The next level
Left for dead, the Mathematicians return more powerful than before
The Mathematicians are a zany trio of nerds from upstate New York creating poppy electronic music that brings to mind Devo and ‘80s synth-driven dance music mixed with Beastie Boys-style hip-hop beats. The Mathematicians are composed of Dewi Decimal (vocals, keyboards), Albert Gorithm IV (vocals, drums, sampler) and Pete Pythagoras (vocals, bass).
Pythagoras offered great insight on the names of the band’s two albums: 2004’s Level One, and Level Two, which was released last year.
“We pretty much started at the beginning, as it is a good place to start,” he said. “We decided that as long as we felt we were progressing, we could progress our [record] titles correspondingly. Numbers can increase infinitum, so we have the potential to go as far as we want to go.”
This optimism is well earned considering that the band nearly was stopped in its tracks by a brutal act brought on by jealousy and fear. Last Halloween, during one of their gigs, the band was abducted by a rival band called The Terrorists who fatally beat and mutilated the members of the Mathematicians while filming the whole bloody crime (the video can be seen on the band’s MySpace page, myspace.com/mathematicians).
But the Mathematicians have very smart friends who were able to bionically reconstruct and resurrect the members of the band. The reconstruction procedure, termed Operation Phoenix, not only brought the band members back to life, but also enabled them with fantastic strength and charismatic powers.
How has the tour been going?
It’s been going fairly well. We had a fun time playing at SXSW even though we only played one party. We got to see a bunch of friends and check out a bunch of bands all over town.
Are you doing all of your own booking?
Yeah, in places where we don’t know anybody or are having trouble [getting gigs] we post MySpace bulletins to spread the word that we need help, and people actually come through at times when we’ve had rough spots. The Internet has changed the face of things a lot.
Your tour includes a Ping-Pong tournament in Detroit. Is Ping-Pong a passion for the Mathematicians or is it just another paying gig?
We were supposed to play a massive Math and Science Fair but that was postponed, so it was changed into a Ping-Pong tournament instead.
So are the Mathematicians semi-robots now that you’ve been reconstructed?
Well, we are now.
Tell me about Operation Phoenix. What were The Terrorists after?
Our Weapons of Math Instruction seemed to chase [The Terrorists] a little bit. We still aren’t sure what they were all about. We saw the replay tape. Basically they felt that [as a band] they were always left in the shadows. They are OK as a band. They practice a lot, we’ve been told.
How were you captured?
All the Mathematicians were at a show watching our friends The Eraserheads play. They are a great hip-hop band from our town. In the middle of their set one of The Terrorists came in with a weapon and extracted us from the club. Then we were bound and gagged and driven somewhere we didn’t know. They had a satellite link-up so that everybody at the club could watch what was happening to us, which was a pretty traumatic experience. I escaped at the last minute but [The Terrorists] killed me when I ran back to the club.
So when The Terrorists took over the stage and played, did they do covers of The Mathematicians’ songs or did they do a set of their own music?
I think they were misled youth because they thought if they played our songs but got us out of the picture, that would make it a good time for them. But after they did that they seemed to give up on the whole thing because we haven’t heard from them since we were reconstructed bionically. So now we can totally whip their butt when they try to pull some crap like that.
Does this have something to say about your fans since they just watched you get kidnapped and stood in front of the stage while The Terrorists played the set you were supposed to play?
Our fans may be passive and bookish but in light of the whole Guantanamo thing our fans have been showing a lot of opposition to the way the government has been handling potential and suspected terrorists. There were a lot of fans there and they probably could have taken The Terrorists out pretty easily. We have more of a Dr. King Jr. than Malcolm X type of following, so instead during our reconstruction and resurrection a lot of fans made donations.