Interview: Muncle talks latest release

Muncle presents a collaborative metal project exploring the subject of an impending Artificial Intelligence revolution, presented in minute long bursts expressed in varying metal styles.

After reading a Wait But Why article on Artificial Intelligence, the Bristol based artist was inspired to channel the spiralling existential dread brought on by it into a collaborative project. Muncle has loved and made heavy music since he was a teenager but never had the time or the guts to join a band as heavy as his ideas sometimes required. Knowing that many of his musical friends had a similar love and arrangement with metal, he decided to put together an expansive super group of friends around the country (based in Bristol) to flesh out his AI-fascination-fueled vision. Every song is close to a minute long and features a different list of collaborators (full list on soundcloud page). Inspired by the collaboration and cohesion of albums like YOURCODENAMEIS:MILO’s Print Is Dead, and Probot’s Probot, and the concept albums of Down I Go, Muncle Presents Minute Metal Vol. 1 – AI Think Therefore I Am’ was made for this fascinating and uncertain time in human history. Check it out below!

We caught up with the artist as he talked about the release and more!

How pumped are you for the release of Muncle Presents Minute Metal Vol. 1 – AI Think Therefore I Am?
I am extremely pumped! It’s been a year in the making and I feel very proud of what we’ve made. Feels good just to finish something y’know? Plus the topic of AI is only getting hotter so I think the timing is good.

Can you tell us something about this release no one knows about?
The songs were written from the drums upwards. Myself and Pete Reisner took turns drumming, roughly guessing a minute length to no click, playing an imaginary song that was written later over the drum track. It was a fun way to work having never done that before.

So this particular project is very heavy, is this something you are used to doing?
Not really, no! I love heavy music and have tried to write heavy things before, but always get sidetracked by a melodic idea or a fear that no one will like it. Previous releases certainly have heavy elements in them, but the main difference between this and what I’ve done before is the vocal style. I set myself a rule to have no melodic singing (except the first and last songs on the record which aren’t heavy at all) and I’m pleased to say we succeeded in sticking to it. The whole point of this project was to push myself and commit to the original idea, conveying the weird headspace I got into learning about Artificial Intelligence.

Can you tell us about the other artists you worked with on this?
This project began when myself and former Flags guitar player Pete Jovetic spent a couple of evenings writing metal for fun. Just a couple of drop tuned guitars and some midi drums kind of thing. It never quite got anywhere as we were both quite busy with other projects at the time, but I enjoyed the experience so much that it got me wondering about how many of my other friends had quiet metal ambitions, and whether I could coordinate us well enough to make something fun, but with real drums and noisy amps and everything. Pete Jovetic wrote for 2 of the tracks in the end which I’m really chuffed about. He’s an amazingly well rounded musician, but just has this streak of mischief that comes out when we play or talk about metal. Pete Reisner (Max Raptor) played drums on 4 of the tracks. He completely understood what I was after and for me is one of the best drummers in the country. There’s probably too many collaborators to mention them all (19), but everybody brought something creative to the table making it wonderfully different to regular Muncle.

So you are based in Bristol, what do you like about the alternative scene there right now?
Bristol has such a wealth of good small and medium sized venues that there’s always something interesting or creative going on. The alternative scene feels a little disjointed to me, but I put that feeling down to my own lack of connection to it. I tend to bury myself away when I’m in recording mode. However, it’s really great to see Idles making headway nationally after gigging with them about 6 years ago with my old band. Other local bands I’ve dug lately include B. Moody and the Sky Pilots, and Our Nameless Boy. Would love to gig with them.

If you could work with any band on a new song, who would it be and why?
Right now I’m listening to Every Time I Die obsessively so maybe them, but I’d say they’re about 1000 times more metal than me so I’d probably melt in their presence. Jamie Lenman is my heavy music hero so if I could get his attention somehow I would. His voice occupies a unique space in my brain where joy is kept. I’d be happy with just a sniff or a cough from him on one of my recordings to be honest. Or Elon Musk because is there anything he can’t do?

So will you be touring at all with these songs?
Given the large line up of collaborators and the long list of weird tunings that I’ve forgotten on this record, gigging Minute Metal fully seems like an impossible task, not to mention a very short set! Aspects of it will appear when I head out with my little group in a month or 2, but that will be mainly pure Muncle songs – which I also strongly suggest you check out!

The tracks are quite short, do you hope fans will appreciate the effort that has gone in the tracks?
Yeah I certainly hope so. I love creative constraints because they always bring out something unique and focused. A minute is not very long to tick all the boxes that make up a song, so you have to get right to it. I’m hoping there’s something in there for everybody, but if it’s not your thing at least it will be over quickly!