Local Gold: Mux Mool

Denver-based electronic musician Mux Mool discusses his career, influences, and upcoming projects with KGNU’s Indra Raj. Mux Mool talks about his entry into electronic music, his early fascination with computers and video game music, and touches on his background in visual arts (Interview date: 5/8/2024)

Indra Raj: We have a very special guest in the studio, the one, the only, Mux Mool!

Mux Mool: Hey, what’s going on?

Indra Raj: Not much, how are you?

Mux Mool: Doing great!

Indra Raj: It’s so great to have you in the studio. I feel like I’ve been wanting to do this for years now.

Mux Mool: Oh, really? I’m glad you finally reached out.

Indra Raj: Yeah, absolutely. And for those of you who don’t know, Mux Mool is a Denver-based electronic musician. How long have you been at it in Denver?

Mux Mool: I’ve been in Denver now for 11 years. I moved here in 2013. And I love it here.

Indra Raj: Where were you before that?

Mux Mool: Before this, I was in New York, and then a couple of months in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then here. And initially I wasn’t planning on staying here, but I definitely fell in love with this place.

Indra Raj: The music scene has changed so much during that time.

Mux Mool: Yeah. It’s crazy.

Indra Raj: Yeah. And I guess also as an electronic musician, I feel like electronic music and Denver haven’t always felt, especially back then, like it was the spot to go see or to get into that.

Mux Mool: That was one of the strangest things is that when I started touring, I had no idea of the landscape of where electronic music was being well received.

But when we came through Denver and played Cervantes in 2009, that was one of the only sold out shows and I was so confused. I was like, what is this? I’ve never, not that I never heard of Denver, but I didn’t know anything about it. And then when I finally moved out here and I saw how many people passed through and the different types of scenes, I think it’s just great. Real thriving, ticket buying community, which is cool. Really great legendary venues, and I just loved it.

Indra Raj: Absolutely. Do you play out much these days?

Mux Mool: Right now I’m focusing on finishing some music and some art to be released later this year. So I’m not playing as many shows right now. But, I did still play with Com Truise at Cervantes a week and a half ago.

Indra Raj: That’s so cool. We brought you in today to talk about all that, but also because you brought in a couple sets of music to play for us. Let’s talk about what we can look forward to in this first set.

Mux Mool: I wanted to highlight some of the Partly Cloudy remixes that came out like two months ago. My album Partly Cloudy came out in 2021 and I was able to put together a really great team of other artists to do remixes with: Blockhead, John First, Starkey, Mogi Grumbles, and a few other artists and put out these remixes. And I wanted to feature some of that with the first set.

Indra Raj: That’s awesome. All iconic people in the electronic music scene – you included. So let’s get this going. We’re going to hear Mux Mool’s first set of music here on the KGNU Afternoon Sound Alternative.

Alright, you’re listening to the Afternoon Sound Alternative here on KGNU Community Radio. My name is Indra and I am really happy to have Mux Mool in the studio. We just played a set of music from you.

Mux Mool: Yeah.

Indra Raj: So tell us a bit about it.

Mux Mool: This was the chill side of the Partly Cloudy remix album with the Blockhead version. His remix, which didn’t make it all the way to Spotify, I wanted to feature it here.

Mogi Grumbles and Oomah from a band called Evanoff on that last remix.

Indra Raj: Who are they? I’ve never heard of them.

Mux Mool: Evanoff is a Colorado band. They’re fun. Oomah is a really neat dude.

Indra Raj: We’ll have to have them in the studio sometime. That’s very cool. Always discovering new stuff here. There’s so much popping up on the Front Range these days. It’s awesome. 

We were just talking while the music was playing about the music industry and just stuff in general. And I think your career has spanned like two decades.

Mux Mool: Yeah, it’s quite a while now. 

Indra Raj: And a lot of technological change during that time and access and things like that. So I am just curious to hear about how you got into electronic music and production.

Mux Mool: It honestly started with a love of computers and spending time with my computer and playing video games and really enjoying that isolated feeling of my world being the computer world. A friend of mine had a program on his computer called Acid 3.0, which was basically arranging loops and songs. And when I first used that, my mind exploded. I was so excited by the idea that I could make a whole song myself, just with the computer, and I didn’t have to play this instrument or that instrument. I could just know what I wanted and arrange it. And that’s where it started. I always saw the potential for computer made music, but within electronic music, back in 1998 there were also samplers and sequencers and a few other things that I got to mess around with which also informed how I work now, but were very complicated. No screens, that kind of thing.

Indra Raj: Yeah, more analog.

Mux Mool: Yeah, quarter inch floppy disks, you only have literally three seconds of recording time and that has to include every drum, every sample, the arrangement, and every effect, and you have to keep it all very limited.

Indra Raj: Yeah, it probably took so much more time to do anything.

Mux Mool: Yes, and some might say a little more creativity.

Indra Raj: Yeah, it’s working different parts of your brain. It feels to me like the art of handwriting – like how they say that different parts of your brain are firing when you’re handwriting versus typing. And that we’ve lost that because no one really hand writes. Or, that’s not true, but I definitely don’t hand write as much as I used to. And I think it’s interesting to see how the processes change and morph in all of that from time to time.

So you said you’re into video games. Video game music is a whole category, and back in the 90s, I used to love video game music. Did that influence you at all?

Mux Mool: Yeah, video game music is, for a lot of people, the first sort of electronic music that you hear. Growing up with 8 bit Nintendo – that’s very electronic music, very low fidelity there. And video game music has been the biggest inspiration for a lot of my music for my whole life. It still is. And the video game experience and everything. I really love it.

Indra Raj: Yeah. So drop some names. What are some of your top video game music hits?

Mux Mool: Of course.

I don’t know the names of some of these songs. But for composers, of course, Yasunori Mitsuda who did the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, incredible. Nobuo Uematsu, he did the Final Fantasy VI soundtrack. Those two things are so legendary for me. Still listen to those. I went to see the Colorado Orchestra do music from Final Fantasy a couple years ago.I cried the whole time. I thought I was gonna get teared up a little, like at some point or whatever, but as soon as it started, I couldn’t help myself. It was amazing.

Indra Raj: I was just listening to something about nostalgia and I think that there’s something when you’re having fun, when you’re a kid, there’s so many things happening in your brain, and this music is the soundtrack to all of that. It’s really profound.You’re inspiring me to go back and listen to some video game music. I really loved all the music from GoldenEye.

Mux Mool: Oh, yeah. The pause menu music beat for that is so good.

Indra Raj: Yes. I know exactly what you mean. It’s so dark and creepy. And that’s totally my vibe. I love the old Zelda music and all those favorites.

Mux Mool: Yeah, and I played the newest Zelda Tears of the Kingdom last summer and it was great. As the Zelda theme has changed, it started with just little bleeps and bloops on the NES, but then they’ve just updated the soundtrack every single time and it’s great to see that evolution and hear that, ’cause it brings you back, but it’s also very much now.

Indra Raj: Very cool. I love that. I love that we are talking about video game music. I don’t think I’ve done that on KGNU before. 

Alright, so you have another set of music for us.

Mux Mool: I do have another set, a little more lively set, and this one is gonna have some new unreleased songs in it.

Indra Raj: Perfect. So tell us what we heard.

Mux Mool: For this last set, we heard two completely new original songs that don’t even have a release date yet, but I wanted to play some of that.

I also have a remix I did for an artist here named Ghast. That was that last song. I really wanted to play the new styles that I have been working on and see how it goes.

Indra Raj: We’re loving it. We’re feeling special here at KGNU, all of us and the listeners that we got to hear those previews.

Yeah. And as soon as that music is out, we’ll definitely be playing the heck out of it here.

Mux Mool: Yes. And it will be this year. It won’t be next year. It will be this year.

Indra Raj: It will be 2024. Awesome. That’s good to know. Something to look forward to. So one thing that maybe some of our listeners may not know about you is that you’re also a visual artist.

Mux Mool: An illustrator, yeah.

Indra Raj: Yeah, so tell us a little bit about that and how maybe how your two selves mesh.

Mux Mool: Illustration was my first love, my first major art form where I learned the whole 10,000 hours idea of mastery. Partly because I just loved doodling and drawing, and I went to an arts high school in Minnesota to focus even more on that. It was my first escape, where I just could just spend hours drawing out my feelings, that kind of thing.

And that really gave me insight into what it looks like to have something that is quality, something that is good, something that you’ve worked on, you’ve learned about. And so that really informed me when I started working on music too.

 I get artists that’ll ask me – they’ve been working in Ableton on their computers for six months and they want to know ways to accelerate their career or their music, which I think is really funny because I made a song on a computer in 1998, but I didn’t put anything out until 2006.

Sometimes what I would like to tell younger artist is that it’s okay the work for eight more years without putting anything out, then put something out. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best plan, but that’s how it happened for me. My first song came out in 2006, but then my first full length album didn’t come out until 2010. So at that point, that’s already 12 years into working on music before I had an album. Sometimes these things take a lot more time. And it’s good to do some trial and error behind the scenes because trial and error in front of people can make you feel embarrassed.

Indra Raj: I’m sure there are a lot of creative folks out there, including myself, who, it’s nice to have that message of “it doesn’t need to be everything, all the time. Give yourself a break. Take your time.” You know that. Creating is such an interesting way of being, it’s not always about showing people your stuff all the time.

Mux Mool: I think that there is some urgency with younger artists within the electronic music world. They want to be the guy with the laptop in front of people and they feel that it resonates with them and they feel that they could do that.

But what I find funny is anybody who’s asking me that question doesn’t really understand what I’ve been through to get to be the man with a laptop in front of people. I’m not a hype man, this is a little more sensitive.

Indra Raj: That’s an awesome perspective. Hopefully, there are some musicians out there listening, but also just so great to hear a couple sets from you. We’re going to have to do this again. So how can people keep up with you and your work?

Mux Mool: I would say definitely the best place would be to follow me. on Instagram. Every relevant update is there. I also have a Discord but you can find that information through Instagram.

Indra Raj: Thank you so much for coming in. You’ve been listening to Mux Mool and forthcoming music in 2024. We’re going to look forward to that.

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Anya Sanchez


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