One of the most enjoyable things about music is when the fruits of musicians’ labours have a positive impact upon their listeners and potentially society as a whole. When musicians can take a subject or an issue affecting them or people around them, highlight it and be the catalyst for change.
This is the case with Australian solo artist Mullen (aka Andrew Mullen), whose music focuses on a wide spectrum of social stigmas including mental health, addiction and equality. These deep topics are brought to life in a riff-heavy rock sound fused by strong melodies and powerful lyrics that Mullen describes as “dirty guitar riffs, chunky bass and stadium rock drums!”
But in terms of the core issues the music brings to light, Mullen tells us: “Right now I am heavily influenced by the world around me. The soon to be released debut album titled ‘intox’, which is French for brainwashing, is inspired by and aims to inspire the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of people at every level of society.
“The themes of the songs range from mental illness, refugees and bullying to political corruption, equality and addiction. There are personal songs which are relatable to a wide range of people, but because I am on a mission to ignite a bit of social justice into a rather stale music industry, there are songs that are very topical and challenging.
“My passion for these topics stem from my personal experiences and frustration that society continues to believe that addiction, mental illness and sexuality are something you can deliberately make a choice over, and shake off when it’s run its course. It is primitive to think that individuals make ‘poor lifestyle choices’ or should just snap out of a mood and frankly, it is rather embarrassing to live in such an archaic society when it comes to these subjects. They deserve to be dealt with through compassion and not laws or social outcasting.”
The latest in his musical offerings around these topics is the excellent The Devil Is Innocent, which is not only available digitally but provided a comprehensive guide to the song. It opens up with a repeated rocky riff powered forward by big smash of cymbals, then drops into a gradually building opening verse that ends on a high-pitched note. That feeds into a rocky chorus “If you can believe that the devil is innocent, If you can believe that I never made an angel cry, Power of choice ain’t relevant, Then you could believe that the devil is innocent.” The track is packed with rocky riffs and really powerful vocals, including: “Stabbed with a thousand knives, The blood will stain the same.” Give them a look here.
On the track, Mullen tells us: “People have been very welcoming of the song. There has been the odd person that freaks out at the sight of the word ‘Devil’ and a few that completely overlook what the song is actually about! But on the whole, I get a lot of kind and generous people who take the time to send me a message to tell me that the song is very relevant for their situation and that they really appreciate it. It’s just as encouraging for me when I receive a messaging saying the song rocks and they can’t stop listening to it or get it out of their head. Of course I have an ego!”
Mullen describes his music as ‘provoking, stimulating and upheaval,’ on which he expands: “Provoking thoughts, provoking moods, provoking action. Most of the songs have a good driving beat that makes you want to drive too fast and gets your brain considering where you stand on certain topics. I am very passionate to use my songwriting talents to share my experiences / advice / opinions to those who struggle with managing their lives. It is also important to me to continue to improve how society perceives addiction, mental illnesses and other social inequalities. Society needs an Upheaval!”
Mullen, who grew up on 90s alt-rock like Tool, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, through to Royal Blood, Biffy Clyro, Muse and Queens of the Stone Age, just completed a very short promotional tour of Europe. He now plans to be back in Europe and the UK for summer 2018 following his debut album, which is set for release early next year.
Mullen adds: “I’d like to invite everyone who reads this to check out my social networks and say hello to me. I love sharing songs to find out what people think, so all you have to do is say hi!”