MN Original

House Painter/Carpenter by Day, Musician by Night

Zach Mullan is a house painter and carpenter by day and musician by night. Producer Brittany Shrimpton chatted with Zach to learn more about his projects – both house and music.

Q: When did you first start to play guitar?
A: My dad had guitars around the house but the first time I played an electric guitar was at a buddy’s house in 7th grade. I pretty much couldn’t put it down after I picked it up.

Q: What was the first tune you learned?
A: Smoke on the Water

Q: Besides your solo endeavors, what other bands do you play with?
A: Mikel Wrights and the Wrongs, Bigtree Bonsai, Shoeless Revolution, Darkside of the Loon, Main Street Bayou and Nate Case and the Projects.

Q: When did you first start writing your own music and how is it different for you than playing?
A: I started experimenting with my own music and writing lyrics in 8th or 9th grade, but writing and playing are two different muscles. When I first started playing guitar I was primarily drawn to the guitar playing aspect; Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Clapton were big influences on my playing. When I was older I started listening more to singer/song writers. I’ve learned over time that I have to get out of my “lead guitarist mindset” when I write, so I can write a good song. Songwriting is more about delivering a message and you might only be playing three simple chords while doing so.

Writing songs is like exercising a muscle. When you first start doing pull-ups, you can maybe do a couple. But after you’ve been working out you can do more and they become easier and smoother. It’s the same with writing music – you have to keep at it. If you write 20 songs, you probably have two good ones in the mix, but the important thing is to keep working at it.

Q: Do you ever write while you are working on a house?
A: You never know when creativity will hit, so if I am in a creative streak and working on a house I’ll record lyrics/melodies into my phone – or I’ll listen to something I’ve already recorded and tryout different harmonies.

Q: How many house painting/carpentry projects do you work on at a time and what do you enjoy about it?
A: I work on one to four projects at a time. I enjoy seeing the finished product. Much like seeing a song go from an idea to a complete polished idea. I enjoy the end result.

Q: After years of being a musician – why do you keep at it?
A: I do a lot of physical labor in my day job as a house painter and carpenter. Music allows me to release my artistic side. There’s something inside me that drives me to play. It just feels natural for me to pick up a guitar and get on stage and perform – it scratches an itch for me and makes me feel normal.

Special Thanks
York Farm:
Andy Cotter

Irene Genelin

Ben Peterson