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.