Anyone with a musical ear can attest that the sound and delivery of songs is constantly changing from era to era and from generation to generation. The evolution of music, combined with ever more sophisticated recording technology, can improve songs and make them easier to create.
But some musicians think if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This is the case of Brody Mullikin, 22, who gravitates more towards a more organic form of musical creation. It involves writing, mixing and performing your own music, while playing multiple instruments – a real retrospective approach to your craft.
Song covers have become popular over the years, with aspiring artists producing their own version of a hit originally composed by one of their favorite artists. Mullikin’s covers are gaining more and more attention, which also draws fans to his original music. Mullikin’s covers range from Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, The Spinners, and several other ’70s legends.
The talented Mullikin opens up to Zenger about his passion for music, his dream of performing in front of thousands of people and the inspiration behind his sound.
Percy Crawford interviewed Brody Mullikin for Zenger.
Zenger: I love your sound, I love your approach to music. For being such a young man, you seem to really gravitate towards several genres and music from many eras ago.
Mullikin: Definitely! The genres I listen to and which influence me the most are those from the 70s. Classic rock, soft rock, soul, even bluegrass. Everything intertwines with each other, and the music I make comes out of it.
Zenger: Your band, “Strange Days”, is actually a one-man band. What was the thought process behind this?
Mullikin: Yeah, I’m saying it’s a band, but it’s really just me. No other members. It’s a pseudo-name I’m posting under just to give the illusion that it’s a band. Everything is done by me.
Zenger: It’s very impressive that you play all these instruments. When did you start doing this?
Mullikin: I started playing guitar when I was 6 years old. I would pick it up and put it down all my life. About 5 years ago I had this urge to take it back and keep doing it. It was around the same time that I bought the bass, keyboards, drums, and a few other instruments. I am still expanding my collection of instruments.
Zenger: You have also mixed and produced all of your work. Is it important for you to learn all aspects of the game?
Mullikin: I want to learn all facets of music. I feel like this is the best approach if you want to understand everything, everyone’s role. I like knowledge.
Zenger: Does your family have a solid musical background?
Mullikin: My grandfather was a musician in the 70s. He traveled from Ohio to Florida and raced the entire East Coast in a band with his brothers. They didn’t have anything big, but they played a lot and they loved it. I grew up listening to these stories. He’s my father’s father. My father himself doesn’t make music. My mom has the musical gene in her, but she’s not chasing it.
Zenger: You do big covers, guys like Elton John, Rolling Stones, The Spinners. The list is endless. Was any of these blankets intimidating to try?
Mullikin: Honestly, I never really thought about it. I guess it wouldn’t. I choose songs that I really like and do them. Usually a lot of the songs I do are the ones I’ve been doing for years now. I do a lot of live performances in restaurants and bars. Most of the time, I do covers. When I see a song that I like, I have to put it in my catalog, do it as a cover and put it forward so that everyone can see it.
Zenger: You said you wanted to bring back the classic rock sound. What do you think is missing in this particular genre that you can add to it?
Mullikin: What I miss is the mixing side. I’ve noticed that a lot of the classic rock sound comes from the mix itself. I think it’s missing there, and I really feel like I can fill that void.
Zenger: What are some of your musical influences?
Mullikin: David Gilmour from Pink Floyd is my number one band. The Moody Blues, The Eagles, the list goes on and on. Supertramp, honestly, everything from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I also like modern stuff. I have a large catalog of songs that I love from the 2000s. But I keep going back to the 70s.
Zenger: You are what we call an old soul. There is nothing wrong with that at all.
Mullikin: (Laughs). I have heard this term several times.
Zenger: Your new single is “Yes You Got (What It Takes)”. Love the song. How involved were you in this song from start to finish?
Mullikin: Thank you very much. I’m glad you like the song. Everything that was written by me. This song itself started with the piano riff. And I said, “Sounds pretty good.” It’s just adding layers on it.
Zenger: As you are a one-man-band, I have to ask you: do you prefer to be isolated when you are creating, or is this one of the occasions when you benefit from an audience?
Mullikin: I think it’s a bit of both. The way I write songs is that it comes to mind. I’ll hear that riff or that chord melody, or that vocal melody in my head, and I’ll stop what I’m doing and record it real quickly. Often times, I do my best with my iPhone’s voice recorder. I noticed that [inspiration] comes when he wants. That I be alone in my room, on stage playing in front of an audience. Even if I’m going out with my friends or my girlfriend, it pops up and I’m like, “Wait a sec, let me record this. It’s really random. I still can’t understand (laughs).
Zenger: Where would you like to be musically, say… around this time next year?
Mullikin: I would say, playing right in front of thousands of people. Right now I’m a long way from that, but I think if I keep pushing I’ll get there. I believe in myself. I just get as many people as possible to follow me. I pushed back my covers. I noticed that it attracts a lot of people, and then they find my music. I think it is like that. That’s what I’m trying to do right now, get as many followers as possible and eventually convert the followers to community.
Zenger: I really appreciate your sound. Keep believing in yourself and your music, and you will achieve your goals. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Mullikin: Thank you very much for interviewing me. I really appreciate this.
Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Judith Isacoff