Album art (yep that's a cake) by Sara Phoenix with design from Jon Yu
If you've ever seen David Mueller play bass guitar for the band Birds of Avalon, you'd know that he puts his heart and soul into playing music live. Mueller's bass provides a solid base for Cheetie and Paul to shread on top of, but it's not as simple as your standard bass guitar licks. Mueller adds a little funk to his baselines that defines a large part of the psychedelic rock that is BoA. Just recently, at last week's show at Kings Barcade, it was Mueller's bass and voice that almost perfectly channeled Sam Herring in Birds of Avalon's cover of the Future Islands tune In the Fall.
That Future Islands cover provides a nice segway between Birds of Avalon and the Heads on Sticks project (you know, that rad band that opened for The Rosebuds at Tir Na Nog back in April) that Mueller has been working on for years on the side of his work with BoA. Over the past few years, we've profiled a few of the latest albums by Heads of Sticks, including Oak City Version and Mockingbird, both released last year.
On each of the previous albums, Mueller / Heads on Sticks explored a wide variety of sonic territory that is hard to classify. Each song is an experiment in musical textures, pushing boundaries in different directions in each track. The new album, Brutis and Short, continues this exploration with six tracks that venture off into their own territories but come back around to find themselves connected both sonically and stylistically. The third track, You Go On, dips into dub territory, bringing a bass groove with it that we've yet to hear from Mueller. Lovely Summer beach dub territory.
Although Heads on Sticks is solely the work of one man during recording, Mueller has enlisted a handful of great local musicians to become his bandmates. The band has started playing more local shows, including the forementioned free Hopscotch show and one of their first full band shows back in November at Tir Na Nog at a New Raleigh sponsored LBLB (with videos from Yuxtapongo!). The live band is fabulous and we'll be informing you very soon of a way you'll be able to see them later this month. They are playing Hopscotch as well.
When not working on Heads on Sticks album tracks, Mueller has also been remixing a few local bands, including Whatever Brains for their remix album, as well as a track for Chapel Hill rapper Juan Huevos. You can check out those tracks over at the Heads on Sticks Bandcamp Page.
New Raleigh asked Mueller a few things about the new album and what is next for Heads on Sticks?
NR: You played everything on this album again, correct?
NR: Can you tell me a little more about the title?
DM: It's actually a quote from Hobbes concerning the nature of existence, though it's often credited to Calvin.
NR: How do you see this EP different than you last few records?
DM: Now that there is a live band, the songs went through a longer and more varied incubation period before being recorded. Most of these songs have been in our live set for at least a few months. I also had some crucial assistance on the recording end. This EP was mixed with Greg Elkins at Desolation Row Studios, where I also did some of the tracking (the rest was done by me at home) and it was mastered by Sara Register at The Lodge in NYC
NR: What's next for David Mueller? Heads on Sticks?
DM: I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity recently to collaborate with a few folks locally on the production end of things. I've just produced a track for rapper Juan Huevos (http://headsonsticks.bandcamp.com/album/bull-horns), remixed a song from the new Whatever Brains LP (http://whateverbrains.tumblr.com/) and there are also plans in the works to produce some tracks for Goner. Production is definitely something I'm interested in and hope to have the opportunity to do more of, though at this point I'm still very much a beginner. Aside from that, I'm already working on a new Heads on Sticks full length that should drop sometime before the sun becomes a red giant.
NR: Any other shows coming up besides the show that we are about to announce?
DM: We've got a few things coming up but the main show we're preparing for right now is our set at Hopscotch. We're playing the Saturday night showcase at 5 Star with Family Dynamics, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Dawn Gloden & Rosy Cross - it's going to be nutz