An Interview with MTXS
MTXS are a five-piece hardcore band from Essex. After releasing their latest record “Ache” in June the band have been playing shows all around the UK. I caught up with them in Birmingham after their latest weekender to chat about all things tour, writing and what they have planned for the coming months.
For anyone that doesn’t know who you are, introduce the band to us!
Paul: We are MTXS. We are a five-piece hardcore band from Essex. MTXS stands for “Metaxis” which is the Greek word for a state of in-between - you're neither here nor there, not dead or alive, just a constant state of purgatory. That's what we are.
Cool, that was my next question.
Connor: We’re just too on the ball for you.
You are. So, how’s the weekender been?
Moose: So far, it's been incredible. Yeah, we played Swindon. It was the first time we went there, it was massive going there, the venue was absolutely sick. Went back to Liverpool yesterday, it's like one of our favourite places to play.
Paul: I love that place.
Moose: Birmingham today as well, it’s the second time we’ve been to Birmingham and it’s fucking incredible as always, like absolutely massive.
Paul: Every single time we play Birmingham, every single time we play Liverpool, it has been like just Rock City man, it’s so good, it’s so fucking good. It's been good fun, met new heads, seen old faces, it was great
Connor: Drank lots of beers
Let’s chat a bit about Ache – how did you go about writing the album?
Paul: Oh my god, the writing process of Ache.
Connor: Just arguments.
Moose: It was like a year, a year and a half of just constant bickering.
Paul: It was like, the way it would get started was with a... a what's it called? A bottle of special reserve from Tesco right, and it'll be, usually it’s like, a couple of us just getting together being like, oh my god yeah, I’ve got some song ideas, oh my god yeah, let's write some songs and then just drink some whiskey, put down a couple of demos on like, on anything from like fruit loops to fucking, you know.
Moose: We were sort of like in like a bit of a purgatory, so we didn't really realise what we were writing for.
Connor: We ended up with like 50 tracks.
Moose: Yeah, we had so many tracks for it. The tracks that we had together for it and the tracks that we decided we were going to use they just sort of had like a real dark, horrible, beatdown, dissonant undertone and we were like yeah, this is it like, you know, this is what's coming from inside, like, we’re fucked up you know!
Paul: And then like, going off of a demo record that we literally recorded in a caravan and Connor’s shed, like, but like for like a year and a half or whatever before we released Ache we knew that we had to get something that was at least half-decent out, like an actual record. And then when it came out with the help of Eric from Loathe, to just push this in the right direction.
Moose: And James Monteith from Tesseract – who works in hold tight - he was our PR agent and he absolutely smashed the release, him and his team, like, special mentions to them, they fucking smashed the shit out of it.
Paul: Literally they did.
Moose: All we had to do was be like, here's the stuff, please do something good with it, and they just absolutely smashed it out the ballpark.
Paul: Without their help, I don't know what we would’ve done. And then it's like, there's obviously, with everyone that turns up to these shows as well, the band's and stuff, like, it's crazy how people could like back just a release out of nowhere, which is really really fucking cool and we’re really grateful for it.
So when you were picking out of these like 50 songs, did you go for themes or just the ones that sound similar?
Connor: We’d go through some of them and we’d listen to them and be like, Jesus Christ, what were we thinking? And then other ones we were like, hey, you know.
Rudi: It’s the ones we get really gassed over.
Paul: Oi oi, Rudi’s joining in now! Come sit.
Moose: Like, the way we try and write a record, we don't write it as a record we write it as a setlist so it like flows from start to finish. It's like, out of all the songs we've written, this will piece together, until it all sounded, you know, like, just together. So we were like, shit - it was like we had all these tracks we were like pick’n’mix for it and then we were just like, sweet, this is it, this is the tracklist, let's take this studio and go see.
Paul: Pick the best bits. We literally we picked the best bits of some of the demos that we did and just put them together.
Moose: We actually played Mould like, a year and a half before we released Ache in Portugal for the first time. We were out on a tour in Portugal with Oceans Ate Alaska and Our Hollow Our Home and we demoed a really early version of Mould out there and it’s just like - it’s on a live stream on our Facebook, you can watch it – it’s like, the core of it’s there, but it sounds a lot different from what it’s evolved into.
Connor: Even when we had the 10 songs, once we had them then that I wasn't like, it all sounded completely different from the demo version to the actual album version because we just kept changing as we went. We were like, this section sucks, but this section from another song is sick and we’d just kinda slot it in and make it flow a bit more.
Paul: Whatever sounded best stayed.
Connor: And we’d do that until they were done.
Paul: Yeah, that’s how we did it!
Cool. So, looking at your Instagram, which is beautiful, was that like a conscious rebranding/theming?
Paul: Yes hahaa!
Moose: Can we get a round of applause for Paul and his Instagram? *Everyone applauds*
Connor: STOP! *silence*
Paul: And obviously Ollie Wood *applause*
Connor: STOP! *Silence*
Paul: Yeah, yeah it was. It was literal just like, I love black and white so much like it hurts my brain and then just to be able to refresh when we released Ache was just like a big thing.
Moose: It’s something we were talking about for a while. So we had a demo record, people know about us live as far as like being on paper nobody had heard of us because we’d not PR released and we were just like, let's just get rid of everything and just…
Paul: Start fresh.
Moose: Because we used to like wear masks and shit like that as well.
Paul: Oh my god. Yeah. Fuck man.
Moose: And we did the whole thing where it's like, our PR thing was like the unmasking and you know, we were like, we're not doing the masks anymore! Here’s our faces! We're in a band!
Paul: We're taking this seriously now.
Moose: So like, as the cycle came in for that record we were just like, fucking get rid of everything. It did hurt deleting it all though.
Paul: Yeah it did!
Moose: Deleting the Czech tour posts and deleting the Portugal posts, deleting all the tour posts that we’d done throughout the UK I was just like, I’m really going to miss these.
Paul: But it worked even better. It’s like…
Moose: Out with the old and in with the new.
Paul: Literally like, always moving forward.
So what’s your favourite place to play in the UK?
Paul: Oh my days.
Connor: Literally every time we play Liverpool heads show up and they go ham.
Rudi: Heads show up and then heads go missing.
Moose: Big statement coming from you, Connor got kicked out the venue there last night, like half an hour before we were going on.
Connor: I just wanted to take my poutine downstairs, and the man wouldn’t stop shouting.
Moose: It was like this whole big thing, we had to get the manager out and I was just like, we’ve driven like 7 hours, we were like, oh my god, there’s like 80 people downstairs we have to go downstairs and play.
Paul: Do you still love Liverpool?
Connor: It was sick.
Moose: For you to say that Liverpool is still your favourite after that.
Paul: I’d say, literally like every single time we play Birmingham, every single time we play Liverpool, it has been fucking sick.
Moose: Yeah Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.
Connor: Cardiff’s mad.
Moose: Those three are like the best places. This is our second ever show in Birmingham, and when we last played Cardiff that was our first time down there as well, and that was massive.
Paul: That was so cool. So yeah, mine would probably be… if you could put it down to one place, where?
Moose: I’m going to say Liverpool, straight up. No one kill me.
Paul: I’m going to say Birmingham to be safe.
Connor: Liverpool for sure. I think the most fun venue I’ve ever been to it that one we went to in Czech with the dude behind the bar who was also in the support band.
Paul: Oh yeah! Connor: So there was one support act and they did heavy metal versions of Czech lullabies and the guy behind the bar owned the venue and also was in this band and had also booked us. He was just behind the bar the entire night snorting lines and stuff and we were like, what the hell man?
Paul: What was it?
Connor: It was caffeine pills! I’ve never been more baffled.
Moose: We opened and headlined our own show it was ridiculous.
Connor: We got there early and there weren’t that many people there and we were like, well, shit, the guy owns the bar anyway let's just play. So we played, and then let him have his set, and then people turned up like oh, no, we’re here to see this English band.
Paul: This is at like 12/1 in the morning.
Moose: I was at the bar like, I couldn’t even stand and Paul runs up to me like, yo we gotta play another set I was like Christ! No I’m steaming! I can’t!
Connor: Absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had.
Paul: It was so fun.
Moose: Never open and headline your own show.
Connor: Anyway yeah.
Moose: Sorry we just veer off in like 10 directions.
Nah it’s alright! Anywhere still on the bucket list?
Moose: Asia! Asia. I just want to tour Asia so bad. Definitely Asia, I really want to go out to America- I think my dream show would just be This is Hardcore Festival in Philly. If I’d done that, I could just quit the day afterwards it’s fine, I’m absolutely fine, like I’M FINE BRO.
Paul: Are you okay?
Moose: yeah, fine bro.
Paul: Yeah, probably like Philly, Philadelphia. That would be crazy. That's literally the dream.
Connor: I’d just love a little mainland Europe ting. That’d be lovely. We’ve been all the way to the other side of Europe I just want to do the nice close ones like France, and Germany.
Paul: Germany is definitely on my list
Connor: Short term goals, that's what I want to do. That’d be lovely.
What are your favourite tracks?
Moose: As in our tracks?
Moose: Okay. So we're working on some new singles at the minute, but we probably won't say more than that, but like the single that we’ve just done, we’re doing like a sort of follow up from Ache. We’re gonna do three singles, like three tracks that are like, not necessarily like what we’re trying to evolve the sound with it, but at the same time, it's like Ache 1.5, basically. It's just a follow up for us. But yeah, this follow up track that we've just done in the studio, that definitely my favourite track we’ve ever done.
Paul: I'd say like, if we go with like, what we've got released, probably like… I really, really enjoy playing Choked, it is literally one of my favourites.
Moose: That’s my baby as well. I literally created that entire riff whilst our guitarist Aiden – who’s not even here because he's away travelling so we got stand-in for him-
Paul: Clam, big up Clam *applause*
Moose: Round of applause for Clam, thank you guys, thank you
Moose: So yeah like, whilst Aiden was away I came up with like the riff, like the beginning of Choked, I was just like oh my god, just, the part that I had afterwards didn’t flow well and Aiden had a song that didn't have a good beginning and we cut the song away, put them together and Choked came about and it was like fuck this is like- Choked to me the biggest track on that record.
Paul: Yeah, I love that. It doesn’t get enough clout. However, Bad Blood is really fun. Bad Blood is like, oh my days.
Moose: When we ring the bell live it’s like a sound frequency that just sends everyone in the crowd like, they just see red.
Paul: Everyone is about to die.
Moose: It’s so silly.
Connor: I really like Silver Skin man. I’m sad that doesn’t get played live.
Paul: It’s because we can’t play it live. Well, no, yeah, mine’s definitely Choked.
Connor: My favourite live is Bad Blood but my favourite ever is Silver Skin.
Do you have a favourite tour memory?
Paul: Yes I do.
Moose: Shall we do one each?
Connor: I don’t know man.
Moose: Go on.
Paul: I think we all know what we’re talking about.
Connor: I think I’m going to go last because I want to see how deep people go.
Moose: You can go deep. I know exactly what you want to do straight away and I give you permission, do it.
Paul: Is it the thing..?
Moose: Yeah he’s gonna talk about the onion ring.
*absolute laughter from the band, complete confusion from the rest of us*
Moose: Okay you guys go first I’ll go last.
Paul: Okay! I’ll get it going and you come in with the punchline.
Paul: Alright. so we turn up to the turn up to this- oh no wait, it starts way before we even get to the venue like, with the guy that messaged our page being like-
Connor: DO YOU LIKE A GRILLED PIG
Paul: We were like what do you mean?
Moose: Okay give it some context because you’ve just started halfway through.
Paul: Okay. Obviously, when we were in Europe we like to have like a rider, we like to be provided food because it's nice because we can't afford anything. And then and then this promoter from this venue in the middle of nowhere messaged the page saying, “would you like a grilled pig?”
Moose: Like, real broken English.
Paul: We were like, what? And he was like “Grilled pig?”
Moose: We were going round in the van trying to guess what it was. Our tour driver for that tour, the guitarist of Glamour of the Kill, he was like, boys, I’m going to level with you, I’ve been touring for 15 years – we all got excited like it’s going to be a hog roast and he’s like, I’ve been touring for 15 years, there’s no way it’s going to be a hog roast.
Connor: Maybe like a bacon sandwich or something.
Paul: Literally, we were like yeah, okay cool this is fucking sick. Okay, whatever. No high hopes or whatever. So we turn up to this venue. It took us ages to find it because it was like-
Moose: Like a shed in the middle of nowhere in a field.
Paul: Fucking tumbleweeds, you could see them just floating across the floor.
Moose: There was so many people there though.
Paul: Oh my god it was mad. Oh my god- so many memories of that night oh my days. So yeah, anyway point being we turned up to this venue expecting nothing and we walk in and there's this guy- did he have his top off?
Paul: It was like this sweaty, beastly man and he was like “You band!” and we were like “Yeah” he was like “WHEEEEEEY” he was like “come come come” anyway, he takes us to the back seating area, the garden-
Connor: There’s three beautiful suckling pigs on a spit. It was the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen. I instantly cried. It was unbelievable.
Moose: There was applesauce, bread…
Connor: Everyone else paying like- I can’t remember what Czech currency was worth but it was like £4 a plate for everyone else and he was like “no you guys just fuckin eat” and I had like 6 plates and then at the end they bought us the trays with the bones and the rest of the meat and I was just like fucking cavemaning these bones. It was the best rider I ever had and I don’t know how I played.
Paul: It was crazy.
Connor: Oh, the sound cut out halfway through the set and then came back, it was great.
Moose: That was the dude that was like the really old man who had like, what was a battle vest from the 1970s and he’s sat on a chair in the middle of the fucking crowd with a staph. He had a cane and it’s like, every time a band finished a song it was dead silent and then he would just do like a seal of approval, and he’d either be like this [thumbs down] and no one would say anything or he’d stand up and go “YEEEEEAH” and the crowd would start cheering. And we were like that’s the king. He is the king of this village and he was just like, every time we finished a song he just sat there and got more and more suspenseful because he made the gaps longer, but after every song, he’s just like “YEEEEAH” and started cheering and there was blood and glass everywhere- it was wild.
Paul: Fucking mad.
Moose: What’s your one?
Connor: Mine, it’s like a continuation because it was the same night we were touring with this wonderful, lovely band called Pray for Pain, just a bunch of wonderful boys we’d all had a lot to drink and we had eaten like three entire pigs-
Moose: And smoked a fucking big boof. Like these guys as well, they represent Austria, this Austrian band, one of them is a teacher and they just fucking smoke weed and like slam metal.
Connor: Shoutout the bassist Kevin
Moose: Shoutout all of them, Pray for Pain.
Connor: But yeah, we were just stood in a circle chatting to them and we’re all pretty twisted so we’re all just kind of struggling to get words out and blah blah, and I kind of lose interest and I’m like, you know what, I’m going to get more pig. I go back to retrieve a bone and as I come back with my snack, somehow it’s gone from a barely coherent conversation to there's an onion ring- you know like, the little funions, the crisps- around the drummer for Pray for Pain’s penis just on the end of it.
Moose: No it wasn’t on the end of it, it was at the base.
Connor: and Moose came in from just, top angle and nibbled it off.
Moose: There was a video of it as well, but I took it off.
Connor: It was on the official MTXS Instagram for a couple of hours!
Moose: We all woke up in the morning and were like, we have to get rid of that. Now.
Connor: But there was so much free booze and pig we just…
Paul: That’s the best memory.
Connor: We’ve peaked. We’ve peaked ladies and gentlemen.
Moose: I think like, one of my like favourite memories was definitely, we was in Portugal and it was the second show date it was in Porto and we showed up to this ridiculous venue. It was like a massive like arts theatre and it's like nice like, we were like we're never gonna get a chance for at least like maybe like 10 years to play a venue like this again like it was a miracle we even got it. It was right in the city centre there was a massive like grass grounds outside the front and everything, we were like just super gas because we were doing our first ever international shows as a band. Me and Aiden- my ride or die and our guitarist - rest in peace brother. He's not gone. He's just in Thailand. But we'd like gone to a spa around the corner and their like Budweiser in Portugal is called Super Bock. We found that these glass 40 ounces, like these big jars, like these massive fucking two-litre beers, and it was like one and a half euros and I was like oh my days, so we bought like three of them each. As we're walking back to the venue we're having like a snack of some of the deli bits from the counter, and I looked at Aiden and I was just like I can't believe we’ve got like this much beer like six quid and he's like, I bet you can’t fucking drink all of that before you go on stage. Like, that was it. I literally dropped my deli stuff from the counter and I was like, right, we’re starting now. We went back to the venue afterwards and like we showed up the venue first. I had just got out of the shower and I was like bollock naked and Connor the vocalist of Our Hollow Our Home, they’ve just showed up and he's coming through. And I ran out of our green room. I was like, balls naked, and I just ran up to him and proper slapped him on the back of his calf. I’d only said hello to him once the day before. We’d never met each other before that. He had like a handprint on his leg I hit him so hard and I looked up like, I’ve just ruined our career haven’t I. I was just like super smashed. I got fucking wasted at that show. We didn’t even go to sleep because we were flying at like 4 am the next day so we were like, let's drink more Super Bock. We were in the airport afterwards and we were like laying down on our sides, me and Aiden in this airport in Porto and we were like running around on our sides like in a circle on the floor. So everyone at the airport was just like looking at us like what the fuck are you doing. We’re lucky we didn't get kicked out. And I remember flying as well- Aiden's Kemper, he doesn't have like a rack-mounted Kemper. He's got this Kemper that looks like a toaster. When we went to Gatwick airport to fly out-
Connor: I am never flying from Gatwick again, and no one gets to know why.
Moose: No one gets to know why Gatwick’s a shithole but it’s a shithole.
Moose: But we got through to Gatwick and the same thing happened when we were on our way back from Portugal. We put the Kemper- it went through in the bag because obviously Aiden was like I'm not putting this in the hold, this is gonna go my hand luggage, I spent £1500 on this. So he took it through and it went through the machine at Gatwick it just like, it was like a flashing light and then like a couple of people came over and everyone started getting a bit panicked. We were like no! it’s a guitar amp! It’s not what you think it is. And then the same thing happened when we were on our way back from Porto except they didn’t speak English. We were like no no no! Guitar! [strums air guitar] just trying to like- ah man. Crazy. Just don’t fly for shows ever. Or if you’re going to do it then rent the gear when you’re there.
Paul: Those are probably our favourite memories. There you go.
Cool. So what’s next for MTXS?
Moose: Yeah, as we briefly mentioned earlier, we’re sorting out a couple of new tracks. As a band we've done like a lot of headline runs and we've been out supporting some insane bands in the UK in the last year like Gassed up, God Complex, we did a headline run with Bleach. It was incredible. We've got like, we’ve just done this run with Reckless Harm, big up the boys in Reckless Harm! Absolutely smashed this tour man! And we’ve got a run with Monasteries and then we're gonna be in Europe for a few select dates in March, which will be cool, and then after that, we're just gonna be going quiet for a little bit.
Paul: Yeah, just getting things sorted for these next few releases. We’ve got to make sure that they’re done right.
Moose: We’re really trying to transition from like, sliding from the tier that we’re at on the ladder in the industry and we’re trying to move on to the next tier. So we’re just like really zeroing in on everything you can do.
Paul: Just evolving as much as we can.
Moose: You have to have everything else like prepared and ready on the side you know, it’s a nonstop game so we’re just making sure its all sorted and we’ll be back fucking, full force within summertime.
Paul: Wait until summer.
Connor: It’s going to be fucking sick.
Paul: Yeah hopefully init. So that’s our plan.
Thanks to the lads in MTXS for talking to me and the DCR team! You can checkout "Ache" on all streaming platforms and find the band on their social media.
You can read my post about my new role working alongside the lads in Danger Close Records here. You can also follow Danger Close Records on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on their live shows!