Interview: Jon Mueller


Photo by Kat Berger
Interview by Dan Agacki

Jon Mueller is undoubtedly a busy man. His extraordinary musical talents have contributed to ten releases in 2008 alone. For many musicians this would be more than a lifetime of output, but from the look of Mueller’s massive discography, it appears to be a relatively typical year release-wise. As a preface to tonight’s show at the Borg Ward, Mueller took the time to answer the inquiries I tossed his way.

Listen “Strung,” Jon Mueller

Fan-Belt: This year has seen a flurry of releases from you. Could you give me a run down of recent releases you have been involved in?

Jon Mueller: I had a lot of material released by the Table of the Elements label this year, both solo and collaborations, group work, etc. ‘Metals’ and ‘Strung’, both solo recordings, were both different directions for me and a way to try out new ideas with the techniques I had been working with over the past few years. Collections of Colonies of Bees also had a new record come out, and we did some touring as well. Beyond that, I had the fortune of playing on the latest Rhys Chatham 3xCD set and Missi St. Pierre‘s CD. It was a great year for getting to play in a variety of circumstances.

F-B: Your music is unconventional by rock and pop standards. I was wondering how you came about playing in this style.

JM: It’s really a long story, stemming from my interests in music when I was young, to the people I studied with, to my continually evolving interest in sound and how people experience it – whether song based or not. Sound is made audible for anyone to hear, but how it’s developed is sometimes more personal and hard to describe.

F-B: Do you think that Milwaukee provides a nurturing environment for experimental music?

JM: “Milwaukee” has nothing to do with it, per se. I mean, the government isn’t developing programs for it, or facilities, or even venues. Outside of that, there is a good amount of people interested in experimental art and music here, and hopefully that’s something that will grow naturally over time.

F-B: What are your future musical plans?

JM: I have a triple format release (LP/CD/DVD) coming out early next year on Radium/Table of the Elements called “Physical Changes.” I’ll be on tour with Collections of Colonies of Bees in Japan in February, and then at SXSW for a solo set at the Table of the Elements showcase.

F-B: What can show goers expect from your set tonight?

JM: I’ll be doing a version of “Strung,” which uses amplified acoustic guitar played through a snare drum. “Strung” was released on vinyl earlier this year as part of the Table of the Elements Guitar Series.

Jon Mueller is performing tonight, November 21 at The Borg Ward (823 W. National Ave.). Also performing are Douglas Ferguson, Reptile Worship, Anal Hearse, and Ten Little Piggies. Show starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $5. All ages are welcome.

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