on all albums, from delay on bass (Break the Same, Noticed) to micro synth pedal (Backfire) and lots of others. I’ve used Fender basses on almost entirely all the MuteMath albums, except on Odd Soul, I used an old Peavey T-40 and a Gretsch White Falcon.
I started playing electric fretless in order not to have to travel with my upright. Our first live DVD: FLESH AND BONES, ELECTRIC FUN, features my Fender fretless. The audio is available on iTunes.”
Check this band out, buy their albums, and go see them live if you can, it’s an amazing experience!