Psychedelic indie pop troupe Murals are responsible for Violet City Lantern, a recent record that we Never Nervous-ites are particularly fond of. Since the album’s release, the band has garnered quite a bit of buzz, not only from Louisville media but from national critics as well. If you ask me, the positive reception is indicative of a fabulous collection of upbeat, yet tranquil jams soaked in reverb that to me are gleefully reminiscent of The Velvet Underground, sans Lou Reed and with a young Brian Wilson on vocal duties. In other words, this noise is fucking fantastic.
For evidence, listen to their song “I Live Here” below:
Admittedly, I know almost nothing about these guys, aside from the music on their new record. My curiosity lead me to reach out to Rob Monsma for a brief interview, which he kindly decided to partake in…
Never Nervous: What can you tell us about the history of Murals? How’d the band get together?
Rob Monsma: Murals started when Jacob and I were 15 year old pups. He’d just gotten an electric guitar and I had a set of drums. We started off doing Weezer covers but quickly transitioned to writing our own beef. Evan joined soon after and we just kept working on that beef I was telling you about until it was the tender and moist beef that we all really enjoy. Now it’s prime and ready, it’s been marinating for years.
NN: Is there any significance behind the band’s name? Or do you just really love giant paintings in urban areas?
RB: The name came from this mural in Butchertown that’s a depiction of a murderous scene. There’s a man with a butcher knife chasing after a little piglet. He’s got a nasty ol snarl and the little babe is terrified. We liked that a lot I guess. We were only 17 or so. I think now it makes a little more sense. We tend to describe and think of music in visual terms, whether it’s color, tone, texture or even a place or scene.
NN: What inspires you guys to make the sort of dreamy, psyched out rock and roll featured on your new record? Whether it be related to music or not, what influences you to create?
RB: Mostly just knowing the good beef from the beef we aren’t big fans of. Letting it soak in the good sauce for a while. You create what you know generally, in our case we have a really broad range of musical experiences and taste. We both started singing in church choirs when we were young and that continued, at a pretty intense level, until we were 18 or so. I think blending that background with our pop taste creates an interesting result. Maybe that’s where it comes from, I’m not really positive.
NN: Now that you’ve released Violet City Lantern, what’s next for Murals? Any special shows or events coming up? Touring?
RB: We’ll be doing some touring/recording over the summer. We are playing Milwaukee PsychFest in May and Northside Festival in Brooklyn this June. We are playing Zanzabar with Mild High Club on Oaks Day and that is gonna be a ripper. We are going to have a horse costume contest. Best horse costume gets to eat oats for free all night in the bathroom by themselves in their beautiful new horse gear. Please come dressed as as a horse.
NN: How would you describe the music that Murals makes to someone that has never heard you?
RB: Music for the eyes. Music for the beef.
NN: What other bands/artists in Louisville have you been particularly into lately?
RB: Family Dog is our buddy Blake’s really great project that has been ripping out hits for years now, that is good beef. Our friend Greg has a project called Sketching we love a lot. Ted Tyro is always slinging beef around that we like to hear and bounce to. Louisville has great music always.
RB: The Colorcast ran for about two years but it’s dead for now. We played all kinds of shit from jazz to ambient to psych to folk to speeches from Presidents to recordings of baseball games. It was a very odd sound collage sometimes but very enjoyable all the times.
NN: Louisville loves beer, especially microbrews, as evidenced by the multitude of breweries throughout the city. Does one establishment make beer that you personally prefer over the others?
RB: Against the Grain is always really interesting, I go with the Smoke everytime. Monnik has some cool things. I really like barleywine and I don’t know where to get local barleywine but if someone was making that I’d probably mostly drink that.
EDITORS NOTE: I also prefer the Smoke at ATG. Never fails.
NN: Aside from beer, tell us something about Louisville that you particularly love, something that we might not have considered.
RB: Ethnic restaurants, good driftwood on the banks of the Ohio, an interesting smellscape that changes every two or three miles. The papadzules at Mayan Cafe is one of the best things we have to offer.
NN: Describe your favorite thing about the internet. Whether it be a blog or a Youtube video, is there something lingering in cyberspace that continues to knock your skirt up?
RB: The lady stomping grapes and falling out of her bucket is always really good to see. Best thing about the internet is having access to a billion minds at once. I always hated the era I was born into until I realized we are going through one of the most drastic “revolutions” in human history.
NN: Before you go, tell us about the last record you bought. In what record store was the purchase made, what was the album, and how’d you like it?