Mwahaha
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Mwahaha

Oakland, California, United States | SELF

Oakland, California, United States | SELF
Band Pop EDM

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Mar
21
Mwahaha @ Tree Fort Festival

Boise, Idaho, USA

Boise, Idaho, USA

Mar
12
Mwahaha @ SXSW

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

Feb
02
Mwahaha @ The Uptown

Oakland, California, USA

Oakland, California, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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I'll get the gripe about how stupid independent band names are getting these days out of the way now so we can re-introduce this CD review properly.

The four-piece outfit from Oakland, California, known as Mwahaha are like the four cardinal directions on a compass in crazy land. In a good way.

There is a kind of otherworldliness to the nine sprawling electrodellic tracks on the band's self-titled debut. Maybe it's more appropriate to make this into an analogy: Mwahaha is what Sedona is to Arizona. Mwahaha's vortex-like center ("Lime Tree") and the 11-minute drone of "Bathynomus Gigantes" give the album what may or may not be an intentional narrative of someone crossing an electromagnetic field on his or her way to Oz or Nirvana or the fourth dimension.

"Rivers and Their Teeth" and "Sleep Deep" are two of the stronger tracks on the album, with deep baritone vocals weighing down the seemingly weightless nature of Mwahaha. Another standout occurs when tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus co-vocals on "Love," which is the album's Magical Mystery Tour-meets-Soft Machine track.

There's no denying the sparks on the recordings, which were primarily done through analog. There's no denying the variety of compositions on Mwahaha from succinct ("Love" and "Sleep Deep") to run-ons ("We Will Build Our Own" and "Bathynomus Gigantes"). Now that the teeth are cut, it's time for filing them into fine points. We're hoping this isn't the last laugh from these Cali boys.
- ecollegetimes


The desire for new and intriguing music are answered with Oakland band, Mwahaha. Sure, their name instills laughter just by hearing their name, but the combination of psychedelic synth rock and ethereal vocals leave nothing to joke about. Ross Peacock, along with brothers Cyrus and Nathan Tilton base the band’s core sound upon the heavy usage of synthesizers combined with drum machines, drawing subtle influence from bands like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran.

Songs like “Poinsettia” and “Sleep Deep” instill a swirling feeling of being thrown into a whirlpool in the middle of the ocean. The oscillations compliment the multi-layered vocals in such a way that compliments every musical direction that the band shows in each track.

Catch Mwahaha at the Rickshaw Stop on February 1st. Also, be sure to pick up their EP, which is due December 6, 2011.






- theowlmag


By: Andrew Livingston
December 7, 2011

(Mwahaha Music) Mwahaha sounds far too self-assured for a debut album. Mwahaha sounds too self-assured for any album. Few bands ever figure out how to develop a sound that’s flexible enough to let them explore any genre they like (several per song in Mwahaha’s case) while at the same time focus enough to make an entire album of such far-flung journeys sound focused and intentional. Mwahaha is grand, dark, and a kind of demonically laughing joke. It’s a rock album that sometimes sounds like mid-'90s ambient music. Its songs have so many layers working together so seamlessly that, on first listen, they sound dead simple. And it’s great.



The anchors of a Mwahaha track are hypnotic -- bottom-heavy rhythms, distorted keyboards, sparing use of guitars, multi-layered, often complex harmonies, and finally, brilliant pop hooks. But it’s astonishing how many places they’re able to go with those elements. The opener, “Swimmer,” starts off with an off-kilter keyboard, a deep, looping drum and bass groove, and the singer’s rich baritone softly harmonizing with itself, singing, “I swim deeper through darkness and danger / from the surface and its beautiful light / I get around it when I can’t get in through it…” It’s dissonant but also sort of calming. It wouldn’t feel out of place on an early Elbow or Sunset Rubdown album, even when chorus brings in soaring vocals and blaring horns. But then comes the breakdown and we’re introduced to another Mwahaha trademark.



When Mwahaha songs break down, they break down completely. In “Swimmer,” the drums stop, the bass stops, and the listener is left all alone with nothing but a backwards tambourine and a buzzing moan swirling around in his or her head. And like a real psychological breakdown, when the song comes back, it’s not the same and it’s not quite right. The guitar starts playing power chords drenched in ugly fuzz, staggering around like some drunken bigfoot until the drums come back, bringing with them an off-key organ and what must be a completely different vocalist slurring out the reminder of the lyrics’ mysterious parable about swimming too deep in…something. All of a sudden, you’re in Yerself Is Steam-era Mercury Rev territory. It’s jarring at first listen. But see, you signed up for this. You don’t buy an album by a band whose name is difficult to both spell and pronounce correctly without expecting a little perversity. But Mwahaha always rewards patience.



For example, the single “Rainbow Diamond” starts out with a groove from the Ronettes-plus-punk territory Clinic has visited on records past, but with the addition of lovely Beatlesesque harmonies. The singer sings, “See the silver lining / ripped by rainbow diamonds / everybody’s crying.” Then comes another breakdown. The drums fall apart, the bass gives up, and we’re left all alone with not one but two different kinds of ominous feedback. The singer ventures back in, this time without backing himself, singing, “I don’t want to talk about it / while the sun is shining / I can see the silver lining / It’s breaking through / like Rainbow Diamonds” to a forlorn, genuinely moving melody. The song kicks back in for a few more measures of '60s pop. But then, after the singer confesses he takes himself too seriously, an organ part comes in and convinces the bass line to change completely and take the whole song with it. It happens on a dime but in that subtle, sublime way that only bass lines can change on a dime. The singer cuts in singing something about damning Them, and then you have about one minute where all you have time to think is that you don’t want what’s happening to stop before Mwahaha lets you down gently on a cloud of voices reminding you that the singer takes himself way too seriously. (They do that again on other songs.)



The thing is, Mwahaha does take their music very seriously. They’re never content to make you feel just one thing. In fact, they don’t seem to be content unless they’re inventing new genres with every song. “Poinsettia” is grand, distorted glitch-hop that somehow manages to frighten you while making you feel warm. You genuinely feel loved while the singer is prophesying some kind of apocalypse wherein the valleys “....rise up and f*ck the mountains.” The end even features a chorus of angelic voices straight out of The Beatles’ “The Sun King,” and fades out on a sustained chord played by the sort of cheap air organ you can buy at everyone’s garage sale. And it all sounds perfectly cohesive. It actually sounds like the human race invented minimal techno so that Mwahaha could put an air organ and Fab-Four harmonies over it.



Every track is as simultaneously eclectic and cohesive, and there’s no room here to describe them all. You’ll find entire pop songs you didn’t notice on the first listen, like “We Will Build Our Own” -- one of the album's strongest songs sandwiched between “Lime Tree” and “Rivers and Their Teeth” -- two of the album’s more hypnotic tracks. Or “Love,” which is a collaboration with fellow Oaklander and self-harmonist Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. There’s so much melodic goodness on display, you probably won’t notice the huge, phat glitch bass pulsing in the background until the rest of the song drops out and it takes over.



There may not be another album out this year that rewards repeat listening with so much previously unnoticed sonic joy. Mwahaha is having a lot of fun while paving new ground. Sure, at any given moment they may be screwing with you, and you may not always know it, but get over yourself. This is a really, really good album.



Standout Tracks: "We Will Build Our Own", Love", "Lime Tree"

For fans Of: Wolf Parade, Mercury Rev, Clinic, Strfkr, tUnE-yArDs
- buzzinemusic




Mwahaha, self-titled
Image

Mwahaha , self-titled [Mwahaha Music]

By Kerri O'Malley » When I clap my hands, you’ll wake up and all of this will seem but a dream to you… A persistent beeeeeeep melts and blends into a wet, gurgling noise, then transforms into a calming tone-to-tone background hum behind “Swimming,” the first track on Mwahaha’s self-titled debut album. Diving through foamy layers of sound, slowly pieced together thoughts, and cresting rhythms, “Swimming” unfolds from an entryway into a rabbit hole, sucking you down into a corridor with ever-changing walls of sound, less a “sonic landscape” than a true sound experience.
Oakland-based Mwahaha’s psychedelic songs often drop out into eerie moments that take full advantage of the pause and the lack of pure structure to really amp up the acid-washed daydreaming. In the middle of “Rainbow Diamond,” Mwahaha’s first single, a long pause leaves me imagining a wide-eyed and scantily clad babe pushing through glittery strands of color in a rainbow that stretches through space like a Mario Kart scene. Then, with a crash of drums, we’re coasting down the gleaming rainbow road and…holy shit…pushing play on this thing is like taking a rip from a 6-foot bong.

Something soothing about the pop falsetto of the lead singer, somehow always anchored in a sort of confident monotone echo, leads the record towards indulgent, bright fantasies instead of emphasizing bad-trip nightmare weirdness. Even though the voice often melts into the background, when it bubbles to the top, elegant phrases and pretty little thoughts crack through, like, “There’s always the chance of the sky exploding into our heads, over our beds, killing us all…” or the trippy end bit to the album’s final number, “Bathynomus Gigantes.” If you can make it through eight and a half-minutes of re-discovering your palm (no, wait…seeing it for the first time, man), you’ll be treated to a few short clips of hazed-out, elongated lyrics like, “You’re so far out because you just won’t come in…”

But who needs shelter from this storm? Mwahaha never stops surprising, and each song is jam-packed with feel-good oddities. A fantastic beam-me-up bassline, driven by 80s video game sounds and robotic rumblings, runs through “ We Will Build Our Own,” and “Rivers and Their Teeth” returns for more bass in space before literally splashing into a wet sound collage that sounds like what lies beneath in Dagobah. After a few minutes of bathwater, the submerged song emerges into a more ethereal number, like what would happen if you threw The Who’s Tommy down a well.

“Poinsetta” has a crunchy vibe, with more horrorshow, unexpected noises sneaking up to tap your unsuspecting shoulder with their cool fingertips. (And wait Did someone just say something about fucking a mountain?) Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards drops by for a Mad Hatter tea party of a song called “Love” that transitions into the lyric-less, slow-building “Lime Tree.” The album’s most traditional tune, “sleep deep,” eases into the finale, “Bathynomus Gigantes,” which begins with a quasi-tribal thumping that wordlessly calls each to arms as we explore the final frontier from ear to ear, thoughts twisting and eyes closed, sounds erupting, softly taking us away until…Clap. - Impose


Like romance novels of yore, we listen as Oakland trio Mwahaha and their neighbour, tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill, merge to conceive a wonderchild made of deep synths, tribal cries and sweet, sweet beats. They found love, everybody, so tell Rihanna to stop bragging. - NME


Hard Copy...not yet online
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terrorbirddigital.s3.amazonaws.com
- Bust


'Mwahaha'

Spin Rating7 of 10

A cleverly plotted head trip disguised as a ramshackle mess, the debut full-length from this psychedelic Oakland quartet turns brain-scrambling confusion into a fine art. Oozing, belching synths swarm beats that encompass throbbing funk and clattering chaos, as singer Ross Peacock, at once anxious and listless, taps into Nine Inch Nails' simmering rage on "Poinsettia" and harmonizes with tUnE-yArDs' irrepressible Merrill Garbus on the delirious "Love." The trance-friendly, 11-minute "Bathynomus Gigantes!" initially feels like filler, but turns into an inspired exercise in dynamics that could induce bright ecstasy or full panic, or both.

By Jon Young - Spin Magazine (hard copy)


'Mwahaha'

Spin Rating7 of 10

A cleverly plotted head trip disguised as a ramshackle mess, the debut full-length from this psychedelic Oakland quartet turns brain-scrambling confusion into a fine art. Oozing, belching synths swarm beats that encompass throbbing funk and clattering chaos, as singer Ross Peacock, at once anxious and listless, taps into Nine Inch Nails' simmering rage on "Poinsettia" and harmonizes with tUnE-yArDs' irrepressible Merrill Garbus on the delirious "Love." The trance-friendly, 11-minute "Bathynomus Gigantes!" initially feels like filler, but turns into an inspired exercise in dynamics that could induce bright ecstasy or full panic, or both.

By Jon Young - Spin Magazine (hard copy)


Mwahaha, “Love” feat. Merrill Garbus — Song Premiere
By: Dan Solomon | November 10, 2011 at 9:30 am
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Photo courtesy of Terrorbird Media

Carrying the torch of break-up-as-inspiration, Oakland electro-psychedelic rockers Mwahaha’s “Love” came about while singer Ross Peacock “ … was having a not so good period in a relationship,” he tells Hive. Which isn’t to say that the song is some folky downer — Mwahaha are the type to express being bummed out with heavy synth lines, a face-melting guitar solo, and in this instance, a guest vocal appearance from tUnE-yArDs’ Merril Garbus.

Don’t let Garbus’ appearance overshadow the song, either — while tUnE-yArDs is still blowing up, her vocal appearance shows off another side to her voice, and to Peacock’s approach to the song. “When I wrote the melody, I heard a kind of country, male/female harmony in my head, like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton or something.” Nobody would confuse “Love” with “Islands in the Stream,” but that sort of duet is as played out as histrionic breakup ballads — Mwahaha’s assertion is that it’s about time there’s a sad song you can dance to.

Mwahaha’s self-titled debut arrives December 6 on their label, Mwahaha Music. - MTV Hive - November 10, 2011 - by Dan Solomon


A four-piece band from Oakland, Mwahaha has all the creepy charm its name suggests. “Poinsettia,” off the group’s self-titled LP (out December 6), is equal parts psychedelic and synth, a modern update of what could have been a giant hit back in the 1960s. Download “Poinsettia” below.

- Magnet Magazine - November 6, 2011 - by Staff


Oakland’s Mwahaha pack plenty of left turns into the electronic-psych-pop of “Rainbow Diamond,” the first single from the group’s self-titled album, out December 6th. The band includes Ross Peacock (ex-Clipd Beaks) along with brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton. All three of them used to be in Ned (and yes, I know there are four guys in their press photo).

Other key facts: Mwahaha was recorded with Eli Crews, and features Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards singing on one song. Also, remixes are forthcoming from Jel and Odd Nosdam.

Mwhaha performs at The Uptown on September 2nd (9pm, Free) with White Cloud and The Horns of Happiness. - The Bay Bridged


Moohahaha? Nope, make that Mwahaha, ex-Clipd Beaks bro Ross Peacock's latest Oakland band - it's one part cracked noise, one part staticky gloom-pop and, surprise, another part rising optimism. The combo already has a self-released album set to go on Dec. 6, with a swing-through by tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus, and they're all ready to be checked out at a free show Sept. 2 at the Uptown in Oakland - SF Gate


We're a bit unsure of the name, but anyone looking for experimental new rock/electronic sounds out of the Bay Area (or anywhere, really), oughta give Mwhahaha a listen. The band sounds more than a little bit like TV on the Radio sometimes, but -- as you may have gathered from its moniker -- it is far more playful. There are flourishes of analog synthesizers, bent guitars, and even the occasional pop hook in the band's songs, which are usually built over some towering, propulsive rhythm, whether live drums or machine-based. And while we get a little bit of pop-oriented verse-chorus-versing, Mwahaha also likes to take its songs in adventurous directions that may not always be foreseen at the start of things.

Check out three free Mwahaha MP3s after the jump.

mwahahaart_2.jpg
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The best starting point for Mwahaha is probably "Rainbow Diamond," which displays the elements of its sound in a fairly accessible form. Next up are "Poinsetta" and "Sleep Deep." All of these will appear on the band's upcoming debut album, out Dec. 6, which was recorded and mixed by the same guy (Eli Crews) who worked on tUnE-yArDs' stunning sophomore album, w h o k i l l. In fact, tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus even guests on a Mwahaha track called "Love" that will appear on the debut. - SF Weekly




What’s in a name? Oakland, CA’s Mwahaha answers that question with a smirk, but the sounds that emanate from their forthcoming debut album are no joke. Psychedelic ebb & flows, electronic undercurrents, and elated pop flourishes bring into focus an attention to detail that’s staggering. The band, consisting of Ross Peacock (formerly of Clipd Beaks ) and brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton (who were all previously in the Bay Area cult band Ned), have completed their debut full length album Mwahaha, set for release December 6th on their own Mwahaha Music imprint.

- WOAH Magazine


This Californian band pump out some serious psych influenced twisted pop. Their self-titled debut album is out on December 6 and features Merril Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Watch out for remixes from Anticon pair Jel and Odd Nosdam in the imminent future too. In the meantime though, listen to ‘Rainbow Diamond’, a track from the album, right here: ‘Rainbow Diamond’
Download

- Bowlegs Music Reviews


This Californian band pump out some serious psych influenced twisted pop. Their self-titled debut album is out on December 6 and features Merril Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Watch out for remixes from Anticon pair Jel and Odd Nosdam in the imminent future too. In the meantime though, listen to ‘Rainbow Diamond’, a track from the album, right here: ‘Rainbow Diamond’
Download

- Bowlegs Music Reviews


Psychedelic/electronic fusion band Mwahaha are set to release their debut self-titled LP on December 6th. The new album was recorded with Eli Crews (Deerhoof, Tune-Yards, WHY?, Exray's), who also mixed the album at New and Improved Studios in Oakland, CA. While in Oakland, Mwahaha were able to snag some of the local bands to help with drumming on the album and even got Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards to contribute vocals to the track "Love". Mwahaha have released two singles from the new album and you can download both "Sleep Deep" and "Rainbow Diamond" after the jump.
- Earbuddy


Home
PREMIERE: Mwahaha - Sleep Deep

Posted by Shannon Hassett

Tags: rock, electro psych

I always think it's a good sign when a band commits to its reinvention. Take Mwahaha for instance, who with a new drummer arose from the ashes of electronic trio Ned. You can hear a dusting of that past in the group's current core of psych, employing all sorts of analog equipment for wide-reaching pop. "Sleep Deep" is a great example of that range, Ross Peacock's new wave-baritone percolating over humming synth. The self-titled LP drops December 6, and watch for a guest spot by fellow Oaklander (and practice space-sharer) Merrill Garbus.
- RCRD LBL




You Should Know: Mwahaha

With one part Ross Peacock (formerly of Oakland scene-stars Clipd Beaks) and two parts Nathan and Cyrus Tilton (formerly of bay area band Ned, also with Peacock), plus guest vocals by current Oaktown sensation Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, Mwahaha is bursting with people who call the sunny side of the bay home.

Check out their psychedelic infused rock with this free download of “Rainbow Diamond” and be on the lookout for the whole album dropping December 6th on their own Mwahaha Music or watch this recent performance from The Uptown.

--Justine Fields - The Deli


Former Clipd Beak and Ned members form a more sinister cult band.
Mwahaha

Oakland's Mwahaha is comprised of former Clipd Beaks member Ross Peacock and brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton of Bay Area cult band Ned. The name suggests evil plots and the music delivers a weird darkness of lasers and menacing drum machine glitches. On our debut "Poinsettia" the Mwahaha evildoers conceive a distorted boss level intro before finding a comfort zone that hints at TV On The Radio in dance-rock mode. As layers of effects begin fuggin' with the program, Mwahaha settle into sinister sci-fi static and radar blip funk to keep us on our toes. - Impose Magazine


I guarantee you will be hearing more about Mwahaha in the coming months. This Oakland 4-piece blends crazy psychedelia with analog drum machines and thick synth lines, making for an all-out aural treat that deserves repeated headphone listens. Their self-titled record (out December 6) features indie darling Merrill Garbus of tUnE-YarDs, and was mixed and partially recorded by Eli Crews (Deerhoof, Tune-Yards, WHY?, Restiform Bodies). Anticon‘s Jel and Odd Nosdam are both currently confirmed for remixes in the near future as well. Keep an eye on these guys. You can also preview another great track from their record called “Poinsettia” over at their Bandcamp page.
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You might call Ross Peacock a closet perfectionist. On the outside, he looks like a West Oakland garage rocker from central casting: tall, rangy, Camel cigarette jammed between his lips, drawly speaking voice, Band-Aid on his left index finger, which he cut while attempting to pry open a microphone case with a screw driver. He drives a large white van, lives in a run-down house that used to be a church chapel, wears torn tank tops, and walks with the jaunty rhythm of a Hollywood chimney sweep. He doesn't necessarily look like the kind of person who maps things out in his head, and then tries to nail every last detail.

With respect to his creative work, though, Peacock is meticulous almost to a fault. Completely self-taught, he's been in the Bay Area band scene for about a decade — some of which was spent in the experimental noise outfit, Clip'd Beaks, but most of which he devoted to Ned, a bizarro electronic band that he retired three years ago, in order to start a new band, Mwahaha. The impetus, Peacock said, was "some cliché rock 'n' roll stuff" (ennui, inter-band drama, a sudden desire to evolve) and the new group actually has three of the same core members, albeit with a new moniker, a new drummer, and a new compositional process. To him, it's a vast improvement.

"You know, some bands can feed off tension," he said, waxing philosophical as he relit a burnt-out cigarette stub. "Like Fleetwood Mac. Everyone in Fleetwood Mac is fucking each other — literally — and they manage to make some really great, mellow music." He paused a beat. "That wasn't the case with Ned."

Putting all the drama to rest and starting from scratch was liberating, he confessed. And it shows in Mwahaha's new self-titled album. Two years in the making, it's 45 minutes of beautifully distorted melodic fuzz, most of it pumped through a guitar or bass amp, or an MS-20 modular synth. Peacock dredged up a picture on his cell phone to show what the MS-20 looks like: a mess of chords and wires over a soundboard about the size of a breadbox. It resembles the type of switchboard that a phone operator might have used in the 1960s. The band members, who cite Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, and Miles Davis as some of their greatest influences, have also tried odd tactics like surgically opening an amp, knifing the speaker cone on both sides, and putting it back together. "I think Ray Davies from The Kinks did that," Peacock said. Our bass player, Nathan Tilton, read it in a book somewhere, and said, 'Hey guys, I think we should try this.'"

The three members of Mwahaha — vocalist Peacock, and brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton, who play bass and guitar, respectively — are a unique breed of modern musician. They eschew computer software, preferring instead to use vintage synths, drum machines, and other analogue equipment. Peacock, who says he fetishizes old gear to an almost unhealthy degree, rattles off the names of his synthesizers as though they were refreshing soft drinks: "Yamaha CS-15. Korg MS-20. ARP Solina String Ensemble." ("That's one of Brian Eno's favorite things," he interjected.) They devise weird concepts for songs, like Peacock's idea that his ballad, "Love," was meant as a duet between male and female country singers — the song is a study in contrasts, pairing warm, bright, hymnal harmonies with zigzagging guitar and programmed drums.

No one in the band reads music, but they're well respected in the free-jazz crowd. And, while they appreciate pretty melodies, they also enjoy making sound for sound's sake. The song "Rivers and Their Teeth" begins with the sound of water splashing. Apparently, Cyrus set up a cluster of microphones around the koi pond in his backyard, and recorded the sound of band members dropping boulders into the water. "That's when it leaves sound mode, and becomes more of a movie," Peacock said.

A long history of artistic collaboration might explain the guys' willingness to take risks together. Peacock met Cyrus roughly a decade ago. The former was slinging lattes at a local cafe, the latter was a working sculptor and frequent patron. The two hit it off, started hanging out, cut a few tracks on Peacock's eight-track recorder, and eventually became roommates. When Nathan moved to the Bay Area from the Tilton brothers' hometown of Eagle River, Alaska, the three decided to form a band in earnest. They played warehouse shows around town, opening for similarly weird acts like Subtle and The Locust. They dropped one album and a seven-inch, neither of which got a lot of mileage. Their MySpace profile picture showed two guys in space suits.

Peacock was reticent to speak on why it all dissolved. He thought about it, lit another cigarette, held the nub dangerously close to his mop of curly blond hair. "We've evolved, a little," he said tentatively. "It's a little more focused of an effort, I would say." Nathan thought up the band's new name on a lark, and the others cottoned to it easily, if only because it seemed like every other name was taken. They rented out a studio in Fruitvale in the same building as tUnE-yArDs, whose members eventually became friends. (Singer Merrill Garbus does a harmony part on "Love.") They focused more purposefully on songwriting and rehearsing. At present, the division of labor is about equal for composing and arranging, though Peacock still writes all the lyrics. He recently got a new gig scoring soundtracks for video games, which allows him to work on music full-time.

So far, Mwahaha has played only three shows in its current iteration. Onstage, the musicians try to replicate their album format as much as possible, down to those little sounds that creep in between lines. That calls for a pretty complicated rig, and a setup that's not exactly conducive to high-energy performance, Peacock said. Video clips of the band's recent show at the Uptown show the singer hunched studiously over a large bed of studio equipment, nodding his head, adjusting knobs, and pushing buttons. Cyrus and Nathan hang back, their instruments largely obscured by two more synthesizers. Drummer James Murphy, of the band White Cloud, anchors the rhythm section. He's on his way to becoming an official band member.

Despite the amount of concentration and the complex choreographed dance that Mwahaha's live format demands, it's thrilling to watch. Perhaps that's because the music, which is gorgeously detailed and refined on record, is equally gorgeous live. Peacock said that was the group's original goal when it changed names and pared down to trio form. And even if Mwahaha traded the glamour of garage rock for the romance of analogue machines, it has enough creative juice to ultimately become one of the best working rock bands in the Bay Area. (Peacock resists the term "rock" at all costs, preferring adjectives like "psychedelic," "noise," and "electronic.") The same day as our interview, Mwahaha was scheduled to shoot a video for its song "Rainbow Diamond," complete with black light, green screens with projected paints, and belly dancers. If Peacock had his druthers, they would shoot for hours, fine-tuning every last detail. But the result would be as close to perfect as a garage band could get. - East Bay Express


Discography

Mwahaha... self titled out Dec. 6th

Mwahaha was recently played on KCRW in LA and is now starting to be put on heavy rotation at various stations around the country

Photos

Bio

What's in a name? Oakland, CA's Mwahaha answers that question with a smirk, but the sounds that emanate from their forthcoming debut album are no joke. Psychedelic ebb & flows, electronic undercurrents, and elated pop flourishes bring into focus an attention to detail that's staggering. The band, consisting of Ross Peacock (formerly of Clipd Beaks ) and brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton (who were all previously in the Bay Area cult band Ned), have completed their debut full length album Mwahaha, set for release December 6th on their own Mwahaha Music imprint. The swirling, epic "Rainbow Diamond" is available as a free download. Instruments are filtered through an array of analog synths, analog drum machines exist in harmony with live drums, and morphing walls of sound allow more pop oriented material to be in harmony with the sprawling sonic landscapes elsewhere on the album. Reference points such as Matthew Dear's Black City, The Secret Machines, and the Silver Apples are apt, but Mwahaha carves out their own sound and approach, regardless of the comparisons.

The band tracked most of the album at their own studio. They recorded mostly with Eli Crews (Deerhoof, Tune-Yards, WHY?, Exray's) , who also mixed the album at New and Improved Studios in Oakland, CA. The tangible energy of the Oakland scene is something they were inspired by as well, as the city (and Bay Area in general) continues to burst with new bands, ideas, and collaborations. Mwahaha took full advantage of this, enlisting the help of their friends from other bands to lend drum parts, as well as the unique voice of Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards on one of the album stand-outs "Love," who sings......... "I am the branch you see, and you are the fragile leaves, this life it is the cold cold wind, that comes and takes you away from me." Additionally, Anticon luminaries Jel and Odd Nosdam will be on tap for remixing duties later this year.

The members of Mwahaha have been writing and performing together for close to 10 years. Compared to their previous band, Mwahaha is giant leap forward, achieving greater rewards while still pursuing sonic exploration. And the album itself? It exists for a very important reason. "There are times you see a band perform and you're blown away by the live show, but you bring the album home and that special something just isn't captured in the recordings," Peacock says. "We weren't going to perform live until we had a record that the live show would have to live up to... something that documented the changes and struggles we all deal with, but with space to grow with and into what the listener needs it to be." Indeed, it sounds like Mwahaha will have the last laugh after all.