Buzzed Bands Podcast, Ep. 2 w/ Cold Blood Club

Monday, July 21, 2008

"9 out of 10 Questions with the Muslims"

Brooklyn Ski Club talked recently with Matty McLoughlin - guitarist extraordinaire - from the Muslims, our favorite indie rock bar band from the greater San Diego area. For more info on the Muslims, check out BSC's review of the group's June shows or simply check out their myspace page at

Matty McLoughlin: Tom, k here we go.

BSC: What's the origin story of the group? You guys seem to give-off a last-gang-in-town vibe. Is that description accurate?

MM: Matt and I went to the same high school in San Diego but didn't become friends until after high school through a mutual friend. After I finished college in Virginia I decided to move back to San Diego to start a band with Matt. We played our first show in January of 2007. Dave (bass) joined in January of 2008, he also went to our high school and we've known him for a very long time. Brian (drums) also joined in January of 2008, we have known Brian for maybe five years now. Regarding the "last gang in town" thing, maybe that comes off because we all get along and no one is a butthole.

BSC: I've always thought that it was great that groups like Replacements and the Clash (re)defined punk rock as an expression of freedom. Stopping short of sticking you guys with the "punk rock" label, your group performs with a hell of a lot of abandon. Do you see yourselves in the same, err, tradition as these groups? Should a little recklessness trump musical precision in rock n roll?

MM: We have fun playing live and don't really care if its perfect. Whatever is exciting or funny at the time we do. Playing music is fun, goofing off with your friends is a good time, we are better when we don't think and just react. I think genuine recklessness is good, preconceived recklessness is the worst.

BSC: Listening to the songs, they don't seem to be politically-minded. Would you say that you named the group the Muslims as a lark then, or was there some plan in place to make a big statement?

MM: We didn't start the band to be political at all. We wanted to play music that we would want to hear. The name was something that just sounded good to us, we were in no way trying to make a statement or be offensive. We don't see it as offensive. I like the way it sounds, I think the letter M is great.

BSC: On this theme again, do you manage to get all kinds of interesting email as a consequence of your name? Any good anecdotes about this or other complications that resulted from the handle "the Muslims." I can imagine a scene where your group's name is hanging on the marquee of a club in the
Midwest/rust belt and all hell breaks loose…

MM: We haven't really gotten too much guff about the name through emails really. People will ask why it is our name, then we respond and its over. The only people that think the name is offensive or stupid are our parents, the dentist, people like that.

BSC: You're a young band in a new music world. Can you ever imagine making money off the sales of your music? Is this just a fact that you accept and have to just sort of shrug off?

MM: Everyone in the band works day jobs. Everyone enjoys being in the band and its our favorite thing to do. So not making a ton of money off the band isn't a problem for us. It would be nice not to work so much but personally, I write better songs after a day of making burritos and taking shit from morons. It sustains the edge. If I didn't have to work I would probably watch baseball all day and not get anything done.

BSC: I was pleased to see a lot dancing going on at your show at Union Pool in Brooklyn. It was really refreshing. I think a general impression is that New York crowds can be a little standoffish and aloof. But you guys got 'em dancing…am I wrong in seeing this as a major victory? Your thoughts?

MM: All of the shows we played in New York were great. We couldn't have had a better trip. It's a great feeling when people are jumping around and having as good a time as you are.

BSC: I noticed that you guys have a collection of pretty classic guitars. Are the Muslims closet gear-heads? Are you the only indie rock band in America we features a Fender Mustang and a Mustang bass onstage at the same time? More seriously, do you see a connection between classic instruments/gear and a more classic "sound"?

MM: No none of us are gear heads, We don't really know much at all about amps, guitars etc. David has had that music master bass since he was 12 or something, and that music master guitar that Matt plays is something I traded for in college. I think the reason we have a classic sound is that our songs are simple and we have reverb on our amplifiers.

BSC: I might speak for many East Coast types when I ask "what is the music scene like down in San Diego?" Honestly, anything in California south of Los Feliz/Silverlake is a black hole in terms of my musical knowledge, please enlighten me:

MM: I feel that the music scene in San Diego has gotten a lot better. San Diego ruled balls in the 90's (with Drive Like Jehu and Black Heart Procession, etc). After that time period things got pretty stupid and unoriginal and self conscious or something. But now with bands like The Sess and Kill Me Tomorrow things are good again. I think that's how it might work- great stuff, boring stuff, back to great stuff.

BSC: You guys had an impressive run storming through New York last month. One of the bills that you played was the Vice party, which turned out to be a pretty controversial event (there was a lot of buzz all over town afterwards about how poorly managed the whole thing was). As much respect as I have for Vice and other magazines and taste-making companies – they contribute a lot to the scene and help release music after all – is being a part of an event like that a bit surreal? On the other hand, does it make you feel a bit confined or pre-packaged? Like an item on an airplane menu?

MM: The Vice party was probably the most people we have ever played in front of. We had a great time and were treated really well. I didn't notice anything unorganized really but I was also not paying attention to anything and dicking off with my friends. I didn't feel prepackaged or anything like that, because we were just playing a party with free beer that anyone could go to.

We are coming back to New York August 18th at the Bowery Ballroom with The Walkmen and are playing a few more dates as well. Thanks.

2008. Tom Stuart (BSC)

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