There’s something a little chilling in the dense machine-gun rock of Mouth Washington. Scream-heavy, but quickly dialed back, the band swings its moodiness around like a broad sword, slaying doubters. At any moment, you might be moved or frightened.

Read what guitarist Maxwell Hansen had to say, then check out this explosive “post-everything” quartet when it lights up 131 Washington Ave in Portland on Saturday night as part of a loaded five-band bill. Mouth Washington also plays Space Gallery on Tuesday.

What are the origins of Mouth Washington?

Mouth Washington was born out of boredom. Spending too much time in one room in the town of Greene, Maine, will get you to start singing songs that don’t exist yet. It only seemed natural to start making them louder and faster, and after a few shows it seemed like people were responding to it. The whole idea is to create something that people want to be a part of. I feel fortunate to be a part of it.

How is your debut record coming together?

“Dichotomy” is something we didn’t expect to spend this much time on. Luckily for us, we have someone who understands us not only as songwriters but as people. If there’s anyone in this community who understands the musical process, it’s Ron Harrity. One of the most easy-goin’, open-minded people I know. If all goes accordingly, it should be out by the end of the year.

Who are some of the bands you admire in town and why?

Dead End Armory. The reason I moved to this town. There’s something in Wesley Hartley’s words that will stab you in the heart. Anytime I hear a new song of his, it’s my inspiration for the next month. His new band, Splendora Colt, is fantastic as well. We are also big fans of bands that begin with “H,” like Haru Bangs, Huak and Heavy Breathing.

What happens at a Mouth Washington show that’s unique?

I like to think we bring a certain environment around with us — the depth of cultural influences, not just musically but what we have seen and where we have been. I fear one might quickly pigeonhole us into a certain musical genre, but really we’re drawing on a well of influences from Wu-Tang Clan to Bruce Springsteen.

How well have you mastered Black Flag’s “Damaged” for the upcoming Big Easy show (Cover to Cover)?

I don’t think any of us are too worried about it. “Damaged” is burned into all of our heads. It’s one of those albums that you can play over and over, and it will still give you that insane feeling. If there are words to describe it, I don’t know them. The specific reason we chose that over other classics is because Black Flag was like the bus in that movie “Speed.” Mouth Washington is just Keanu trying to wrap his head around the situation.

How have changes to the lineup affected the sound of the band?

Well, it’s been a long time coming. I started playing under the name Mouth Washington when it was me with an acoustic. It was only natural for my brother to be the backbone. Since then, we’ve had three bass players, and now a second guitarist. It’s all just reinforcing those original riffs. The band now is all made up of old friends. Even though things are only just coming together now, we all have know each other for years.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer.

filed under: