Interview with Essentially Pop Magazine
Tim Muddiman and The Strange is a band with a sound that’s fresh and song-driven, with heavy trem guitar hooks, crafted drum breaks and clever studio programming. Frontman Tim Muddiman is a producer and guitarist/bass player with Gary Numan’s band. He also plays guitar for Pop Will Eat Itself and recently finished producing their soon to be released album.
Tim Muddiman and The Strange cite musical influences from Bjork to Fleetwood Mac, Nine Inch Nails, as well as 80s Electro and Blues. The band consists of other musicians from a professional touring background. They’ve played full capacity shows at The Sebright Arms and Camden Rocks Festival They have had extensive radio play with XFM championing their debut release Wildwood Stone’ and B-Side Track, ‘Strangers’.
EP: You’ve worked for a variety of different bands over time Tim, including Gary Numan’s. Is it a different experience heading your own band, and if so how/why? Is the band a democracy or do you rule from the top?
TM: It is different because this time it is solely my music. I recorded and wrote everything. However there are similarities that I have adopted from working with some true pioneers. I adapt a similar ethic in writing music and how it is going to be translated live. It is essentially my band but I have a great band of musicians and friends. Their opinion on how they want to play the parts and the sounds they want to use is as valid as mine. It’s an organic approach with people that I respect creatively and ethically.
EP: How would you describe your music to those who aren’t familiar with it?
TM: Dare I say that it’s original? Nothing is original but it is still unique…
It’s a straight up combination of everything that I love. It’s true to my education and my love of groove and sound. Lyrically its generally personal or a reflection of what I might be thinking that day or what’s consuming me mentally. I can hear my influences all over it like Rockabilly, NIN, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young etc.
EP: You say on your PledgeMusic site, “To survive with my lust for musicality and it forever living on my shoulders and in every cell I have started a new band” – is this something you’ve always experienced, or is there a specific time you can remember really getting into it?
TM: Yes I’ve always experienced it. My first memories are music. Elvis, Rock’n’Roll, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan then New York Electro/ Hip Hop. The thing is that although I’ve always been consumed by music I didn’t put it right at the front of everything. It was always really close but not 100% at the front. Since doing that never felt happier in my whole life and I’m not compromising that for anything.
So by that comment I was simply stating that if I don’t do this now I may as well forget it. I couldn’t be a hobby musician. That would kill me. I care and love songs too much. Now it’s all or nothing as a musician.
EP: What was your PledgeMusic experience like? Would you recommend it to other bands?
TM: It was fantastic. It was a really exciting few months. I’ve picked up some fans and friends with playing in other bands like Gary Numan and PWEI and had a pretty healthy social media following. I spoke with Pledge and they suggested by the statistics to go for it. So I worked my ass off and updated the campaign regularly. Pledge were also very supportive and I’d recommend them to any one. It is such a great way to test the water and find out who your fans are.
EP: Talk us through your latest song, ‘Rolling Stones’.
TM: Rolling Stones was actually written about 4 years ago as an electronic track. The lyrics were very different but the vocal melody very similar. Every now and then my iTunes would play it and I’d be wow! …What’s this? Then realising it was this little tune I’d written ages ago. So just after starting the Pledge campaign I stripped it right back and played what guitar felt right to it. Then I just kept going and going and going. It was similar to painting. I just kept adding and taking away layers until it was complete. Every thing is in there. Blues/Folk/Industrial/Hip Hop/Rockabilly/Grunge. I’m really pleased with it…
EP: What’s your take on the current state of the Music Industry, and what advice do you have for those who are just getting started in it?
TM: I think artists and the industry will always debate and criticise the current state of the record industry. I’ve read and heard it in documentaries from every age. I believe there are massive advantages and disadvantages to the times we’re in. Gone are the days of an A&R man turning up at your gig by fluke or sending in a fancy demo package that you slaved over for months. Technology has helped the poorest of musicians. I should know.
With a laptop and internet connection there is no excuse to not get things out there these days. The opportunities are there right on your screen. That’s where the A&R people hang out these days. A lot comes down to will, determination and obviously good music/art.
The flip side to this is this obvious great situation is that new music had never been so popular. To quote Tom Robinson, “there is too much new music”. So it makes it still difficult to get heard.
The other disadvantage is the financial situation the music industry is facing…The streaming situation has ruined record sales and I am no expert on knowing how that can change, to be honest. As a consumer it is like a miracle that one can pay a few quid a month and listen to what they want but I think that it is incredibly unjustified for a musician who has spent their whole life crafting their skills.
I think if I knew how to get people back in to record shops and stop this whole streaming and free downloading thing I would. The best times in my life have been buying new albums from shops and getting home and treasuring it like it belonged only to me!! The artwork and the whole feeling of being consumed by it was always wonderful to me. Now it is all out there everywhere. It’s lost something very special. It makes me sad. So my advice is if you’re going to start learn your craft. Learn everything and be the best.
EP: What’s been your best career memory so far?
TM: My first tour of America with Gary Numan, We played pretty much the whole of the states and hit all four corners. It was a real dream come true.
EP: Top three songs in your music collection right now?
TM: 1) FKA TWIGS, Glass and Patron
2) Nick Cave, We Real Cool
3) Nina Simone, Sinnerman.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
TM: Q: Would you like an easy and simple existence? A: ?
Tim Muddiman and The Strange are performing at the Old Queen’s Head, Islington, on 15 July. Tickets are available here. You can buy ‘Wildwood Stone’ on iTunes or via their merchandise store.
You can find Tim Muddiman and The Strange on their official website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo.