“Still the noise in the mind, that is the first task,”
wrote musicologist R. Murray Schafer in his defining book The Soundscape. “Then everything else will follow in time.”
Nova Scotia four-piece Mauno sound like they’re striving for similar clarity on their adventurous new album Tuning — a record named after the book’s subtitle, and similarly brimming with grand ideas.
“The Soundscape changed my life,” says singer/guitarist Nick Everett.
“It completely changed the way I move through the world.” The book is full of theories about the emotional attachments we form with our sonic environments. Tuning is therefore threaded with field recordings captured everywhere from Mauno's home in Halifax to Berlin and Heidelberg.
“We wanted to include little pieces of the places we’ve lived,” says Everett.
There’s a raw, guttural, emotional punch to Tuning too — tales of botched romance and misdirected dreams play out above its bed of crunchy guitars and crashing cymbals. “It’s a collection of reflections on the feeling of finally leaving, on the complexity of relationships, on what the end of something means,”.
Tuning is a different beast. “It’s a lot more pop-oriented and concise,” says Everett. “Much more carefully crafted and a lot more cohesive. It’s more mature, I think – but I’ve listened to it about ten thousand fucking times so I don’t know anything about it anymore,”.
“Still the noise in the mind, that is the first task." A smart, calming dose of indie existentialism, Tuning may help still the noise in yours. (Mauno).
Here, we are glad to introduce you with Nick Everett responding to our questions and to talk about their thoughts, life and their brand new album Tuning:
Bizzarre: What would you do to make this world a better place to live?
Nick Everett: That’s a loaded question. I think that there has to first and foremost be a massive redistribution of wealth and the ideological abolition of neoliberalism. The broadening gap in wealth is reinforcing the power of a world in which the most vulnerable people have absolutely no control over their own lives, have no choice but to live as wage slaves. I hink that the money has to be taken back from the wealthy either through taxation or by force.
B: The last time you felt amazed and why?
NE: I think it was the other day at a show - there was a guy who walked into our conversational circle and started holding forth about himself and his accomplishments and his life. No one was interested and he just kept going and going as if he were the most important thing on the planet. I think that certain patriarchal men are made up of a truly amazing and fascinating blend of ego, solipsism, and over-compensation for their fear of being found out.
B: If you had to write a song about today, How you will call it?
NE: Today’s too big a subject - poetry to me is a much smaller or maybe focussed subject-event than a whole day. If I were to write something about right now I’d call it “Somehow One and I’m Just Waking Up Again” which is self-explanatory, or, “Rewrite” about the post-breakup work I’m doing for myself right now, or, “Ash-Butter” about the light around the house we’re staying in in Coventry. Lots going on all the time in every moment.
B: There is a big great musical boom in Canada, How is the music scene in Halifax?
NE: Halifax has always had an incredible music scene. It’s the biggest town on the east coast so it attracts musicians who want to stay in the Maritimes and play to more people than their closest friends and family. I think we were lucky to jump in and be a small part of it in some way while we could.
B: You are touring right now in Europe and The UK, how is it to be back again? What do you like the most?
NE: I like the feeling that comes along with a place that doesn’t feel like it was quickly erected to stake a claim on land in the way that Canada feels. The physical development of Canada can often feel as paper thin and tenuous as a quickly thrown-up tent. The cities in Canada and the landscapes there are always changing because of industry, and really rapidly. I think that over here in the UK and in Europe, I often get the sense that the things I’m looking at could actually exist longer than my lifetime, barring certain unavoidable shifts in climate change or complete nuclear annihilation.
B: Tell us about the book The Soundscape, and how the amazing words of R. Murray Schafer inspired you to create Tuning…
NE: I oscillate between reading some theory that’s way over my head and understanding a fraction of and reading fiction and understanding a fraction of it. When reading ideas for ideas sake, often as thoughts start to form in my sponge-toffee brain, they’ll just form into music. Some idea will bounce off another and then another and usually the full realization of something is a musical understanding, no matter the subject. I got the book from my friend Ely who has always been a kind of mentor to me. He has been a pivotal figure in my life for the better part of ten years and is there for me when I need a pal or need a new idea, despite my flakiness and volatility.
Tuning for us opened a new way of listening and (perhaps non-)categorization that we hadn’t experienced before and put a huge amount of importance on the incorporation of context into the music. It’s why when we first finished the
record and it sounded too much like a studio album, we knew that it was because it has been divorced from the sonic context in which it was dreamt up and created -- Halifax, mostly.
B: As in your first album Rough Master, in Tuning we can noticed a versatile line that musically and lyrically defined your music, how can you make such a big and different palette of songs without leaving your sound?
NE: I think that you have to define your creative constraints at the beginning of the project. Our main constraint, and I think what defines the sound, is how we arrange all of the tracks. We lay down what we have in terms of the basic
track, and then the arrangement process is simply to empty your brain and do the difficult work of actually listening to what is there and seeing if it has any needs. It’s kind of like that thoughtless intuition you can have in a relationship
when you know your partner needs something, and without asking whether they do or not, you fit the need through action - it’s a process of bumbling through and trying to love the music.
B: What is the next challenge for Mauno after your awaited release?
NE: The next challenge is the same as the previous challenges -- keeping ourselves healthy and happy and creatively fulfilled while ripping around endlessly from place to place, living our lives in no context but a slightly changing bar from night to night. You have to fight for your sanity and fight for your health and fight for your space to breathe and think all the time.
B: Describe Tuning with 3 things that marked you through the creation and recording of the album.
NE: I’m just going to say one because it’s going to be verbose. I have been marked most deeply by our collaboration with Alex Sheppard. We worked together on Rough Master as well, but this time it was another beast altogether. We actually recorded and mixed the album twice, did the whole process over when we realized the first try had no life in it, something that was entirely my fault for the record. Shep’s golden ears, ingenuity, diplomacy, and incredibly hard work really made it so that we were able to make this thing at all. Sure we have ideas and we can arrange songs alright, but there’s no way in hell this album would exist without him.
Mauno - Helah
1. Or Just
4. Other Bad
6. How Long
11. Shy Shep
Released October 13, 2017