Mutrone: One Band's Take on Creation

After he let there be light, God created Heaven and Earth. Question: what would have been the soundtrack to that moment? Not Pink Floyd, not The Beatles. Not even Led Zeppelin…

 Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)
Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)

How would the rocks have sounded? Which wind played the chords of the first tree? What golden rays of sun would have stained the wings of the first sea gulls? What sounds came from the throats of those birds that spread their wings over the first waters?

All questions that might have floated around in the imagination of four adolescent students in a Catholic private school in San Fernando circa 1990. Or perhaps not. But one thing's for sure: the future members of Mutrone, Lucio, Christian, Camilo and Leslie, classmates who sat together before Mary´s image in Religion class, didn’t know that many years later, in Santiago, they would form a band. A band capable of creating music as if they were designing space: A space to inhabit, a space in which to meditate and rejuvenate oneself.

 Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)
Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)

Once they had finished college, the time had come. Lucio Sanchez, now a designer, and Christian López, a journalist, glass in hand, looked each other in the eye and said, "Man, if we both like music and we've been friends for this long, why have we never had a band?"

Samplers and guitar was the first combination they tried out, then guitar and drums. They decided they needed to add a bass line next. Meanwhile, after completing his studies in graphic design, Leslie McKenzie, also a comic creator, got a job in Santiago just in time to fill this hole.

Two years later, Camilo Palma, now an architect, volunteered himself to form the final link in the band saying he wanted to play keyboard and effects. At first the other three thought something like, "But we've only heard him play once, a long time ago, at a high school party." But then they came around to, "Yeah, but he's our friend." And so Mutrone began.

 Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)
Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)

In the sound department, Mutrone has been compared repeatedly to the Kraut Rock movement, also referred to as Kosmische Musik. But let's set the topic of their sound aside for a moment, without losing sight of it completely, and take a look at this comparison from a different point of view.

Kraut Rock was seen as a representation of West Germany´s counterculture in the 1960s. In 2012, Mutrone is also doing something countercultural, not just in the way they experiment with sound, but also in their ideology as a band, a structure where diversity is the keystone.

How do you integrate music into your life? Well, these days in Santiago de Chile many bands can be seen putting all their energy and talent into this endeavor. A common interpretation of this question is that musicians must find a way to live off their music. In order to achieve this goal, they often go down unpleasant paths: Lots of small shows, or tocatas, inconsistent crowds, crappy sound and little to no money.

 Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)
Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)

All the energy and talent they started with goes to waste when anxiety creates the illusion of this short-term goal as the only option, and not many bands make it through. Most of those that do live to tell the tale have found success in Mexico, a country with a larger music industry.

Is it a matter of number$? "To be economically dependent on our music would mean applying numbers to something that has flowed better without them," responds Christian López, Mutrone's guitar player.

In this spirit, Mutrone has decided to play publically only once a year. Thus their energy and talent can be directed solely toward the alchemy of their music. So when they feel like they have achieved something new, they start looking for the right place for their sound to be heard, light the fire and, since they know their approach doesn´t exactly lend itself to a steady fan base, start sending out smoke signals for whoever might want to listen this time around.

Separate interviews with each of the band mates left one thing clear. The most important part of making music for them is the process of composition, the intimacy of the studio where, through improvisation, sounds come into existence for them to polish like the Greeks made the marble of their cities shine.

 Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)
Mutrone at "The Lost Sessions" (Photo by Gonzalo Morales Leiva)

For the members of Mutrone, the way to sustain this project has been to draw on the diversity of their interests. We have said it from the beginning: Graphic design, architecture, journalism... We could go on naming the hobbies and skills that these four old friends have developed both professionally and on their own. But the most important thing is balance. The balance in their lives that, rather than instilling in them the dream of becoming a rockstar, has allowed them to grow in all the areas where their attention has been enraptured.

This year the chosen venue was the Sala Master at the Universidad de Chile´s radio station. Mutrone performed as part of the musical series, The Lost Sessions,which looks for bands with a similar style, bands that are aware of the sacred side of music.

We invite you to listen to Mutrone and download their music from their website, but most importantly, watch out for the smoke signals in the year to come so you can be present at the next electric ritual that is Mutrone.

Translated by Miranda Stolfo

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