If you haven’t seen local indie-pop band Muesli perform live, June is kindly providing seven opportunities to rectify the situation.
I’m sitting in the wan winter sunshine with the Muesli crew – Lily (vocals), Luca (vocals and guitar), Harry (bass), Kieran (drums) and Martin (keys and sax). Between mouthfuls of hot chips, they summarise two years of being Muesli amid a lot of interrupting each other with segues, anecdotes and some gentle trolling.
Harry, Muesli’s ‘mum’, keeps the story on track. Every few minutes though, he breaks in to continue answering my earlier question about upcoming gigs. His brain retains a detailed inventory of all the month’s gigs! Harry also maximises any opportunity to promote the significance of the tambourine to all music, and auxiliary percussion in general.
Vocalists Lily and Luca have known each other since kindergarten. When they went to college, the pair started playing in the school funk band Harry led.
Harry says the Muesli adventure began in 2020 when, towards the end of the funk band, Luca brought in one of his original songs I wanna be in love with you.
“Luca had been wanting to bring in this song for a couple of weeks,” Harry says. “When we finally got around to it, I was surprised how organically and effortlessly all the parts came together.
“I went home thinking ‘We should make a band!’ I was going to ask them the next week, but they beat me to it!”
Lily concurs. “We were all on the same wavelength, and we were already good friends.”
They snort with laughter, reminiscing about their first gig: filling in for a booking no other band wanted.
“That was our first and last unpaid gig,” Luca says.
Martin, Muesli’s most recent member, joined in February this year. He played sax with the band that night. It was just one song, but he was there from the beginning.
But what about creating songs?
Luca says he kick-starts most of the song ideas and takes it to the others so they can expand and perfect them. “I write a song on the guitar; a riff and a verse, a chord progression. And then we all work on it.”
“But Luca’s vocal melodies are golden, so we don’t change them,” Martin adds.
Lily says Luca’s got the songwriting; Martin has insane aural skills and understanding of harmony; Kieran weaves it together into brilliant cohesion on the drums; and Harry knows how to structure and complete a song.
“And Lily’s the performer,” Luca says.
Muesli plays the kind of music the group loves, music that’s fun to perform. It’s raw, playful and interactive.
“We don’t really aim for a genre,” Kieran says. “As long as it sounds cool and puts a smile on our face. Our stuff is pretty upbeat.”
For a group that formed as COVID crept into our lives and silenced live performances for months, the fact people are lining up and paying to hear them perform is still a novelty and joy.
“In November last year we did a voting gig at Smith’s where we gave everyone QR codes to a Google poll; vote for the top three songs you want us to record,” Luca says. “We played two sets and we ended up getting 60 people to each set. It felt like a party!”
They jump at any opportunity to perform with fellow local talents such as Archie and Flowermarket. “The Canberra music scene, the pop music scene, is so welcoming and supportive,” Lily says. “There are no rivalries. We feel privileged to be asked by bands such as Kirklandd and Sputnik Sweetheart to gig with them.”
The band has recently recorded its first single “Hello Out There” which is out on all streaming platforms.
I walk away thinking I should have had them all sign my napkin. Muesli is going places!