Hot on the heels of the June 7th release of their debut record, Ache (read our full album review here), English group MTXS are taking no prisoners. The hardcore band has come flying out of the gates, releasing a debut album after countless tours with established acts and all after forming only a year-and-a-half ago. Some groups work slowly; MTXS know not such a thing.
Ache (merch and other purchase options can be found here) comes at you with tons of credibility to back it up too. These ten tracks of pummelling, low-tuned dissonant hardcore were produced by MTXS friend and supporter Erik Bickerstaffe of the very well-known act Loathe. Ache has a ferocity rarely heard and, along with the band’s recent UK headlining tour, has created a real buzz among those who like hardcore and heavy music in general.
Along the way, over these last crazy 18 months, MTXS has played in support of Oceans Ate Alaska, Counterparts, Lotus Eater, Loathe and God Complex, among others. We recently spoke with MTXS singer and frontman Paul Collins to learn some more about the band, their new album Ache, and how this momentum has all come to be in such a short period of time.
Oh, you want to hear the heavy? How about you feel it instead? This is the “HGV” music video.
MTXS play a pretty pummelling form of hardcore. What are some of the bands you looked up to growing up that have contributed to the sound of the band?
Paul Collins: We generally looked up to the bands with the most energy live, the ones that made every show as exciting and as powerful as possible, because there was nothing better than watching a band you love play great music even harder live. Bands such as Slipknot for their crazy adrenaline and aggression. Counterparts, Dead Swans and Have Heart for the emotion behind the lyrical content.
Musically, we were definitely inspired by the nu-metal golden era such as the old Korn, Linkin Park and Marilyn Manson stuff, but also liked to fuse that with the old school punk/hardcore attitude of Cro-mags, Bad Brains and H2O.
Now, you’ve only been a proper band for about 18 months, so tell us a little bit about how MTXS formed. How did this all come to be?
Collins: MTXS formed for a number of reasons. All of us being close friends, to begin with, and being in other musical projects that didn’t quite work out. MTXS stands for “Metaxis” which is a state of in between, neither here nor there, neither dead or alive, which is how we all felt when these projects didn’t come to fruition. So we banded together to write some music that we all enjoyed listening to and playing live, we are so happy it’s come this far and have the opportunity to showcase our music to more people than we could’ve expected.
You recently headlined your own tour through the UK, which is a lot to say for a band that’s been together for such a short amount of time. Did you find it at all intimidating at first to already be THE main band that people were coming to see?
Collins: Touring the UK as a headline band was insane. We had no idea we would be doing this in the months that we’ve been together. The support and foundation from those who believe in our music is incredible. It was a little intimidating at first, but the love that people showed towards our music and us as people made us feel incredibly comfortable and we couldn’t be more humbled.
The album was self-released on June 7th, 2019. Here’s the cover artwork:
Not only are you headlining your own tours, but you just released your full-length debut record, Ache, on June 7th. How would you describe the record to curious listeners? What can we expect from this album?
Collins: Ache is a representation of how we felt during the writing and recording of this album, it was a very hard process for us all emotionally, monetarily and physically, but it is also about learning to overcome this ache and really learn to take time to confide in others and find solace through this. We want people to hear and understand it’s okay to not be okay.
Now Ache includes ten tracks, but how many did you start off with? Was there other material that just didn’t fit that you set aside?
Collins: We are always writing material, here there and everywhere. So when it came to writing the tracks that you will hear on Ache it was a matter of finding the best parts of each track, putting them together and creating the mood behind the message of each song. There were hundreds of intros to songs, half songs, and riffs that were never finished due to harsh self-critiquing. Maybe some of it will shine through in the future, or maybe it’ll be lost on a hard-drive somewhere.
Ache is a well-produced record, thanks to the efforts of producer Erik Bickerstaffe, who’s better known as the guitarist for English metal band Loathe. How did you first forge a relationship with Erik and end up working with him?
Collins: Erik Bickerstaffe is an incredible producer and wicked friend to work with. Me, Aidan and Rudi had played with Loathe in a former band and crossed paths with Erik before MTXS was even an idea. At this show, we traded EPs, a few years after we noticed that theirs was self-produced. When we started thinking of getting an external producer for Ache we thought we would contact Erik and get his opinion on our newer material. At this time we only knew of each other for our bands so it was a little out there to ask, but he seemed to dig it. From that moment on we conversed and created ideas together that would go into what you’re going to hear in Ache. Through this experience, we have become great friends.
Get ready to be brutalized by the sights and sounds of MTXS’ music video for “Mould.”
What would you say was the #1 asset or contribution that Erik brought to the table in the recording of Ache?
Collins: Erik really helped us with the final touches and tweaking of the songs. He is really good at taking ideas such as riffs, drum beats, and lyrical content and evolving them to fit around the music perfectly. Also incorporating ambiance to the tracks to capture the message and atmosphere needed.
So you’ve certainly got a lot on the go right now, including the new album Ache and touring as much as possible. What can we expect from MTXS this summer and into the fall?
Collins: We have more tours and shows booked up for the remainder of the year! We will be hitting the road with Bleach this September, we’ll also be playing a few festivals like Castlefest in Luton, UK and headlining Summitfest in London. There are a few big things in the pipelines for us this summer but nothing we can disclose as of yet, keep your eyes on our social media pages and all will be revealed soon!