Taite Music Prize finalist Jol Mulholland discusses his nominated album "Stop & Start Again".
The winner of the Taite Music Prize, which aims to award the best album from a New Zealand artist over a calendar year, will be announced on April 15 at a media event in Auckland. Named after renowned local journalist Dylan Taite, the award comes with $10,000 in prize money for one of the 10 shortlisted nominees.
Auckland-via-Christchurch musician Jol Mulholland, formerly of Gasoline Cowboy and The Mots, is a finalist for his sophomore album Stop & Start Again. Released in September, the effort was entirely produced, enginerred and, apart from a few guest spots, performed entirely by Mulholland himself. He discusses how the album came to be and what makes him persevere with his music.
Can you tell us a little about the recording and songwriting process for Stop & Start Again?
I went up to my mum’s little cottage just north of Warkworth for three days with a really basic recording setup. I was by myself, and had a little room to setup and do sketches and muck around. I wrote most of the album during those three days. I then started fleshing out the demos from the farm in my studio downstairs at The Lab called The Oven. It took about three to four months on and off between other jobs. The hard bit was getting all the ducks in a row for releasing it.
Did you go into the studio with a vision for how you wanted the record to sound?
In a way yes – in so far as wanting it to sound cohesive, and part of the same moment in time.
What sort of challenges did you face when writing and recording the album?
There were technical things, borrowing vintage microphones, keyboards and collecting it all into one location, plugging it in and getting the studio up to speed. I also struggled finalising a few of the lyrics, and it wasn’t until mixing that I finished them off. Apart from that, just working hard on other projects to get the funds together to release it – the usual story.
What music or influences helped to shape the sound of the album?
I’ve always been a fan of Pavement, Beck and Radiohead – they’re my fall back iTunes bands when I can’t find anything new to play. The other things that influence me are the instruments themselves, particularly synthesizers and effects. They can be the sound that makes the whole track suddenly more exciting and worth revisiting and persevering with.
What’s your favourite song from the album, and why?
‘Before It All Falls Apart’. It’s a very direct song lyrically, which is pretty real to me. In saying that, I reckon anyone could stand in the kitchen feeling those things and sing along! They are the kind of songs I love.
LISTEN: Jol Mulholland speaks to Music 101 about Stop & Start Again