Q & A with Muules


Sunshine Coast alt-rock trio, Muules are set to release their debut EP, ‘In The Lines Between’, available on all digital platforms from August 10th.

Following up on their frenetic first single, ‘Butch Teeth’ (which also features on the EP), ‘In The Lines Between’ showcases three different gears from Muules, including second single, ‘It Just Happens’ - a song that delves into the complexities and odd-timings of relationships that are destined to happen.

The ever-elusive and mysterious Phil spent some time hurling questions at the trio...

I know it's a very standard question but I must know, how did the band name "Muules" come about and what is the significance of the the gold, silver and bronze heads?

We tossed around a few names, and nothing was really sticking out as ‘us’. I guess we wanted to have a name that summed us up, and after thinking about it, we went with Mules because we’re stubborn bastards. Then we added the extra ‘u’ to be difficult (but also helps with SEO haha). Plus the name’s a sly nod to two musical influences.
The logo though, went through quite a few iterations. I love geometrical versions or sketches of animals, and wanted a mule head for each of the three of us, but in black and white terms, it looked a friggin mess.  Was trying to think of three colours that would work in that arrangement, but didn’t want primary colours, or bright colours, and the gold/silver/bronze arrangement worked well.  There’s no deep meaning to it - or maybe there is? Maybe deep down, because none of us are assigned a ‘colour’ it could mean that any of us is the gold or the silver or the bronze at any time.
We’re all the same when you turn off the lights anyway.
Except for Nick… he’s freakishly tall.

You've been described as "guitarless" in the press release I read (yes I actually read good sometimes). Would you say that's an accurate representation? Rhys would you describe yourself more of a guitar bassist or bass guitarist then?

Well there’s age-old arguments that basses aren’t guitars, they’re a bass. Think of it this way, you don’t call a Double-bass a violin or a cello just because they have a similar shape. Different purpose for the instruments, and happy to discuss it with anyone that chooses to debate it (over a beer, of course).

I’m a bassist. I just happen to borrow some sounds and techniques from guitarists.

The band has done some great covers lately and I'm interested to know when, not if you will be releasing a covers album and what would be the top 5 songs you guys would like to see on it?

A covers album would be cool.  Muules sings all your favourite hits! A little hard to organise our way through the legalities of it all though. Closest thing we could do would be to live stream a full covers set and put it up on our Youtube channel.

The whole covers thing is pretty interesting. With the reaction we got from doing The Presets’ ‘My People’, we just decided it would be fun to test ourselves and and try and do one cover a month (pending timing and all that). We really loved (and hurt ourselves) doing that Audioslave cover of ‘Cochise’. It was originally meant to be our first cover, but didn’t feel right. We generally put The Presets cover in to our sets - the good ol’ familiarity is key to those who’ve never seen you trick.

Top 5 songs we would like to see on it? The Audioslave one, for sure. My People is a given.  I’d like to try a Nine Inch Nails one. I did work out a version of Whole Lotta Love a little while back, so I know that’s doable.  Oh! And there’s a cool version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’ I worked out fairly recently. So maybe that?

The Muules sound is really quite hard to put into one genre, was this intentional or did it really just happen organically?

So many influences will have that effect, but yes, pretty much organically. I wrote about 13 songs (bass/guitar/drums) before Nathan and Nick joined - all recorded and ready to put lyrics too.  The original versions were a weird blues meets Deftones kinda vibe, but with Nath’s vocal style, and Nick’s drumming, it came into its own.  We’ve had people say that there’s clear Tool influences, to Incubus, to Filter and Muse, and recently A Perfect Circle… 

We’re an alt-rock band… you never know which way we’ll go.

What would be your ideal band lineup at a show (living or dead) that Muules would open for?

Oh man… that’s just mean. We’ll just go with opening a mini-Festival with us, Grinspoon, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Fall Out Boy (that one’s for Nick), Dead Letter Circus (because we love those guys), and Nine Inch Nails.  I think that’s a pretty substantial line-up.  

Has the band ever considered the addition of keytar? 

Nope.  Do have one though.  But no.  We have started using a synth/sampler thingy that looks like the Millennium Falcon, so there’s no need for Keytar.

Pretty sure that’s just you trying to find a way into the band.

If you guys were a trio of dips what flavours could we expect?

There’s only one dip.  That’s hummus. 

Ok and finally on a serious note, do you prefer outdoor or indoor shows? Festival style or the more intimate gigs?

Any show where you don’t break anything is a good show, to be honest.  Festival shows are sick, giving you the ability to reach whole different demographics and playing on big systems, but you’re also generally limited to very strict set times.  Intimate gigs, the majority of the audience is there to see you. As long as the sound’s good, we can hear ourselves, and we can see people dancing/singing to our stuff, then the show is a winner.

Awesome! Thanks for your time, guys! 

Muules' debut EP, 'In The Lines Between' is available now via iTunes, Google Play, as well as streaming services (Spotify).

Muules will appear at Caloundra Power Boat Club on August 12th (as part of the Passport to Airlie).