Musician Quinn Henry Mulligan knew he didn’t want to work the nine to five grind, sitting in an office cubicle, yet there he was, doing just that. His band also had just broken up, and Mulligan found himself at a crossroads as to whether or not he was still a musician. Thankfully, he was and still is.
Mulligan decided to continue pursuing his love of music, and in 2018, took on a heavy feat of releasing an album a month, for the entire year (and in our interview with him, mentions that he will not do it again). His latest single, “Older,” is about the many facets of life, and the choices that we make, good and bad and the effect they leave upon us. Mulligan is a genuine storyteller, speaking to himself and others who feel the same way about life.
Mulligan spoke with us about “Older,” his life experiences, he and his brother’s twin connection, and where his passion for music comes from.
Your new single “Older” focuses on the less creative aspects of life; i.e., a mundane office job. What life experiences contributed to this video and single?
I don’t know that any specific life experiences contributed directly to this video/single. I think it’s more the culmination of years spending the majority of my time making money for other people, rather than spending that time following my own passions. With each year that passes the fear that I will never make a living doing the things I really love to do grows… thoughts like that can be pretty anxiety-inducing for me. That being said, I think that’s true for most folks out there.
I loved that you released twelve albums, one for each month in 2018. That’s quite a huge and successful feat, and congratulations! Was it harder than you thought it was going to be? What was that experience like, and would you do it again?
Thank you! Yes, it absolutely was harder than I thought it was going to be. I’ve always been fairly quick writing and recording a song, maybe doing a few in a day if I’m feeling productive. I was a bit cocky going into this project, perhaps. I didn’t account for how much life can just get in the way of a project like this. You have to do SOMETHING for it every night. Record a song, mix a song, etc. 2018 also happened to be one of the toughest I’ve been through personally, so finding the energy to push forward was tough at times. Still, the act of just sitting down and doing the work no matter what’s happening in your life can be extremely rewarding, and I found myself doing things in a way I maybe wouldn’t have if I only worked when I was feeling inspired. Would I recommend someone else do a similar project? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Hello no!
Where does your love of music stem from, and what about music specifically, drives your passion for it?
I definitely blame my mom for my love of music. And yes, I mean blame. She cursed us! (My twin brother and I) She showed us a TON of bands as we were growing up from a lot of different genres and eras. Having my brother to explore music with certainly helped as well.
As for what “drives my passion” for music, I think it’s the fact that it lets me explore thoughts and anxieties I might have without being critical of them. Most of the time I sit down to write a song I do so without much intent or ideas about what I want to write. Sometimes it’s not until I’ve listened a few times that I know what it’s really about. Songwriting is my way of having a conversation with myself without a filter. Sometimes it helps me work through a tough point, sometimes it results in complete nonsense. Most of the time, it’s cathartic no matter what comes of it.
Reverting back to “Older,” and the music video for it; what was it like working with your brother and having him direct you?
My brother and I have been working together for our entire lives. Being twins, we’ve been partners in almost everything we’ve done. It’s a unique and extremely special bond that is hard to describe to anyone who isn’t a twin. You are extensions of each other. So, in that respect, working with him is just easy, for lack of a better word. We do argue though and that can get awkward for other people, I’m sure. It usually produces a better idea though and it sounds more intense than it really is. We REALLY know how to push each other’s buttons if we want to. We tend to work with good friends that know us, so they’re probably just like “ah, good chance to take a break.” (laughs)
What’s next for you throughout 2019?
Through 2019 my brother and I will be working on some films and scripts. I’m working on new music as well, getting ready to write and record a full-length album. I’m very excited to take me time with something, having just spent a year pretty much rushing through everything. And of course, I’ll be playing shows as well.
Who was your first concert, and who has been your favorite, so far?
My first concert was Billy Joel. Of all the shows I’ve seen, my favorites have been David Bowie and Portland house shows with bands like Animal Eyes, The We Shared Milk and And And And. Portland is just so damned full of good bands.
What was your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl?
First tape: Pink Floyd’s The Wall
First Vinyl: David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
First CD: Either Nirvana – Nevermind or Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
Which five artists and/or albums would you not want to live without?
Couldn’t live without Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen (the early stuff), David Bowie, Grizzly Bear, and Townes Van Zandt.
Which musicians and/or artists have had the most profound effect on your music and writing?
I think the musicians who have had the most profound effect on my music would have to be David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, Grizzly Bear, and Leonard Cohen.
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
Guilty pleasures? Journey. Probably Journey. That and survival shows… doesn’t matter how bad they are. Shove someone on an island with a stick and a box of tape and I’m interested.