Mutation are out on the road touring third album Dark Black. We caught up with co-writer Scott Lee Andrews to get the lowdown on the album and taking Mutation out on tour for the very first time.

R13: Compared to the first two Mutation albums, it feels like 'Dark Black' ramps it up a notch in terms of intensity. Was that a natural evolution or a conscious decision to make it more extreme?

Scott: This is the first of the Mutation records I have personally had a hand in writing, so there was a benchmark I felt that could be raised, but also due to some unfortunate timing - both Ginger's and my own mental state at the time of writing coloured the record. The senses were dulled to the point of pushing into those extreme places to get a rise.

R13: There are a few high profile guests on the album, as there has been on previous albums; was that something you always intended to do and was it an easy sell to get those guys on board?

Scott: 'Dark Black' was mainly just Ginger and I - So on this occasion the guest were chosen to add flavour to a two-man effort. We tried to keep the chosen few broad and not from the same musical spheres. Devin Townsend was a long time coming, and something many fans really wanted to see come together. Other's like Mauro Pawlowski (Ex-Deus) and Arthur Shepherd (Primitive Weapons / Ex-Gay for Johnny Depp) were personal choices of mine - Both had not worked within the Mutation world before.

R13: Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to get on future Mutation releases?

Scott: I think that all depends on the direction of the next record and how it takes shape - I think Mike Patton and Al Jourgenson had been reached out to in the past, so who knows?

R13: A lot of bands say that they never listen to their own material, is that the case for you and is it different with this album because of its connection to the mental well being of the participants?

Scott: In regards to 'Dark Black' - The whole writing and demo session lasted just under a week. The tracking took place a little further down the line. It was revealing listing to some of the songs as we worked on a two track a day aim There was a period when I revisited the material it made my head go a little funny. Kind of like that feeling you have when you watch a film when you are ill, and if you get to see it again when you are fine, it has that sick vibe about it.

R13: I understand that Denzel has had to work quite hard to replicate the drum programming used on the album. Have you had to change anything as a result for the live shows? Or has he got it nailed?

Scott: Denzel did say he was not particularly looking forward to playing some of the material live - The 'Dark Black' tracks due to the fact the demo drums were patterns programmed not designed to be played by a human, and also the 'Error 500' material which he mentioned was mainly one take shots, written also with no intention of ever being played live. To his credit, he has nailed it, and also has manged to get a mic stuck in his face too.

R13: Speaking of the live shows, have rehearsals translated the studio sound into the live band environment as you'd hoped?

Scott: Much of the material from the previous two Mutation records featured at the very least a 5 piece set-up, and I had personally envsiaged the live band being a similar set-up. When the idea of a three piece came up I thought it was a joke. We have armed ourselves with a very very loud arsenal of sounds, played at extreme volume and have somehow coaxed a vibe which covers the sound of all 3 records.

R13: It's also been said that Mutation's music is a catharsis and that the live shows will be an outlet for frustration ans exorcising demons, so have rehearsals for the tour reaffirmed that and how much are you looking forward to the tour?

Scott: Having talked the talk in many of the interviews leading up to this tour - Even the rehearsal process has been extreme and very draining for multiple reasons. There must be a reason this unit is together, the types of conversations that have come up, those involved very much need this experience. I'm writing this in the van on the way to the first show (Leeds) and the shows are 100% what we all need.

R13: Where melody and hooks are key to much of Ginger's output, Mutation arguably appeals to a different demographic. It's been said that it's not for everyone so how much does it matter that people, or perhaps 'new' people like it? Beyond the financial implications of bums on seats!

Scott: Personally, I do not see Mutation as a project in Ginger's/The Wildheart's canon. That connect seems to be the reason as instant comparisons are made, and do not take to the group on it's own merits. The extreme side of Ginger's output has been dabbled with in the past, but this certainly swings much closer to the VERY heavier side. We are getting out onto the road to show it is not just a 'side project', but a band in our own right.

R13: Is 'Dark Black' the complete output from the sessions or are there additional tracks that might surface?

Scott: There was a track called 'Bravado' which was misplaced/filed away badly by myself. That appeared on the Japanese version of Dark Black in it's demo form - Otherwise everything that was writing during the demo sessions appeared very close in structure/vibe as we had intended.

R13: Being so open about the role that mental health has played in the creation of 'Dark Black' has seen a lot of positive comments on social media from people living with depression; is that an additional motivation to keep the project going?

Scott: We have both been very open about the various problems mental health issues have caused. Most definitely the creation of it spawned directly from a shared bout of a similar level of depression, which I imagine helped cancel out most of the elements which would have stopped any writing taking place at all. The album's coverage has brought many people out of the shadows to talk openly about feelings and situations that they succumb to and the fact the record has helped them. This was not an intention, but a very welcome side effect.

R13: Any thoughts on the future direction for Mutation? Can it get more extreme?

Scott: If I was involved, I have some ideas where the project could go beyond 'Dark Black' and mainly steer away from being 'Metal'. I'd like to explore different ways of causing sonic havoc without having to stick to the traditional formula of doing so.... More in a Tom Waits way as opposed to Messhugah for example. Who fucking knows?