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Interviews

mt​.​ida – Philly screamo act decompose their new captivating EP track by track

As many of you may well know by now, today is yet another Bandcamp Friday (rumored to be the last one of the year!) wherein artists/labels will received 100% of sales raised for 24 hours. Just in time for the closing ceremony, Philly-based Hardcore/Screamo band mt.ida have decided to throw their hat into the ring, as well, with the debut six-track EP. mt.ida’s current line-up features Connor Byrne on vocals/bass, Nick Rosica on guitar, and Toby Pool on behind the drumkit. mt.ida’s members have previously spent time recording and touring with Brackish, Bells, and The Great Explainer.

We recently got ahold of Connor, Nick & Toby, via email, who were kind enough to provide us with a comprehensive track-by-track full-band breakdown of mt.ida’s self-titled debut EP. So, scroll down, follow along, and if you like what you hear, head on over to Bandcamp and support mt.ida directly on this Bandcamp Friday!

Overall/Intro – Nick Rosica: This band has been a project of mine going back years and born out of my love for Hardcore/Screamo music and, also, my desire to play guitar in a band after playing mainly bass in bands for 10+ years. There were many iterations to begin, but once Connor [Byrne] joined on bass/vocals, he energized the band and brought in Toby [Pool] and the momentum really started to pick up. Songwriting-wise, I’m just trying to do my own thing and stick to somewhat abstract song structure and sounds and challenge myself—I don’t think I play a single power-chord on this entire recording. The main songwriting influences are somewhat obvious bands, like Orchid, Neil Perry, envy, Diatro, [and] Modern Life Is War, but I, also, take a lot from bands like The Appleseed Cast, Pinback, and Modest Mouse, as well, which, I think, comes through in the vibe of the music and tones more than the actual song sounds and structure of the songs, which lean a lot more on the Hardcore influences.

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Toby Pool: Prior to mt.ida, I’d spent the last 10 years playing in mostly Instrumental/Ambient/Post-rock bands. My indie rock and hardcore roots go back even further than that, jumping back and forth between bands like Defeater and Converge, or Pinback and Engine Down—and I’ve, most recently, over the past few years, been yearning to start a new project that can tie all these things together.

It was kind of serendipitous how this all came together from my perspective. I moved to Philly in 2019, barely knowing a soul and was introduced to Connor through mutual friends. At that point, I just wanted to set up a show with my band, Bells, and Connor/Nick’s band, Brackish. Once we were able to do that, I mentioned to Connor & Nick the type of project I was hoping to get started and they just happened to be working on that exact same sort of thing.

mt.ida has become this perfect creative outlet for me that blends my love for loud and frantic sounds, while, also, mixing in more dialed back and chill grooves. These songs came together through a lot of work Nick & Connor put in before I joined, but it felt pretty effortless for me to jump in and understand what they were trying to do with them.

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1. “away”

Toby: This is a stand-out track for me. It encompasses all the different dynamic sounds we’re working towards as a band.

Connor Byrne: This is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the record. The lyrics are inspired by a movie; I couldn’t stop thinking about how the main character doesn’t really question their shifting environment and ends up in confinement. In real life, people wind up confining themselves all the time with their own narrowed perceptions and logic. They lose track of what’s substantial or “real” and get locked into some half-baked idea of truth without considering circumstances outside of what’s in front of them or questioning why they’re doing what they’re doing.

2. “almond”

Nick: This one alternates between being pretty chaotic, instrumentally, and, then, the much more intentional and drawn out parts, especially, the ending—which is supposed to sort of just fall apart.

Connor: This is one of our heaviest songs, so when I was writing the lyrics I went to a pretty dark place. In 2019, I visited an abandoned mountain town in Italy where my family immigrated from and learned a lot about the hardships they faced, like recurring earthquakes and being attacked by Nazis. It was really intense to process and unexpected, just showing up seeking general information about my family’s origins. I did my best to help convey the desperation and hopelessness in the history I came across.

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3. “sick”

Connor: This song was intentionally short; we wrote it that way on purpose. We wanted it to be to the point. The lyrics are about how big pharmaceutical companies in America choose monetary profit and death over people by denying Americans universal health care.

4. “ricochet”

Nick: This song, in my mind, kind of gets into a groove that is reminiscent of a lot of European Screamo bands that we pull from (Diatro, La Quiete, Amanda Woodward, etc.) and, then, breaks into a more [New Jersey-influenced] part in the chorus. Big ups to Toby on drums for hitting all that just right. The ending, also, rips and ends abruptly, instead of tailing off, like a lot of our other songs.

Connor: This song has a really moving quality to it that I’d like to think we’ll return to when we write. It has a unique energy that makes it fun to play.

5. “never saw it coming”

Nick: Along with “away,” this was another song that was in-the-works for a while, we re-did [it], and is kind of two songs under one name. This one ventures a little into some Post-rock territory and is intentionally drawn out. I’d say the ending of this is where The Appleseed Cast influence comes through with the sort of dark and icy cold guitar tones.

6. “wide open”

Nick: This is our most recent song and one that came together really quickly. The synced up/ring out part is really fun to play and, then, I just let Connor & Toby do their thing for the choruses and it rips with the blasty drums and drawn out screams.

Toby: This is another stand-out track for me. Nick created great space for me to go wild with the blast beats and fills.

Connor: I think Toby deserves a lot of the credit for how this song turned out. We loved the part we had for the verse, but couldn’t find something to compliment it with… until Toby started blasting along and everything sort of fell into place from there. Also, this is one of the last songs we wrote for this album, so it is the newest and, I think, best indicator of where we’re headed next.

mt​.​ida – Philly screamo act decompose their new captivating EP track by track
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