(Editor’s note: This interview originally appeared in Issue 36 of Ghettoblaster Magazine. Issue 37 is on stands now!)
Consistency and continuity have never been the strong suit for Dayton, Ohio’s Mouth of the Architect. Winds of change have blown lineup changes into the quintet’s path. One-time guitarist Greg Lahm left to form Struck By Lightning and Fever Nest, Alex Vernon departed following intermittent membership, and a cast of rotating bass players (including members of Botch, Intronaut, These Arms Are Snakes, and Russian Circles) have counted themselves among MOTA’s ranks, with one such bassist stepping up in recent years as guitarist and vocalist (Kevin Schindel, formerly of Twelve Tribes and also of Neon Warship).
One constant has remained: the group’s devotion to keeping the ship afloat and following in the noisy wake of forefathers like Neurosis and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. While this singular constant is the modus operandi, ironically “evolution” exists ever present there; growth and experimentation are the life’s blood of the band’s existence, and these transformative mediums become more and more apparent in every record.
“We started writing Dawning in 2011,” Schindel explained. “Steve Brooks was living in Detroit, so he’d come down and we would jam for quite a few days at a time. Sometimes we would be working on a couple songs at a time. We’d go home, work on our individual parts, and then bring our new ideas to the table. But Steve was the brain behind most of the songs. We would write the riffs together and he would come up with the arrangements.
“Although there isn’t a concept behind the record per se, we did try to tie the songs together,” Schindel added. “We definitely wanted that feeling when you listen to it, one continuous listening experience. When I hear the album I find the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic nightmare. It’s extremely violent, angry, and depressing, while hinting that there is still some kind of hope.”
This glimmer of optimism may not necessarily be par for course for the rest of the band, but for Schindel it makes perfect sense. During sessions for Dawning, Schindel experienced a monumental personal change, becoming a first time father. Devotion to parenting daughter Harper during her earliest years sidelined his plans to join the band during extensive U.S. and European touring in support of Dawning.
“Steve Brooks produced the album at his studio in Detroit. But, because I was unable to travel, John Lakes recorded my guitar parts here in Dayton. He’s a long-time friend of ours and he handled the recording duties for The Violence Beneath and played bass on our Peter Gabriel cover (“In Your Eyes”). He’d also toured with us before on the Zoroaster tour, so it was a no-brainer to ask him to fill in for me.”
While Schindel seems content to sit this one out, he caught the band’s Cleveland set, describing watching the band play material they’d written without him as “an out-of-body experience”. He’s also been receiving regular updates from the road.
“They finished up a tour with Intronaut and went straight Europe for a headlining tour. They did get to do some festivals, including the Metal Days Fest with Pentagram,” he said with a twinge of jealousy. “They got to meet Bobby Liebling!
“They also played shows in Russia, including Moscow, and St. Petersburg; places the band had never been before. It’s all been extremely exciting for everyone.”