An Interview with Mutual

My name is Cameron. My project for the last three or four years has been called “Mutual.” I write and sing all the songs. I play guitar as well and we just put out a new album a little bit ago called “Center.” 

You released your latest LP “Center” in late February. What can you tell us about it?

“Center,” I started writing when I came back from Reno – I went to school in Reno – and it took me about two years to complete it, which is a really long time, it feels like a long time to be working on one specific album. 

We started recording it in May of 2019. We recorded at a place called Company in LA. It’s where Surf Curse recorded their newest album. It’s a really cool studio. It was really cool to go out there. 

We had about half of it down and then everything shut down in 2020. I was supposed to go out to LA on my birthday,March 22nd, to record it [but] that was the week when each day kinda got worse. I remember at the beginning we were like, “Oh, yeah we still plan on coming out and finishing it” and then each day I was like, “That’s not happening. We’re not going to be able to make it out there.”

[The album is] eight songs. It’s just under 30 minutes. Some of it we recorded on tape like the first EP that Mutual released. I started a cassette label called Clam Tapes. It’s the first release on it. That’s been something I’ve kind of wanted to do pretty much since I started playing music – put together some sort of record label even though it’s really small and I just do everything in my living room. It’s really exciting to be able to start that and start it with Mutual.

Do you feel like you’ve evolved creatively and/or personally since the release of your EP “Mutual”? 

I don’t know, it’s kinda weird. I don’t know if I feel like I’ve evolved at all. I’ve learned a lot. Music- it’s the one thing I really care about. It’s hard to be patient with certain things. I’ve learned to be patient with myself and the process of getting a release out. To be adaptive and [to] remember [that] there’s no blueprint for doing any of this. You just have to get things done and do things the way you want to do them – try not to compare yourself to others. If you do it the way you want to do it, you’ll be happy with it. 

On BandCamp, under the about section, Mutual is listed as “Cameron + friends.” Who/what makes up the “friends” in Mutual? 

Right now we have my best friend Ben. We’ve been playing music together for about ten years. We went to LVA together. He plays guitar. He used to play bass but now my friend Cage who I’ve also known for about ten years [plays bass]. He learned to play bass for this band which is really cool. Our drummer is a friend that went to our high school but we didn’t start hanging out until after high school. His name is Andrew.  

So it’s me, Ben, Cage, and Andrew.

I noticed you released Center and Mutual both as tapes. Do you feel like there’s more authenticity when it comes to releasing albums in a cassette tape format? Do you feel like it helps translate the emotion you are trying to create with your music? 

The honest main reason I like to do tapes is because they’re very easy to do – I can do it at home. It just gives me a little more freedom to work at a pace that works for me. 

I’ve always liked cassette tapes because at shows they usually sell them for 5/10 dollars and it’s not a huge investment for whoever wants to buy it and even if they don’t have a tape player it’s a cool little thing you can use as a paperweight. I don’t care *laughs*. It just felt like the right thing to do to have a physical release at least. As far as practicality, I think that tapes are just one of those things that if somebody at a show wants to support you in some way they’ll be like, “okay I’ll buy a tape.”

Is there a song on the album that is most personal to you? 

I would say that the last song “Thinking” is the most personal to me. I think on that song, it’s the most confident we’ve sounded. Vocally, it’s the most confident I sound on the whole album. That’s why I put it last. 

I’ve always had a thing for the last song on an album ever since I started listening to music as an album format. I always think the last song is the last one you’re going to hear and probably the one you want the listener to remember the most. That’s kinda why I put that one last.  I feel like it’s confident and I’m really happy with the way it came out.

As far as the lyrics go, I think that the lyrics reflect the general tone of the album really well and I think that even though they’re kind of ambiguous and not really clear it kind of [summaries] the rest of the album really well. It’s just about figuring yourself out – that’s pretty much what the song and the rest of the album is about – coming to terms with certain things about yourself… “This is who I am. I can work on it, but this is who I am.”

Who are your musical influences? 

Influences are kinda weird to me because when I hear a band I like I try not to go like, “Oh I want to sound like that” because they already sound like that. *laughs* They already did it.

One of the bands that I think influenced a lot of the writing on this album even though we don’t necessarily sound like them is a band called Duster. We got to play a show with them at Beauty Bar when I started working there and that band is pretty much why I started Mutual. 

Duster is probably one of the primary influences but I listen to everything – from hip hop to R&B to death metal to pop music – and all those things inspire me in certain ways because you hear a good hook or a good melody and that’s something that transcends genre and I’ll think, “How can I work this into what I’m doing?” 

As far as some other bands that influence me, there is a band from Seattle called Big Bite that we got to play with. They’re really neat. I like the way they sound. The person that mastered their album is the guy that mastered Center. *laughs* A band like that influences what I write as much as, say, Gucci Mane. *laughs* I’ll hear something I really like and think how can I emulate that into what I do.

Are there any bands/artists we should check out?

[Pause]

Duster. *laughs* There’s a band called Ringo Death Starr I really like. There’s a band called Melody’s Echo Chamber. I’m a big fan of that band. 

What’s next for Mutual?

I’m trying to put together an EP. I record from home now which is really cool because I can do it at my own pace. Whenever shows come back I’d like to play some shows here. Mutual has really only played in Reno and here in Vegas so I would like to do some touring. That’s pretty much it for Mutual right now. 

I recently got this DJ pad so I’m working on making some electronic music which has been really fun. *laughs* Not all of it is really good yet. I’m still learning. I don’t remember who said this to me but someone said, “If you’re not learning you’re burning.” So I’m always trying to advance my skills. Even if it sucks for a while, you’re never going to get good at something unless you practice and really just keep doing it over and over.

Follow Mutual on Instagram

Edited by Gaby and Eunice

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