Puzzle Muteson Was Once a Horse: An Interview

Even though this website is young, I’ve had the pleasure to listen to more amazing music than I ever knew was being made. But I will always remember the first time I heard Puzzle Muteson’s album, En Garde. The first song on the LP, “I Was Once a Horse” is a fantastic, quivering ballad that will touch the world-weariest among us all. There is a sincere vulnerability that permeates this record and makes it a rare find. Out on June 6 via Bedroom Community (one of my favorite) labels, meet En Garde, the debut by the Isle-of-Wight-based Puzzle Muteson. (The album can be preordered now at Puzzle Muteson’s website here,which also comes with a full album download.)

ELM: What sort of musical training have you had, if any?

PM: I’ve had little to none musical training. I tried a music college a while back but found it hard to digest anything. The building had uncomfortably low ceilings and I was caught up in my own ideas. I self taught myself guitar and [am] still exploring.

ELM: What first made you want to be a musician?

PM: It kind of came naturally as I’ve never really thought about it. Maybe just being brought up around a lot of music?

ELM: How did you get involved with Bedroom Community?

PM: On a miserable evening in Paris a Mr Nico Mühly received a friend request on MySpace from Puzzle Muteson. Earlier that evening, Nico had been talking to a friend about a basset hound that had been named Puzzle also. At the time, Puzzle Muteson’s MySpace background picture was a part of the Eiffel Tower in a puddle; this connection led him to have a good listen to the MySpace tracks. A bunch of the demos were sent out after to Nico and co[mpany], and a plan was formed from there.

ELM: You worked with Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly on the record. How did they change it from what it would have been on your own?

PM: They both brought a whole new/different lease of life to the tracks. They were completely nude before. Nico dressed them with swelling string arrangements, tender piano parts, orchestral touches whilst Valgeir added a heap of space, subtle percussive moments and electronic undertones to some of the tracks, all complementary to the original feel.

ELM: How comfortable are you with the idea of fame? Why or why not?

PM: Fame? Doesn’t that mean you can keep pet crocodiles and monkeys and get things for free? It seems a little creepy.

ELM: Who are your favorite writers?

PM: In a musical sense? Leonard Cohen, some of Billy Corgan’s more acoustic stuff, and recently Robert Wyatt, I know its a cover but.. “At last I am free” swallowed me.

ELM: Would you say that there is a central message or emotion on En Garde?

PM: It would appear to evoke a similar emotion through out. I guess it’s like knowing a bruise will heal with time but a rotten apple at best will only make a bad punch.

ELM: I am in love with “I Was Once a Horse.” Can you tell me more about that?

PM: I’m going to keep the ambiguity when talking about the songs; there’s obvious personal attachments but subconsciously the pictorial elements leave it open for the listen[er] to take their own direction. It makes it all more magical if you can make your own journey and not specifically take mine.

Puzzle Muteson’s homepage

One Response to “Puzzle Muteson Was Once a Horse: An Interview”

  1. i was once a horse is indeed a very beautiful song.

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