Arriving to a neatly crusty home, blasting the most appropriate music out of a pair of Mac speakers that nearly sent me back to my chubby middle school days, the band members were all bobbing their heads to System of a Down. Appreciating Serj Tankian’s angst and heavy expression, the band debated on which songs would be better to cover in a live set. The band is comprised of three members, Stefan Stevens (guitarist, singer), Logan Harriman (drummer), and Spencer Snow (bassist). Having a heavier rock sound that leans more towards metal than anything else, their sound was heavily influenced by bands like Mastodon, The Melvin’s, and “a new age Floyd-esque” Tool. Representing a heavier scene that is rare in Arcata’s underground music scene, Mullet is a three-piece heavy rock band that is really picky about their genre label.
What’s your genre?
“Some people want to peg us as metal, but we don’t really chug as much, we just have some good ole fashion heavy riffage…it’s just heavy, like heavy rock it allows us to do other things within this genre “, says Stevens, “the power of the riff compels us, most important thing is heaviness.”
“I don’t want be held down to just a metal band,” says Harriman.
Like several other bands that fear the permanent brand they are given after several fans like their debut, Mullet is skeptical on taking on any genre label with full conviction. Though their music has strict backgrounds in metal, Mullet is actually heavily influenced by much more than just metal. “I never want it to get to the point we’re people are like, I thought you guys were a metal band!”
What are your musical influences?
“I would say that yeah for drums Swans are a big influence, The Melvin’s, drummer Dale Crover is a huge drumming influence, the drummer from the band Rosetta I admire and Don from Mastodon, I try to hone some of that into myself.” said, Harriman.
“Metal and heavy music, definitely… However, over the years, my taste became refined and I started to crave things with a slower pulse,” Stevens says, “Gojira is my favorite death metal band, their groovy riffs are fantastic…Methdrinker has really sludgy crusty metal sound too…my guitar will actually always be influenced under the baseline, I trust the ways he (Snow) plays a lot. ”
“Spencer does things that don’t make sense but still manage to work,” says Harriman.
Being the only one who isn’t strictly influenced by metal or heavy rock, Snow prefers the influence of more stoner doom metal and bands with a classic rock aesthetic like the sounds of Sleep.
“Not metal…. Best bassist’s for me are Al Cisneros from Sleep he’s a huge influence, Joe from The Melvin’s, Geezer from Sabbath, but Marcus Miller is my favorite bassist.” says Snow.
Regardless of the sounds that have influenced this band, they still have a unique sound that separates them from the rest. Due to the several different kinds of influences these band mates have their sound becomes an amalgamation of a new-age stoner thrash rock. They all have different influences that create the melting pot of sound that Mullet is. They can all agree they love The Melvin’s. With Stevens providing chord progressions that are similar to Gojira, Snow being influenced by smooth Jazz bass and Harriman needing to levy up the mix with a steady beat and a heavy experimental Swans influence, Mullet becomes an interesting clash of sounds that work.
Why did you choose the name, “Mullet”?
“We were all in the art quad, and we kept seeing this dude with a gnarly mullet, bowl cut on top way long on bottom,” says Stevens, “Spencer liked the word mullet, he’s also our mullet aficionado and we kept seeing this guy with a good mullet…this ginger mullet dude basically named the band.”
Where do you want to take this project?
“Well it all started when Spliff Moth (sister band) was on a hiatus, and we were bored so we started jamming with Stefan. We meshed with his style and had fun doing it, so we formed Mullet.” said, Harriman.
“My ambition is to sharpen my teeth, learn how to interact and create music with other musicians,” says Stefan.
What does it mean to be in a garage rock band?
“Freedom, noise, our three piece band only works because every person is so integral and vital, the only way things will be done is if everyone does their part, says, Stefan. “Developing the discipline of musicianship…Getting the tone and sound that I want is a huge goal; it’s exciting bringing it live to an audience that can appreciate it.”
What does it mean to be part of a DIY scene in a small town, compared to a bigger city say like San Francisco?
“Easier in some ways, I’d be way more stressed out if I was in a bigger city especially with more competition” said Harriman.
“We have greater affect as a band, most of our shows here are friend based. Our shows are full of our friends were not hocking it at strangers.” says, Stevens.
“The weight of the music we are making is unattractive to venues, there aren’t to many heavy bands in Arcata, maybe Eureka.” says, Snow.
The band brings up a good point about the venue system here in Arcata. Without any reliable venue for this type of music, it becomes more and more difficult to create and attract audiences. The only shows bands like this play are found through word of mouth. With waves and waves of freshman coming in every year you would imagine there would be one venue in Arcata that consistently had all age shows with a diversity of genres throughout. One venue that has touring and local bands but represents all of the talent and expression Arcata has to offer. “It’s so essential to a culture to an identity, like I would love for someone to go back home for a break and say I go to HSU and for someone else to say ‘Oh! I hear their music scene’s really fucking dope!’” say’s Stevens, “that would tickle me fuchsia.” Representing the DIY scene means much more than just playing free house shows for all ages and partying. It would mean uniting all of the local bands with the willingness to create more of a sense of community. To acknowledge the fact that Arcata has a really diverse music scene and to ensure that bands and fans that pass through Arcata think the same.
“Morrissey, he sings way too much,“
“I hate shredding”
“Yeah just showing off technical skill, also the Grateful Dead”
“Incubus, just has a lack of lyricism”
Grateful Dead and jam bands are overrated.
“I guess were in the wrong town, haha,”
“Metal in the pop scene, but not popular metal, Charles Manson, and Jodorowsky’s
“I think Lil ‘B is, Ty Segall, for as much music as he makes/made and his collaborations he deserves more credit, and Gordon’s ‘The Re-animator’”
“Doom jazz, noise is generally, and Linklater’s ‘The waking life’”
Would you ever get a mullet?
“I’m kind of half way there, my dad had frosted tips and a gnarly mullet when I was young haha.”
“I had a mullet when I was 12.”
“Ugly hairstyle in my opinion, its really archaic with the frosted tips, yeah my mom was a hairstylist, experimented on me I totally had one.”
-By Benji Aguirre 😉