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'You can make music with your mouth'
It took 30 jobs and two rehab stints for Mux Mool to produce his deep, quirky and haunting music.
Max Mool. It sounds great but doesn't really mean anything. At first glance, the music MM makes seems a bit like his name - off-beat and quirky. But like a great tune, it settles somewhere in your brain, nagging away till you hit the replay button one more time. It's not surprising, then, that his first song, Lost and found - discovered by Moodgadget Records and released on their Rorschach Suite compilation - went on to become one of iTunes' best electronic songs of 2006.
Brian Lindgren swapped freezing Minnesota - "a small town with a population of 60 people" - for a fast-paced New York lifestyle and became Mux Mool in 2006. A far cry from the sonic gibberish that's churned out and played in clubs, Lindgren's music is a curious amalgamation of classic video game sounds, stutter beats, electro hip-hop beats and French electronica, all of which is glazed with tape hiss and vinyl static.
"I know it's electronic music, " says the electronic tinkerer who released his latest album, Planet High School, in February. "But sometimes I feel like an old time-travelling musician with an M-Audio Trigger Finger instead of a guitar. "
Lindgren's music influences are varied, thanks to the mixtapes that his father used to make for him and his brother. So whether it was rock 'n' roll and Huey Lewis or rap artistes like Ice T, Lindgren grew up listening to everything. His music reflects that grab anything-around spirit. It may not sound too polished, but it sounds just right.
Frank and funny, Lindgren sprouts wisdom like a modern-day Buddha. And he has the perspective too. "Before fully pursuing music, I was fully pursuing alcohol, drama, and low-paying, low-responsibility jobs, " says Lindgren, who is a firm believer in the giving out free music.
He's not afraid to share stories of his hard life. "I have had about 30 jobs, fired from them all. I don't have much equipment. I just practised hard and slept on floors to be able to make music. No regrets, not complaining, didn't really seem that bad. Pursuing your passions can be enough sometimes, " the wrestling fan wrote on his Facebook page in response to a comment from a fan.
He went to rehab twice to clean up his act, and credits his being sober for the kind of music he creates. "If I'd continued drinking, I probably wouldn't have been alive to make music, " he once said in an interview. "When I became sober, that's when the music starting coming and that's when I picked up some production skills. "
Unlike other electronic music musicians and DJs who are constantly talking up the gear they're using and what's good for making music, Lindgren says quite bluntly that "you don't need any special gear". "I use an old laptop and some hand-me-down stuff and I make my beats with that. It's all in your head. You can make music with your mouth, that's really cheap. "
In an online magazine interview earlier this year, Lindgren, who also dabbles in visual art, said, "I've met a lot of would-be electronic musicians who don't seem to know their electronic music history. In short, electronic music was not always this popular, it did not always get you laid, it did not always play in clubs, you did not always get good money, and people did not always consider it to be music. Many people paved the way for us to live in the world we're in now. "
Eccentric to the core, Lindgren is also noted for his seemingly random song titles. Case in point - No black crayon, Jen & soda, SFW Porn, Ballad for Gloria Featherbottom. "Most of the time I just make the songs and slap on a cool-sounding name after it's done, " he joked. "I think of cool names and write them down and save them for later. So when it's release time, I just plug them where they fit. Some of them are completely random, " says the selfconfessed Star Trek junkie, who's currently playing in Australia before he heads to India for a three-city tour planned as the Heikenen Green Room Nights.
Mux Mool will perform in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, on June 20, 22 and 24, respectively.
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