Jon Mullane interview

Check out the new album from Jon Mullane called ‘Shift’, a superb slice of 80’s influenced pop rock. Its out now via Escape Music. In the meantime here’s the man himself…

What are you currently up to? 

Mostly right now, with the album being released in Europe, I’ve been doing a lot of press and promotion for it. 

Could you take us through your cracking new album ‘Shift’ (e.g. idea behind the songs, song writing process etc.)

My co-writer, friend and producer Creighton Doane and I have been working for the last couple of years essentially recording a song at a time. As those songs were finished I released them here in Canada and they started to generate quite a bit of radio airplay.  So, we decided we would continue to write and record a full album after the success of the singles. Generally speaking we wanted to make an album where the songs were energetic and fun.  I think the title ‘Shift’ says it all.  I was sensing a shift in momentum in my music and I wanted these songs to reflect that with melody being a very important part of each song. The album was recorded both in Halifax and Toronto and a lot of it was done over the internet.  Because of the decline in CD sales I also wanted to do something special for this album so we included some bonus content – a behind the scenes documentary video of the making of the album, a music video, high quality MP3’s, etc. I think these days you have to give the fans a little extra something.

How did you hook-up with the two Harem Scarem guys Creighton Doane and Pete Lesperance?

Well, I had known Creighton since the mid 90’s as he is originally from Halifax and at that time was playing in a Canadian band called Honeymoon Suite. We re-connected again about 5 years ago when I was looking for a producer to work with to help me re-energize my sound and we thought we should start writing together. We were really pleased with the results of our collaboration so kept it going. Creighton and Pete, of course, were band mates in Harem Scarem and Pete was the logical choice for doing a lot of the guitar work on the album as he’s such a great guitarist.

Make You Move’ has already been used in sporting events and gained exposure. How do you go about promoting your music?

Well, I think it’s really about getting it out to as many people in the industry as possible and that is where the internet has been a big help.  I am constantly in touch with music supervisors, film and TV producers, and publishers through email, phone calls and in person meetings.  It’s the new music business!

Do sites like MySpace, Facebook etc. bring you in new fans and potentially sales? Or is it cases of having lots of ‘friends’ many of whom never bother with the music?

I think there’s truth in both cases.  Through the social network sites I have gained a lot of very devoted fans who have purchased my music.  At the same time, there are probably lots of ‘friends’ who might be interested in hearing about what’s going on but are not necessarily active fans. I think just the fact that the fans can connect with me directly is such a great thing and is one of the best things that has happened in the music industry.  I love hearing from them all.

Who are your musical influences?

There are so many I don’t know where to start.  I was very influenced by bands like A-Ha, Icehouse, Asia, Saga, Human League, U2 and Billy Idol. Really any music in any genre that has a great melody always inspires me. 

How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

I think the best way to answer that is that I have had a series of many small breaks.  My first record deal in Europe in the mid 90’s, opening for some top level bands, having several charting radio singles in Canada and some great film and TV placements.  Unless you are willing to go on American Idol I think the days of the one big break are over.  So, my adivce would be to make your own breaks by working hard, keep improving your skills constantly throughout your career and believing in yourself.

How do you view the current rock music scene?

Well that’s a hard question to answer.  To be honest, I’m quite disappointed in the North American rock scene.  Rock music has been displaced by dance pop to a large degree and the rock bands I do hear really have no sense of melody or hooks which is really important to me.  I think there is more of a rock scene going on in Europe and there seem to be some really good bands there lately.  I’m really digging the new Pretty Maids record.

Any good rock ‘n’ roll tales to tell?

I’m actually kind of a straight-laced guy.  I don’t drink, smoke or take drugs and have always been into health and fitness so most of the funny stories happen vicariously through some of the band members who have played with me over the years.  I remember one drummer we had who was really into doing hot knives and he carried around his propane torch in a knapsack everywhere we went.  One night we were playing in a club and he had just done his thing with the knives before we went on stage. Half way through the set I looked back at him and he had this really weird look on his face. He then ran off the stage back to the dressing room, realizing he had left the propane torch on for a good 20 minutes.  If it had ignited it could have burned down the whole club!

What ideally would you like to achieve by this time next year?

Ideally I would like to tour in Europe by this time next year in support of ‘Shift’.  I would also like to see one of the singles from the album get a lot of radio exposure there.

What do you like doing with your spare time outside of music?

I’m into working out and playing tennis.  I also have a keen interest in UFO’s so I like to watch programs and read about that.

Message for your fans…

I really love hearing from all of you.  Keep all the comments and messages coming online and I hope to see you at a concert soon.   Here’s a special greeting for my MySpace fans http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=105974746

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