Maudlin Of The Well - Biography

This band's profile is 'invisible', meaning that it's much less prominent on the site - either because it's incomplete, or maybe doesn't entirely fit MS format.




Fall 1992 - high school begins. I meet Jason Byron on the school bus, even though we grew up across the street from each other. We get seated next to one another in mandatory religion class (Catholic) and cause trouble, so I'm transferred to different religion class and seated in front of Greg, who taps my shoulder constantly to talk about metal. A friendship begins.

Over the course of the next couple years, each of us is making solo home recordings. My first collaboration with Greg comes in 1994 with the song "Uncovering the Gift." Byron and I have a small collaboration in the form of me contributing a track for his "Twisted Christmas Tales" album the same year, and Greg and Byron also do a collaborative EP in 1995. The solo recordings continue - Mine is called Spoonion, Byron's is called Buttkey, and Greg's is called Baliset. In 1995, Greg and I form a band called Celestial Providence with Chris Korzinski and David Waters, who is Jason Bitner's brother. Celestial Providence is a straight-up astral metal band. We write some songs and rehearse a bit, but never record or gig. Through Dave, I meet Jason Bitner.

At this point, Byron and I have been listening to TIAMAT's Wildhoney constantly and trying to astral project to it. We buy CDs by dozens of bands we've never heard of based on the album covers or song titles hoping to find something similar to Wildhoney - not even TIAMAT's other albums are really comparable. We get to talking about how there's stuff missing from the music we've been buying, so why not make our own that has all of the elements we want to hear in a band? We record Through Languid Veins on Greg's 4-track; Greg is originally enlisted to just do guitar solos. We come up with the band name in Byron's basement at age 17. TLV receives one review ever - in the Inferno webzine. I send out about 30 copies of the demo to friends and randoms on the My Dying Bride mailinglist. A semester later, new demos are made on the 4-track, this time with Jason Bitner joining in with some trumpet - this material would later be re-worked into Begat of the Haunted Oak...An Acorn.

Now at Hampshire College, I meet Andrew Dickson, Terran Olson, Josh Seipp-Williams, and Sky Cooper. Andrew, Josh, and I are playing in a band called Captain Smiley. Hampshire has a tiny recording studio which music majors are allowed to use any time, with limitations. Andrew plays drums on some new songs, which became Begat of the Haunted Oak. Greg and Byron record their parts on a weekend visit. We consider it a finished album; I continue my unfocused studies and Greg puts some audio samples from Begat... up on the internet. Andreas Katsambas from his newly created The End Records somehow hears our stuff and offers to release an album, but wants us to re-record everything. I worked a painstaking year on Begat and didn't want to go back to it and start over, so I'm not all into the idea of re-recording at the time. School goes on and Begat... is more or less forgotten about.

At this point, I'm playing in a jazz/funk/fusion band with Andrew, Terran Olson, Jeff Barnett, and Sky Cooper called Ghost House. Hampshire's music department holds a showcase for underclassmen; Ghose House plays a set, and I throw together a band to play "A Conception Pathetic" - the first live incarnation of motW, which Greg couldn't make because of his own school function. The band was Andrew Dickson, Terran Olson, Josh Seipp-Williams, Aaron Germain, Jeff Barnett, and myself. There may have been others, but I really can't remember!

I go back into Hampshire's studio and record a new album called Odes to Darksome Spring with Andrew, Greg, Byron, Jason, and now Terran and Sky. This also gets finished and shelved. The following year, still at Hampshire, we do For My Wife with some additional playing by Aaron Germain and Scott Pauker. As this album is being wrapped up, I meet Maria Fountoulakis and we arrange to have her sing on a couple tracks. I think I remember it raining almost the entire time this album was being made - It may have been November or March or one of those nastier months. The album gets finished and shelved.

In early '99 I get an email from Ted Tringo from Autumn Tears. He has recently created a label called Dark Symphonies to self-release Autumn Tears' music, and is interested in releasing other bands. He has somehow heard the long-forgotten audio files Greg had posted online and wants to put something out. We weren't using that stuff for anything, so we say "why not?" At this point, we had not been considering that motW would ever go anywhere.

Now considered "demos", the three albums we made have tracks seIected from them and remixed by Adam Dutkiewicz who later becomes mega-famous in the band Killswitch Engage. "My Fruit Psychobells" is released in 1999.

Ted offers us a chance to play at Milwaukee Metalfest in 2000, but Andrew had graduated a year earlier and motW is basically dead, except for the fact that MFP has just been released. No new material has been worked on in almost a year, since Andrew's departure, and everything I'm doing creatively is going into other projects at school. Still, we don't want to pass up the MMF, as many of us have been wanting to attend for years. I knew Sam Gutterman from a class and we get to talking about his Ulver shirt one day. MotW comes up, MMF comes up. Sam is interested in helping out, initially on guitar. He gives me a tape he made of his own music of searing black metal. I'm totally amazed by not only the music but also the drumming. Turns out Sam is also the drummer on the tape - so he joins up for the purposes of a couple festival gigs that Ted has arranged. Josh Seipp-Williams and Cas Lucas join up as guitarists, also the the fests. Emily Eynon sits in for the MMF as well.

Basically, what we have now is a thrown-together lineup with a gig in a couple weeks. MotW's first three professional gigs are fests - the Worcester Metalfest, New Jersey Metalfest, and the MMF in 2000, although we do have two informal shows at Hampshire between the Worcester fest and MMF, with Emma Walker and Emily Eynon sitting in. The fest gigs are infamously bad, due to the fact that he have just thrown the live band together and have maybe one rehearsal for each show, because of logistical reasons (it being summer and school being out)... that, plus the utter disrespect and disinterest from the fests' sound guys. Sound guys at Metalfests seem to know guitar/bass/drums/vocals and that's it. As if they'd never seen a horn in their lives.

Anyway, after MMF, college is over and Greg, Byron, Terran, Jason, and Cas all move to Boston to be near friends and continue the band for lack of a better post-college plan. Sam and Josh stay out in Western Massachusetts, which is just a couple hours away, but motW is basically inactive for months while we try to get used to real life. I'm writing the whole time however, and eventually things come together enough to be able to record Bath and Leaving Your Body Map.

Right towards the end of 2000, Sam and I start to demo some new ideas at Hampshire College's studio. We record the guitar and drums for 3 songs, and then we graduate and I move to Boston. With no local rehearsal space, Sam and I are using my parents' basement in Connecticut to rehearse the new album. Cas moves to Oakland right before we go into the studio, and finally, via a relatively long-distance band relationship, we are ready to record. During the recording process, we decide to play live again, so Nick Kyte joins up, although unfortunately about a month too late to be able to appear on the album. I knew Nick from back at school - he was living in Western Mass. and working at Hampshire near the mail room, where I worked. We got to talking about my King Diamond shirt, and he mailed me a CD of his band, The Year of Our Lord, and bought MFP off me. He also sent me a letter stating he was interested in working together. I kept him in mind and called him almost 2 years later in 2001, when coincidentally he had just moved to Boston from Western Mass.

Originally shorter, Bath/LYBM becomes a double-album when Ted suggests including some older songs along with the new material. The writing process is innocent, dreamy, unique... all albums' processes are unique really, that's why they result in that particular work. It's a representation of oneself at a particular time. At this time, I'm keen on the idea of an "astral library" - an extraplanar place where all art already exists. This makes the artist into simply a messenger who visits the astral library in an altered state, reads, sees, or listens to something, and then brings it back and reports it, or interprets it, to the world - basically a more new-agey verson of a Muse; a more adventurous version of having visions.

I cime up with a guitar tuning that really touches me in a weird way, and tune the acoustic to it. I leave it that way by my bedside, and each night just before sleeping, I hit the strings so it resonates as I fall asleep. Ultimately, the experiment really works - Interlude 4 is entirely dreamt. The songs in this tuning appear across the double-album in the order they were written, to show the development from conscious to unconscious creation. Byron devises a puzzle within the lyrics and liner notes to go along with the project's concept - that of the true, real Muse. Interlude 4 is the apex of motW's music; it is the ultimate goal of what motW has been trying to achieve since its inception 6 years earlier.

- Toby Driver - 2005

Since that time in 2005, the band temporarily reformed for the recording and release of some remaining material, an album known as Part the Second. Entirely funded by fan donations, this album was released for free as a download from the band's main web page on May 14, 2009. It never received any sort of physical pressing, but options were given as to the specific file types for download. Any fan who contributed to the album's funding is listed in the credits as an executive producer.

Also of note, the band Kayo Dot was formed after the end of maudlin of the Well. Several members of maudlin of the Well (such as Sam Gutterman, Terran Olson, and most notably Toby Driver) continued to create similar music under the new band heading.