“Five Minutes With” Toronto-Based Rock Trio Mute Choir

Producer and songwriter Sam Arion founded Mute Choir following an identity crisis. He is joined by fellow musical polymaths Milan Sarkadi and Iris Waters; a team brought together by their thirst for experimentation and a long-established songwriting bond between Arion and Waters. The three are involved in almost every aspect of their work, from production and mixing to artwork, delivering a vision that is distinctly their own.

Loosely defining their style as organized chaos, Mute Choir has the ability to encapsulate both the essence of a cluttered downtown as well as the lonesome ambiance of insomnia. The group seeks to make sense of the noise around them, searching for a middle ground between conflicting forces.

Mute Choir
Mute Choir Photo Credit: Michael Alsop

Name: Mute Choir

Latest Release: Debut album Silent Conversations

Latest Single: “Shadowboxing” and “Familiar Ways”

Latest Video: “Shadowboxing”

Favourite Restaurant:

Milan: Odd Seoul – for their Bulgogi Cheesesteak sandwich- sponsor me. Has a band ever been sponsored by a sandwich before?

Sam: Milan’s house – he’s a great cook.

Iris: Cool Runnings at Main and Gerrard. I have not had better roti anywhere else. I would put the Bulgogi Cheesesteak on our rider though.

Favourite band as a teenager:

Iris: Alexisonfire.

Sam: Nirvana.

Milan: Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Favourite band now:

Sam: The Eric Andre show’s house band.

Milan: IGOR.

Iris: James Blake’s live trio.

Guilty Pleasure Song:

Milan: Technotronic – Pump Up the Jam.

Iris: I don’t believe in “guilty” pleasures but if you search HOME DEPOT TYPE BEAT on Youtube, uh… yeah. I can’t explain that kind of pleasure.

Sam: The Tarzan soundtrack.

Live Show Ritual:

Milan: Pace around the venue anxiously until it’s time to play.

Iris: An aggressive amount of lip rolls (shoutout to my singing friends) and an even more aggressive amount of lunges.

Sam: Browse cute puppy pictures on Instagram!

Favourite local artist:

Sam: Aunty Social and Deanna Petcoff.

Iris: …I agree with Sam but also love Weaves!!!!

Milan: …also Jaunt!

Sneaky Dees nachos, pasta from Terroni or a superfood salad from Fresh?

Iris: Gimme that salad and throw some pasta on top. I don’t care about breaking rules. Jam those two restaurants together. Gimme that super pasta salad from Fresheroni.

Sam: Sneaky Dees Nachos!

Milan: Nachos babyyyy although I can make way better nachos at home.

Queen or College St?

Sam: I lived on Queen for a few years and it kinda feels like home turf now so I’m gonna have to go with Queen.

Milan: College St – gimme some fried chicken after a movie at the Royal yeeee.

Iris: Queen Street, specifically Queen West. Thrift at Black Market, buy a pint of blueberries from Garden View and then showcase my sub-par pool skills upstairs at the Rivoli. That’s a good day.

Trinity Bellwoods or High Park, Riverdale or Kew Gardens?

Sam: Trinity! Slack lines are fun.

Milan: Bellwoods.

Iris: Riverdale for the hilltop view, Bellwoods for the chilled-out anarchy.

EP or LP?

Sam: LP all the way.

Iris: Depends on the album! Sometimes an EP is not enough but there are some LPs I hardly ever have the time/energy to listen through entirely.


Early bird or night owl?

Milan: Early bird for me. There is not enough time in the day!

Iris: Night human. I’m not graceful enough to steal that glorious animal’s title. Ask me to stay up late, sure, but by no means can I do an Exorcist-level headspin and then catch a mouse under the cover of darkness. With my beak? Forget about it.

Sam: Insomniac. Also can confirm that Iris is not an owl.

Road or studio?

Sam: Chicken or the egg?

Milan: BOTH but mostly get us out of the studio (laughs)

Iris: They both have their charm but there is no feeling like travelling with a lovely troupe and bringing your music to different places, although we are studio bugs at heart and when we’re on the road we kind of bring the studio with us – the iPhone Voice Memos app is our friend and we spend a lot of time sampling ourselves shouting into rooms that have cool reverb. So, uh, yeah. Both. Final answer.

Swiss Chalet or Roti?

Milan: Swiss Chalet??? Obviously roti.

Iris: Can’t even believe this is a question. Roti for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Roti 4 life.

Sam: 400% roti.

Where can we follow you?

Any shows or albums coming up?

Debut album Silent Conversations is out now.