Now Serving Bangers 'n' Thrash
CoC interviews Tom Luchtenstein of Mutant
by: Colleen Burton
Evile came through Edinburgh whilst touring in April of this year, but attendees of their gig were pleasantly surprised to have their faces melted like candle wax before the English thrashers even took the stage. The culprits were Londoners who haven't even released a full-length yet, but I was eager to probe the talented group for a bit more information about their propel-you-into-orbit style of slightly technical thrash. Tom Luchtenstein on guitars and vocals is decidedly cheerful about the UK thrash scene and the future of his offbeat band.

CoC: With a slowly accumulating fan base, spots on really solid gigs and glowing reviews of the _Laserdrome_ EP, why in hell are you still unsigned?

Tom Luchtenstein: At the moment, we are happy where we are; we still have our souls intact and I have just over £5 in my bank! But if any record company offers us a deal that gives us control over our sound and image, firm belief in our music and of course, gold plated hookers, we will sign!

CoC: A love of the '80s and a love of thrash go hand-in-hand, but can you elaborate further on the inspiration for _Laserdrome_? Those who release songs entitled "Turbo Hyper Ultra Mega Power" are obviously working under a strong element of humour.

TL: Well, I can tell you now, the music is 100% serious in this band. I take my writing hyper-seriously and the lyrics are also very studied and well thought out -- we just make sure we have our own take on things. Honestly, "Turbo Hyper Ultra Mega Power" isn't really supposed to be a funny title! It's supposed to be a Mutant title. On stage, there is a slight tongue-in-cheek attitude because without that, you end up coming across in a very Spinal Tap way. Maybe that's a good thing though? The _Laserdrome_ EP is an example of what we're currently about: cyber-punk films, Judas Priest sped up with Trey Azagthoth playing the Mega Drive and some Chuck Schuldiner thrown in, too.

CoC: Tell us about your induction into the metal scene. Were you thrashers from the very beginning or did you transition into this before releasing the _Wreck Your Neck_ EP?

TL: We started this band for one reason and one reason only: to play fast, exciting and heavy music. That decision came years before the whole thrash resurgence. We played this music before it became popular and we will play it when it has stopped being fashionable. It is not a trend for us. Personally speaking, I have earned my metal stripes, I have accumulated a vast source of heavy metal knowledge over the years and have dug deep to find obscure bands and further expand my archive of information about heavy metal music. I'm like a heavy metal mainframe of useless fact and trivia.

CoC: It's hard to discuss thrash without noting the American or German presence. I'm an American girl, myself, finding it hard to top the likes of Overkill and Exodus. Which of these acts really spoke to you as kids who were getting started in the scene? I think I can detect a hint of Destruction in your voice and song arrangements.

TL: Well, the main influences when we started were bands like Exodus, Metallica and all the obvious groups that every young metalhead discovers. With time came an infatuation with bands like Destruction, Coroner and lesser known European bands. Our influences currently come from everywhere on the musical map, from ARPANET and old video game music through to black and death metal.

CoC: Obviously some top-notch gigs pass through London and you seem to be well-connected to the UK thrash scene. Which UK thrashers do you borrow from the most for your material -- and work most closely with?

TL: I personally have grown up playing gigs with our old friends in Deceptor, a band which I feel has some of the most intelligent and well-written music and lyrics out there. Sabbat are the only older UK thrash band which I can fully identify with. They sung with an English accent and their music had a unique feel to it, something I always try and live up to.

CoC: In spite of this old-school saturation, your EP is punctuated with fairly technical shredding, for example during some of the leads for "The Rauncher", so I'd like to hear more about your foray into tech thrash.

TL: Well, as I said earlier, Mutant is serious about the music, we always try and challenge ourselves technically and write music that will push us. Sometimes that style can be harder to appreciate as a listener, but I find that the best music takes some time to fully comprehend.

CoC: As it was self-produced, can you describe the mixing and funding process? The quality of production is quite good, so I'm interested to hear the tricks of the trade.

TL: It was actually produced by Scott Atkins, the man behind Gama Bomb and Sylosis. He did a great job and the only tricks behind the recording are some satanic rituals and plenty of packets of Lemsip.

CoC: Care to explain _The Toxic Tapes_ for readers?

TL: Well, the UK thrash scene has some really great and active scene members, Jamie Elton from Resilience Records put together a great compilation that helped get some bands out there and _The Toxic Tapes_ was put together by another member of the UK Thrash forum. I'd recommend checking the web site out (if you have a strong stomach) as it's a great way to keep up to date with the current scene.

CoC: If you could organize a festival -- say, a large thrash gig -- of everything from name acts to smaller bands that you're friends with, who would you play with?

TL: Hmmm, I'd probably have quite a mix, many of these bands would also be brought from the past, using a time machine into the present, in order to catch them at their best! My ideal line up would be: Black Sabbath (alternating with Dio and Ozzy), Agent Steel, Kraftwerk, Death, Morbid Angel, Space, Mercyful Fate, Evile, Deceptor... too many to mention, really!

CoC: I noticed you guys smiling a lot and generally having a good time at the gig in Edinburgh. Was that a particularly energetic night for you? How much live experience does Mutant have?

TL: Well, we try to play as often as possible, playing live is really the main aspect of this band. It's just the most fun thing in the world for us, getting up on stage and tearing people's faces off -- who couldn't smile at that?!

CoC: Tom, you once blogged about putting extreme music at the forefront and actively stopping more commercial forms of music. Could you elaborate on this viewpoint and what you expect to see from listeners to more extreme music?

TL: Well, I like music that is different, eclectic and sometimes controversial. Most pop and mainstream music is just so contrived that there is no room for experimentation. If the underground music scene works to promote its music, I believe the scene will thrive when more people's ears are subjected to more challenging music. It's worth a try, anyway!

CoC: What is your opinion on the many other sub-genres of metal and which do you find yourself listening to most commonly?

TL: Well, I am fairly simple when in comes to tastes in metal. Death, black, doom, heavy, thrash... that's all fine, it's when you start getting "post-death-melo-hardcore-tribal-gabba" genres that I just lose interest!

CoC: Finally, what do you plan to do to promote yourself and Mutant in the future?

TL: We will be the first band to play a gig on Mars and since we come from the future anyway, I can just say that we eventually take over the planet and enslave all those who would stand in our way and force them to build giant statues of John Cyriis. On a serious note, we are planning some big tours -- we will be back to Edinburgh as well as heading to Europe and releasing a single hopefully before the end of this year. Keep your ears to the underground and stay fast, Mutoids!

(article submitted 18/7/2009)

5/25/2000 P Schwarz 8 Mutant - The Aeonic Majesty
6/15/1999 B Meloon 5 Mutant - Eden Burnt to Ashes
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