I’ve been a fan of the music that both Matt Warnke and Andy Guida have been making for well over 25 years and The Mistaken is definitely no exception. Although it sounds nothing like either have done in the past, I can still clearly see their finger prints all over it.
Personally, when I hear The Mistaken, I hear dark, driving music that sounds like a mash up of late era Johnny Cash meets Joy Division, done by the guys that played on songs like “You’re The Friend I Don’t Need” and “Climbing Aboard”, in the not too distant past. Lyrically I find it all pretty fascinating, almost as if I’m taking a walk in their shoes and witnessing some deep, heavy, disturbing realities that most people choose to look away from and try to forget. The Mistaken clearly don’t forget though and they’re documenting every last bit of it.
Without further ado, check out what Matt and Andy have to say and and most importantly, check out The Mistaken. -Tim DCXX
First off, who makes up The Mistaken and when/how did this all come together?
Matt: The roots of this endeavor really go back about ten years. After I left Running Like Thieves, I felt like we were only just uncovering what we could do musically and thematically, I had a bunch of riffs and notebooks full of words and no outlet or vehicle for them. I booked studio time in 2003-2004 and started trying to do a whole project on my own, I was even going to play drums. I started tracking songs but after the third or fourth session, it died of inertia.
BOLD was active/re-united from 2005-2007 so my focus was on that musically, but once it went on hiatus, I found myself wanting to bring forth something new, which led me to reach out to Andy, who I really hadn’t spoken to since RLT dissolved. This would’ve been like 2009 or so, and we just basically started talking about a mutual impulse to start creating some new music. We both felt like we had lots of ideas and equally as important, Andy had built a space to facilitate the creation of our ideas (Six III Studios).
We started working in earnest Spring/Summer of 2010, but weren’t getting much traction. The first song that we felt was worth expanding on was “Starry Hope”, which we began exactly two years ago…February 2011. Once we hit upon the right formula, we really gained momentum, and started laying down songs – basically once we started one, we wouldn’t move on until it was finished.
Andy: The Mistaken is me and Matt. We have some people lined up for a live band, but the record is the two of us. As Matt said, he approached me in around 2009 about doing a band/project. Since I have the studio we decided to write and record a record ourselves and then see what happens. Matt had some old riffs/songs and I had some bits and one complete song I thought would be good for us. In my mind, I wanted it to be different from anything we’d done previously that people had heard. I pushed that idea pretty hard. Matt was interested in bringing back some songs from the last days of RLT. I wouldn’t do it. I wanted a challenge and something new. Different types of music/sounds/instrumentation. Certainly not reinventing the wheel but new for us as a team. We wrote a bunch of new songs as we tried to figure out what we sound like. A bunch of songs got thrown out and the ten on the record survived. Some were recorded over two or three times until they felt right to us. It was the pursuit of what felt honest.
MATT LAYS DOWN SOME GUITAR TRACKS WHILE ANDY DROPS IN SOME BACKING VOCALS
How would you describe the band both musically and in a general sense? The one word that comes to mind for me is “dark”.
Matt: The main current that ran through the underlying approach of The Mistaken musically, was to consciously create something different from our other bands. That was our starting point, however, having said that, it is still guitar-based music. Some of the music is riffs that I had from years ago, others were written over the last two years, so I feel there is a good blend of old and new.
As far as the depiction of it as “dark”; it is hard for me to label or describe something I have been so close to, so I will leave that to the listener; but just to give some background as to what informed the writing, it’s really just a worldview or a narrative or observations based upon experience. Throughout the years, I’ve always tried to keep consistent with writing. Whether it was what was going on in my life at the time or a specific experience, relationship, victory or defeat, I would seek to make sense of it/process it. So I had notebooks and notebooks to sift through to try to pull out lyrics that I felt evoked something…something.
There is definitely a great deal of existential seeking in the songs, which really, if you go back and look, began with BOLD. Songs like “Change Within”, “Search”, “Today We Live”, were similar, albeit early and youthful, attempts to reconcile the experiences out in the wilderness of the world, with what we are told are basic truths about life and how to live. Also, musically, BOLD in many ways was darker and heavier than some of our contemporaries.
There is also a bit of the influence of film in The Mistaken: Taxi Driver, I Stand Alone; along with writers/artists such as Samuel Beckett, Dostoyevsky, Burroughs, Joyce, Bukowski, Camus. Musically, it’s a long list, but to cite a few: DC Hardcore and SST bands, Joy Division, Waylon Jennings, Kyuss/QOTSA, The Smiths, My Morning Jacket, The Doors, Oasis, The Pogues, Happy Mondays, Willie Nelson. Other people have also drawn comparisons to The Gun Club, Nick Cave, and early 80’s New Wave.
I have given some explanation of how the album evolved, and really one other thing that I want to include is we wanted each song to be able to stand on its own, but also as part of a broader picture. In fact, Andy used that very analogy….we wanted the listener to feel like they were experiencing a story unfolding, each song putting you in a different time and space and evoking different moods, but part of a complete experience.
I think it’s honest. There was never a thought or discussion of, “What should we sound like?” In fact, the discussion was more like, “What should we not sound like?” Never a thought toward what would people want from us. In fact I wanted the opposite, what would people not expect from us, without being contrived. It had to feel like us. But again, not reinventing the wheel. Just mixing up influences while trying not to sound forced.
Andy: It’s a rock record and that leaves it pretty wide open for interpretation. People keep telling me ‘country goth.’ Dark is one I’ve heard quite a bit too. I’m cool with whatever people hear in it. There are dark lyrical elements for sure. You Can Have My Desk Tomorrow is a song I wrote about my friend Joe Graziano, who I was in Supertouch with. He killed himself a few years ago. The title is the last thing he said to a coworker the night he pulled the trigger. Maybe Matt’s deep singing voice also has something to do with it? And there are some pretty brutal lines in some of Matt’s songs as well.
THESE GUITARS WERE NOT HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS RECORD
Compared to your other bands (BOLD, Absolution, Altercation, etc.), how does The Mistaken fit into everything and what kind of goals/plans do you have for this band?
Andy: For me, the HC bands I’m in are bands that allow me to do fun stuff with great bandmates. But it’s not as much of a creative outlet for me. Although the A-tion suffix bands are challenging music to play drums for, and that’s the other part of why I do it. There is creativity in writing my drum parts, but it’s one instrument. In The Mistaken I’m writing, recording, mixing and producing. As well as playing most of the guitars, I played bass, piano, drums and sang a lot. There’s a lot of me in that music.
The Mistaken is the band I wish we could do full time. I have so much invested artistically, emotionally in this music. Also for me I’ll be out from behind the drums for The Mistaken. I’ll be on guitar and backup vocals. That is something I am looking forward to doing. There really aren’t plans beyond wanting to get the group on some stages and see how it goes live.
Matt: I always love doing shows with BOLD…those songs represent an incredible time in my life and as I mentioned, there is a similarity in some of the lyrical scope. Still, The Mistaken represents an opportunity for me to branch out a bit. We will be playing out with a fully realized line-up comprised of some old friends. We also have a back-log of songs written, so expect a follow-up soon.
You can have a listen here;
The Mistaken – Listen
You can buy it here;
The Mistaken – Buy