band interview: Muuy Biien

Muuy Biien by Mike White

Muuy Biien by Mike White

“Ya’ll mind if I take a piss in the back restroom right here while ya do this here interview? I heard in the distance from where I sat with three of the five that make up the noise-punk band Muuy Biien.

“That’s perfectly fine,” I shouted back, not wanting to throw off the zen this drunken show-goer had clearly achieved.

We were in the back of Graveface Records, which had just hosted a show featuring Anxiety Junkies, Crazy Bag Lady, and the focus of this interview: Muuy Biien, collectively of Athens, Georgia.

When I stepped into the venue earlier, I heard a voice shouting from the stage.

“Can I get into it?”

The band shouted, “Yeah!

“Can I get into it?”

This time the crowd answered, too, “Yeah!

The singer made the call one more time, and then the room exploded. The crowd seemed to suddenly lose its equilibrium and the band was soaking it up and throwing it right back.

It was a reference to James Brown, what the frontman, Joshua Evans, shouted before the song started. I recognized it and asked him about it later, and to my excitement he said that the father of funk was a big inspiration.

Josh and Jacob Lake (percussionist) were busy running the merch table after the show, but the rest of the band (Xandar Witt and Robbie Rapp on guitar, and Parks Miller on bass) were able to speak for them. The gist of what I learned was that everything about this band seemed to be a collaborative process.

hissing lawns: What was the general start of this band?

Xander: Josh started writing all of these really cool songs, like, recording them onto a four track Tascam tape recording machine, and, um, you know, he just started recruiting a band. And I wasn’t a part of his original recruiting process, but I think some bass player didn’t show up, and I said ‘Yeah, I’ll fill in,’ and here we are; we’re all writing songs together. We only met Parks about a year ago, and he kind of acts like our manager as well. He’s added so much to the band, it’s really great.

Parks: I actually joined this band… Mainly as a fan. Before that, they were playing in Atlanta a lot, and that’s where I was living, and I would go to their shows. I just fucking loved it.

hl: What inspires this band as whole?

Xander: Music-wise, or attitude-wise?

hl: That’s good, I’m going to go with attitude-wise.

Xander: Definitely neurosis.

The entire band chuckles.

Xander: You know, being kind of poor and cynical, I guess. It’s something that most anyone can relate to in some way.

hl: What’s your most recent album?

Xander: DYI. We actually recorded it a long time ago.

Robbie: We started recording it, like, August of 2012. It’s just stuff that we’ve all had a part in writing.

At this point the venue was empty and Josh wandered back so I was able to talk with him about his role in the band.

hl: I really liked the way you just lose it on stage. What got you into that method of stage performance?

Josh: Um, I don’t know, I think it had a lot to due with the fact that when we started there were a lot of bands who didn’t have people up front at all. And if they did have people up front, they were just sort of, like, stoic, and didn’t move or anything. And that’s something that’s happening more and more even with bands that are bigger now. And I feel like there’s not a lot of personality in rock and roll anymore, and that’s my way of putting something back into that. Cos if I’m not [playing] anything else up there, I might as well fucking put on a show.

hl: With talking to the rest of the band I’ve learned that the writing process is very collaborative. Sometimes they’ll write songs, and you’ll put words to them. What do you pull from when writing lyrics?

Josh: It’s mostly things that I deal with. I don’t really know what else to write about other than myself. And I think it’s how I document where I am at that point in time, and then how I move on from it.

Robbie: It’s really great, because the music isn’t set in, like, one mind, you know? We’re not a political band, we don’t have any kind of set commentary, other than just the one on ourselves. And that’s something that we can relate to even as the band. And in that way, we don’t have a problem with what he’s saying reflecting back on us, because it’s projected from us too.

You can keep up with Muuy Biien through their Facebook. Here’s a stream from Bandcamp of their newest album, DYI: