Anyone with a musical ear can attest that the sound and delivery of songs constantly changes from era to era and generation to generation. The evolution of music, coupled with ever more sophisticated recording technology, can improve melodies and make them easier to create.
But some musicians think if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The same goes for 22-year-old Brody Mullikin, who gravitates more toward a more organic form of music-making. It involves writing, mixing and performing his own music, while playing multiple instruments – a truly retrograde approach to his craft.
Cover songs have become popular over the years, with budding artists producing their own version of a hit originally made by one of their favorite artists. Mullikin’s covers are gaining more and more attention, which also attracts 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 really seem to gravitate towards multiple genres and music from multiple eras.
Mullikin: Absolutely! The genres that I listen to and that influence me the most come from the 70s. From classic rock to soft rock, including soul and even bluegrass. Everything intertwines and brings out the music I make.
zenger: Your group, “Strange Days”, is in fact a one-man-band. What was the thought process behind that?
Mullikin: Yeah, I say it’s a band, but that’s really just me. No other members. It’s a pseudonym that I post 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 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 learned bass, keyboards, drums and a few other instruments. I still enrich my collection of instruments.
zenger: You also mixed and produced all your work. Is it important for you to learn all aspects of the game?
Mullikin: I want to learn all aspects of music. I think that’s 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 all over the East Coast in a band with his brothers. They were nothing 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 does not make music. My mom has the musical gene in her, but she doesn’t chase it.
zenger: You do great covers, guys like Elton John, Rolling Stones, The Spinners. The list is endless. Were any of these covers intimidating to try?
Mullikin: Honestly, I never really thought about it. I assume that would not be the case. I choose songs that I really like and do it. Usually a lot of the songs I do are the ones I’ve been doing for years now. I do a lot of live shows 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, make it like a cover and put it up for everyone to see.
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 see is that the mix side is missing. I’ve noticed that a lot of the classic rock sound comes from the mix itself. I think he’s missing there, and I really feel like I can fill that void.
zenger: What are your musical influences?
Mullikin: David Gilmour from Pink Floyd is my number one band. The Moody Blues, the Eagles, the list goes on. Supertramp, honestly, everything from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I like the modern stuff too. I have a large catalog of songs that I love from the 2000s. But I keep coming back to the 70s.
zenger: You are what is called an old soul. There is nothing wrong with that.
Mullikin: (Laughing). 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?
Mulkin: Thank you very much. I’m glad you like the song. Everything about it was written by me. This song itself started with the piano riff. And I said, “That sounds pretty good.” It’s just adding layers to it.
zenger: As you are a one-man-band, I have to ask you: do you prefer to be isolated when you create, or is it one of the occasions where you take advantage of 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 string melody, or that vocal melody in my head, and I’ll stop what I’m doing and record it real quick. Often I do my best with my iPhone voice recorder. I noticed that [inspiration] comes when he wants. That I am alone in my room, on stage playing in front of an audience. Even if I go out with my friends or my girlfriend, it pops up and I’m like, “Wait a second, let me record this. It’s really random. I still can’t get used to the idea (laughs).
zenger: Where would you like to be musically, say… by this time next year?
Mullikin: I would say just playing in front of thousands of people. For now, I’m far from it, but I think that if I keep pushing, I’ll get there. I believe in myself. I just want as many people as possible to follow me. I pushed my covers. I noticed that it attracts a lot of people, and then they find my music. I think it is so. That’s what I’m trying to do right now, get as many subscribers as possible and eventually convert the subscribers into a 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 that.
Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Judith Isacoff
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