Perhaps better known in Melbourne music circles as the guitarist in Melbourne’s 9 piece soul-rock group Saskwatch, Robert Muinos also performs with garage rock collective Dorsal Fins and now to top that off, the seemingly tireless Muinos has just released his first solo single, showcasing his own talents as a singer-songwriter.
Earlier this year and in the midst of a busy tour, Muinos persuaded a few of his Saskwatch bandmates to forgo a highly anticipated week long break to head back into the studio to help record his forthcoming debut EP.
Having done the hard yards touring both nationally and internationally, Robert felt that the time was right for greater introspection and his single, I Was Dreaming, captures the sound of a musician forged, not depleted by time on the road.
It’s been an exhausting schedule and it comes as no great surprise when Muinos mentions that he has just spent a whole weekend in bed recovering, during our recent phone conversation. Having just returned from Big Sound, where both Saskwatch and Dorsal Fins performed, the performer is understandably enjoying some downtime before turning his focus to a run of solo shows.
Robert: “I’ve tried to write music for both Saskwatch and Dorsal Fins before and it always comes out really shit (laughs). I love the music that I play with them [Saskwatch, Dorsal Fins], but whenever I’ve had those great moments where a song comes out of me it’s always been a folk thing. I never made a conscious decision to write music like this, it just happened and it got to the point where I just thought, if this is what’s going to happen every time I write a song it must be for a reason so I should just go with it and see what happens."
With a strong alt-country feel, you can almost hear the kilometers rolling by in the drums and bass line that accompany I Was Dreaming. Late nights and hangovers run deep in a yearning harmonica while the Rob’s vocal melody seems to search for something naively optimistic. It’s a change of direction for the performer, but not completely out of left field.
Robert: “For me this is my chance to be the boss, which is nice. The single and the EP were recorded with Ed, the drummer from Saskwatch, but as far as the live band goes its Jim Lawrie on drums. I wanted him because we’d just done a tour together and we get along really well. We used to go to each other’s gigs all the time and became really good friends. You want to make music with people that you love.”
The theme of love plays a prevalent role in the film clip for I Was Dreaming and Makers is happy to hear the young singer speak highly of his fellow musicians. There’s praise for drummer Lawrie, who also sidelines in Dorsal Fins, as well as mates in Eagle and The Worm and The Bamboos. Muinos assures us that the Melbourne music scene is for the main part a nurturing and supportive industry.
Robert: “We’re all just putting music out there for people to hear and for the public to decide whether they like it. I think that there are lots of people out there that have a kind of, competitive vibe when it comes to playing music. I just find it fucking weird. What’s the point in being competitive about it? Just be supportive of the whole scene.”
While he may be proudly supporting his fellow bandmates, Makers can’t help but wonder how accommodating the mainstream music industry is when it comes to up and coming musicians like Rob. With record contracts now few and far between, more and more artists are independently releasing albums, paying for production and studio sessions out of their own pockets.
It’s a hard slog, but for Robert the rewards are paying off ten fold. “It feels good. I think some people like it [the single] and some people think it’s ok. It was pretty scary before but now that it’s released I’m just letting it do its own thing. I did my best to raise the kid and now it’s going to have to look after itself, I’m letting him be free.”
Robert Muinos launches his debut single I Was Dreaming on Thursday October 16th at The Old Bar in Fitzroy.