Artist Profile of Joel Mullins

by | Nov 16, 2020 | New Artist Interviews | 0 comments

Recording Artist: Joel Mullins

“Joel Mullins is an Austin-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who first rose to prominence in the early 2000s as songwriter and frontman for Austin indie pop quintet Tammany Hall Machine.  More recently, he can be found playing keyboards and guitar for one of Austin’s best-kept secrets, indie rock stalwarts The Pons.”

What inspired your new song?
Joel’s debut solo single, “I Know When We Go”, is a song about memory and surrender.  Steeped in melancholy imagery and mysterious metaphors, it’s an ephemeral song born out of grief and existential crisis. “I Know When We Go” is one in a large collection of songs written in late 2019/early 2020 after an 8-year hiatus from songwriting. This burst of creativity has resulted in the most personal and emotionally complex songs of Joel’s life.

Describe your writing process?
The song was written late one night after a rehearsal with The Pons. Arriving home around midnight and craving some wine and a few minutes with my recently purchased 2008 Huss & Dalton acoustic guitar, I started playing the repetitive two-chord guitar figure that forms the basis of the song and then immediately began writing lyrics. The lyrics are mostly stream of consciousness meditations on letting go. Soon after the COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, I recorded the main acoustic guitar part and sent it to The Pons drummer, Steve Sanders, who added an electronic drum loop. Those tracks formed the backing track that the rest of the song grew out of. Pons’ bassist Ruby Painter added bass, while Steve Sanders added additional acoustic drums. Tammany Hall Machine guitarist Geoff Dupree added electric guitar. I sang and played acoustic guitar, Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, and my son’s marimba. The entire song was recorded remotely in home studios due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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