robert muinos

Pretty Music Under A Dark Story

Music is hard and performing stories about your life can be really scary, especially if you're playing solo.

Robert Muinos

Hi Robert and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Musicology.

Firstly congratulations on your latest solo project as Robert Muinos. Many people know you from your work in Saskwatch and Dorsal Fins to which you are still actively involved in but in turning your hand to this project, were you looking to distance yourself from your other outfits or is it something of a natural progression considering the different style / genre you have worked in previously and a unique challenge that you wanted to undertake?

I wasn't actively looking for distance, I think I just wanted to write songs and to make music where I didn't have to compromise for anyone else. I tried to write songs for other bands I'm in but they always sounded like garbage. Every time I wrote freely without a particular outcome or genre in mind a folk song would come out. Eventually I gave in to the folk. It's been a massive challenge for me, writing music is hard and performing stories about your life can be really scary, especially if you're playing solo.

You not only wrote, and recorded EP3 but mixed it as well. Did this autonomy provide you with a sense of confidence in the EP’s construction or create a set of challenges that were somewhat self-inflicted by such an all-inclusive approach to making this EP?

For me, doing all the production myself made me a lot less confident. The people I've recorded with in the past have been really great so when you take them away you lose that feeling of being a team, you feel alone, for me that feels less confident. I'm just talking about the production side here, playing with Jim, Tom and Olaf is rad and they are really supportive guys to have around. There were two big challenges making a record this way. We set up to play all live, drums, bass, organ, guitar and vocals all at once, so I would have to get into the tech zone, try to make everything sound cool, click record then run over to my guitar and try to be creative. I found it hard to switch from technical to creative quickly and a lot of the time when we got a good take something technical would go wrong, so you'd just have to go with it. The other challenge was not letting self-conscious thoughts take over when mixing. Sometimes I would think about people judging me for the song writing, singing, guitar playing and the sound of the record and it can start to push the mix in one way, I think it's a mediocre way where you try not to offend anyone and hide any mistakes. Luckily I snapped out of that and embraced the mistakes.

As If That’s Real is fine showcase of your talents and integration of various instruments as the tune builds from an aching opening with gentle organs with an ebb and flow that peaks with gritty and almost agitated guitar feedback. Would you say As If That’s Real is an example of your internal creative processes in the way that a concept presents itself to you and evolves as you flesh it out, perhaps taking you in directions that weren’t apparent from the onset?

Definitely. I write everything on acoustic guitar. That song was just a little gentle ditty in the beginning. I wanted to try write something with pretty music under a dark story. When I showed it to the band it took us a while to find a groove for it but when we did it felt good. That was the reason for the long outro, it felt good to play. The song's about a kid who wants to escape the voices in his head by killing himself so I tried to make the music feel like that. A lot of the noise at the end is me screaming into a microphone plugged into a Leslie speaker. It kind of sounds like a horse. I did that on the first night of recording, my voice was rat shit after that.

Having worked with so many different artists over the years, were there any words of wisdom spoken to you or particular events that changed the course of how you approach your work?

There have been a lot. I can remember a friend saying "I don't care how you sing the song, just tell us the story". That has always stayed with me and I think about it every time I sing.

You will be performing two launches for EP3, firstly in Melbourne followed by Sydney. Taking lessons learnt from your work in other acts, is there a similar approach to playing live or do you employ a different method to accentuate the stripped back nature of Ep3?

It's pretty different really. With something like Dorsal Fins, there's 9 musicians on stage so everyone has to be fairly regimented in what they're doing otherwise it'll sound like a big mess. Obviously we try to let the singers be loose to do what they want but the instruments have to be in order. In my band there's only 4 of us and the songs have a completely different purpose. I try to get everyone to play as loose as possible and be open to the idea that anything can happen. It can be very exciting but also nerve wrecking.


28 Sep - The Old Bar - Melbourne

20 Oct - The Factory Floor - Sydney

Listen to EP3

EP3 out now via Bandcamp