Ahead of Muun Bato’s performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2019 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Saturday, January 25, we got to ask guitarist/vocalist Joe Werner a few questions. Read what he had to say below:

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Olivia Riggins: Your first album came out this October—what inspired that album, and what was the experience like releasing your debut?
Joe Werner: The first album was inspired by so many different things. Mostly by bands like Broadcast, Stereolab, Pink Floyd, and Connan Mockasin, to name a few. But mostly I was just trying to write a body of work that you couldn’t just pigeon hole into one category, or sound. I wanted a colorful, and eclectic collection of songs. One criticism that I have of a lot of new “psych-rock”, is that so many bands have only one kind of song, and they repeat that formula ad nauseam on their records, and it makes for a very one-dimensional listening experience.

OR: You all came from various projects/local bands (Driftwood Pyre, First Communion Afterparty, Bridge Club, Flavor Crystals) before beginning Muun Bato. How do your experiences in the local music scene and your experiences in these other bands influence Muun Bato’s sound?
JW: I would say my experience in the local music scene didn’t have much to do with the sound of Muun Bato. I didn’t want it to sound like anything else I had been in before, it has an overall way more mellow sound than a lot of other projects I’ve been in. But I guess a little bleed-through of the past is inevitable. And the other members all bring their own influences, and nuisances with them, which definitely has an obvious outcome on the sound. 

OR: The album art/design and t-shirts for Muun Bato have a fun correlation to the sound you have as a band. Does someone in the band do the design work for Muun Bato?
JW: The person who does all the design work is a really old friend of mine, Sheraton Green of Charles S Anderson Design. We’ve known each other for about 20yrs, and he just gets the aesthetic we’re going for. He has the ability to interpret the sound visually, in the most amazing way. A true master of his craft.

OR: What’s your favorite song to perform live?
JW: “Planet of the Children” is our favorite song to perform I think. It’s the last song on the album, and it’s the last song in our set too. It’s an apocalyptic epic, with operatic highs, and lows, and also seems to be a crowd favorite.

OR: What comes next for you all as a band?
JW: We are playing Off the Record on Radio K on Friday, January 17th, along with a number of local shows TBA soon, and a west coast tour this spring. Also, we’ve begun recording our second album, which I have written about %90 of already. 

OR: What’s your favorite artist/album of the past year?
JW: Vanishing Twin!!! They’re a fantastic band from the UK. Very avant-garde, art-rock stuff. Their newest album “Age of Immunology” is absolutely stellar.

Blog by Olivia Riggins (Marketing Intern)