Meet Quinn Henry Mulligan, who in 2017 discovered himself on the cusp of uncertainty. His band, Fanno Creek, was kaput and he despised his job. On top of that, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d written a song.
One night, drunk, and sitting on the front porch with his twin brother, he posed an existential question: “What if I’m not a musician anymore?”
His brother, Finley Mulligan, filmmaker, wagered, “If you record one album, every month, I’ll produce ‘em.”
So that’s what he did. He recorded and released twelve albums in 2018, one every month, an undertaking akin to the Twelve Labors of Hercules. The albums delivered contagious blends of folk music with psychedelic rock savors, proving what everyone already knew — Quinn was a talented musician.
His new music video is entitled “Older,” a song about balancing the realities of life with the passage of time, and not becoming mired in the rut of unmet expectations.
I sat down with Quinn Henry Mulligan to find out drives a person to churn out twelve albums in twelve months, and because I like his new video, which features a trippy green demon who joins him for a night of revelry.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as obsessive. I love taking deep dives into new subjects and following the rabbit hole somewhat single-mindedly until some other topic pulls me out of it. Rinse, repeat.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
I didn’t get into much trouble as a kid. Mostly because I didn’t get caught very often. Ha! I did dive out the second story window of an abandoned house I was exploring once and landed in front of one of the cops trying to get us out. Success on his part, I suppose. He wasn’t exactly pleased.
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. “War Pigs,” probably.
Who is your favorite music artist?
My favorite musical artist would likely be David Bowie. Of course, this changes periodically, depending on what I “need” from music at the time, but it always comes back to Bowie.
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
It’s all my Mom’s fault. She showed me so many good bands and artists when I was young. When I was 14 or so I got a guitar for Christmas and immediately set out writing my own music. Having a twin brother to play with was and is invaluable. We competed with each other, encouraged each other, and more than anything found it incredibly easy to play off one another.
What musicians influenced you the most?
My biggest influences would be David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Grizzly Bear, and Animal Collective. AND The Beatles, of course.
How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?
I think the most apparent connection between the folks that influenced me as a musician would have to be strong lyrics. Each one of these artists found a way to bend words and sounds together seamlessly. They had a thought or maybe just a feeling and managed to not only describe it with language but also enhance that language with music, giving you the full experience of a moment or emotion. It gets me really fucking excited.
What was the inspiration for your new music video, “Older?”
“Older” comes from a feeling I think most of us experience quite a few times in our lives. We hit a point where everything leading up to it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Change needs to happen or the fear of getting stuck in the same place presents itself as anxiety. For me, my 20’s are over and I’m still a musician struggling to work full time and find success doing the things I love. It’s a balance that gets more difficult as time grows shorter. It’s important to step back from it once in a while and shake hands with the more care-free part of yourself.
I hear flavors of folk, indie, psych, and even hints of alt-country in “Older.” How would you describe your sound?
My sound is folk-based at its core. There certainly are electric guitars and synths scattered throughout, but the one thing gluing it all together is a folk sensibility. Kinda how Star Wars is a fantasy story… it would still work in a more primitive setting even if you removed all the sci-fi trappings. Come at me, nerds!