Evan Blum, Rob Monsma, and Jacob Weaver spent their teenage years jamming together in Louisville, Kentucky. The three of them form the alt-rock band Murals, and recently road-tripped up to New York to play in the CMJ Music Marathon.
We caught up with them during one of their recent sound checks. We were pleased to find out that, although boys in Murals take their music seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously. In between their warm up tunes, the three old friends ribbed each other, bemoaned the lack of taco costumes on set, and offered up their best impressions of the Crocodile Dundee.
Hey boys. Thanks for having us. Where are you guys from?
What’s Louisville like?
Louisville is bourbon and horses. That’s what everybody says, it’s kind of dumb though. We gotta find a better answer for the Kentucky thing.
What’s your bourbon of choice?
Bulleitt. Basic, standard, spicy.
Sounds about right. What brings you guys to New York?
We’re doing the CMJ festival. Playing eight shows up here. We’ve done two alreadY.
How have the shows gone so far?
Manhattan was good. They like to dance. Louisville crowds, they stand still.
What do you guys think of the city?
It couldn’t be further from Kentucky. It’s huge, you know, hanging around up here bouncing ideas of each other-it’s exciting. But we’re kind of removed from it a little bit, we look at it from afar.
How did you guys get up here?
We were in a big van for fifteen hours together. We stopped in Pennsylvania at a Motel Six, ripped ‘em off. It was good.
Right on. What were you guys listening to on the way up?
This American Life, Diane Reams. Those are our road games.
What about music?
We did some Homeshake. We did some, some hip hop. Mostly Lil’ Kim and ODB.
Do you guys share musical tastes, or do you like different sounds?
We all kind of like similar stuff.
Cool. Tell us how Murals started?
I (Rob) met jacob in the sixth grade in church choir, and we met evan freshman year of high school at soccer practice and we all started singing together in choir. We started playing together when we were sixteen and we’ve been doing it since.
What were the first songs you guys played? Covers, or your own stuff?
We played nothing for a long time. We did Wonderwall at a talent show. It went pretty well. all the girls cried during the audition.
Sounds like a good start. What does the creative process look like for Murals? How often do you guys write new material?
Oh man, pretty much constantly. Everybody kind of writes all the time.
Do you write music together, or on your own?
It happens organically-a lot of it comes from playing together. Sometimes we’ll write on our own. Whatever works.
Did your background singing in choir help you guys, musically?
It kind of helped us learn how to move together, and understand each other without having to necessarily speak.
Do you guys have a favorite venue to play?
I think our favorite place to play is a dive in Louisville called Nachbar. Everyone’s packed in there throwing beers at you. Might get a can to the head.