Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Australia’s Club President. Together we discussed their name, their creative process, their upcoming album “Pharmacology”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is thankful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
I’m doing well, thanks. It’s a pleasure to be here!
2. How did you come up with the name Club President? What are the rules to join the club? Do you have a favorite president?
The name came from the fact that I don’t actually have a club or band, it’s just me making music so I suppose I’m the president by default.
People who would be a good fit for my club include those who: Have had their everyday clothing mistaken for a halloween costume, spend a lot of time reading about doing things rather than doing them, and work menial jobs because art doesn’t pay.
I don’t think I have a favourite president, if I did, it would probably be someone from a small group rather than a person who leads a nation.
3. What was your relationship with Music growing up? Who were some of your early influences?
Funnily enough, I grew up in the opposite of a musical family. I used to watch a music video T.V. show on Saturday mornings and I got very into I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith which I would then sing to family friends when they came over to my house. I also used to religiously record the music video for Freestyler by Bomfunk MC’s to VHS.
After that, the really seismic influence that started my interest in guitar was Beat It by Michael Jackson which blew my 9 year old mind, I also got very into dancing for a while, but didn’t follow that as tenaciously as music.
4. Is there a song or album that had a significant impact on you? Could you share more?
Definitely, the album that changed everything was Oracular Spectacular by MGMT. It was the first album that made me question “How do the songs sound like this?” which led to my interest in producing and audio engineering. I was really into 80s shredding guitar music when I first heard that album and it just completely redirected me stylistically, which was helpful because I could get away with practicing guitar a lot less with indie rock.
5. What is your creative process?
For this album, I sort of made it backwards compared to how I know most other people make things. I came up with the concept while I was sitting in my studio, then I ripped a page out of a nearby journal, wrote “Pharmacology” at the top of the page, and wrote out the song titles in the sequence they appear. Then I just wrote the songs based on their titles. That is quite an abbreviated description, but the process was really that simple when boiled down.
6. You are a multi-instrumentalist. What instrument did you learn first? When did you begin to learn more? How did you train yourself to learn each? What advice would you give to a human also looking to learn an instrument?
I started learning guitar when I was 9 and wasn’t overly crazy about it as I was learning classical guitar. However, that changed when a guy from my school told me about Led Zeppelin and then I started playing guitar for 3-6 hours a night, trying to learn their songs.
After guitar came the keyboard which I taught myself through a couple of methods. Before I had a physical keyboard, I downloaded a program that let me play my computer keyboard like a piano so I could play along with Imagine by John Lennon. Then once I got a keyboard, I downloaded the sheet music for Bohemian Rhapsody and taught myself how to play it note by note over the summer, which was funny considering I couldn’t read music at the time so I was constantly looking up which keys corresponded with the notes on the page.
After that it was bass, which was a reasonably easy transition from guitar, not to say that bass is easy, but when you just want to pound the root notes of chords you can get started pretty quickly.
As for drums, I would just repeatedly book out a rehearsal room after class at college and play along with the first Tame Impala album until they closed the campus for the night.
If I could give any advice to someone learning an instrument it would be to know that you don’t have to live up to any expectation. It doesn’t matter if you play your instrument in a way that others don’t understand. Common practices are literally just a guideline and you can play as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as you want and the world isn’t going to fall apart. Also, fuck anyone who says that you can’t do it, you can.
7. Your upcoming debut album “Pharmacology” tells stories from the perspectives of various medications you have taken. Is there a specific medication that inspired the concept of this album? What can fans expect from “Pharmacology?”
The idea for the album came about around a month after I wrote ‘Aspirin’ as a standalone song. The concept is basically about being introduced to an idea at a very young age which then becomes intertwined with your identity for many years and the eventual shedding of that identity in the hope of a better future.
Listeners can expect a lot of 12 string acoustic guitar à la early 70s David Bowie, sardonic lyrics, songs that blend into one another and the occasional spoken word monologue.
8. Mustard has observed that pharmaceutical companies play a big role in human lives from their cost, their insurer, and how much a human can receive. Is your upcoming album a commentary on this?
I don’t speak too literally about the societal implications of medication in this album. In the songs they function like a checkpoint, having just been in my life at the time that other events happened. But no song is actually about the medicine itself. Kind of like that saying – always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
But with that being said, I definitely have a couple of irons on the fire regarding larger societal concepts, so keep your eyes peeled for those in the future.
9. What are pharmaceutical companies like in Australia? Do they work toward the benefit and care of its citizens? Or are they more profit-driven?
I haven’t really had much interaction with pharmaceutical companies per se, apart from being a consumer. As far as I’ve seen, health care in Australia is reasonably favourable in comparison to other areas of the western world. The system isn’t perfect, but you don’t have to be too concerned about going into debt if you break your arm or something trivial like that.
10. Where can readers listen to your music?
They can find me on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp and YouTube!