Its time for a bit of science here at BuzzMusic. What do you get when you combine Billie Joe Armstrong, Simon & Garfunkel, and Elvis Presley? The answer is Rockabilly artist Chuck Mullen. Chuck constructs his music around themes of personal struggle, political and religious doctrine, and events happening around our global society. His inclusive music encourages his listeners to embrace themselves for who they are while promoting individuality and self-worth.
We are lead into Chuck Mullen's latest release "Narcissist" with a forward-moving acoustic guitar and Chuck's eclectic voice. "Narcissist," tells the story of a toxic relationship and the abuse suffered by another's self-absorbed personality. The soundscape is comprised of simple instrumentation and orchestral tones that resonate within the atmosphere of the song. Chuck's voice is the driving melody throughout the song and is lovingly complemented by Rainer Rose's harmonizing vocals. There is an air of nostalgia on "Narcissist," and even with its heavy subject matter, Chuck has created a peaceful sound profile that entrances the listener. The lyrics could easily be set to an angry amplified rock song, but Chuck Mullen's relaxing take to the accompanying instrumentation heightens the songs messaging appreciably more and takes a higher ground than that of the "Narcissist" Chuck is singing about. We loved Chuck Mullen's latest hit "Narcissist," and we think you will too.
Listen today to "Narcissist" here.
Hello Chuck, and welcome to BuzzMusic. "Narcissist" as such a nostalgic aura about it. Can you tell us a bit more about the song and how it came about?
I came up with the chorus in the middle of the night, while I was stoned in my room. You see, I’m a medicinal user and I get more deep in thought when I’m stoned, and when I was coming up with the chorus, I was thinking about my parent (I’ll keep which parent that was to myself for now) who is known by all of my family and loved ones as a toxic narcissist, I used the pain and misery of what my parent said and did to me and channeled it to I guess you can say is a catchy chorus. Narcissists tend to deny their flaws deny their bad behavior, play the victim, and point the finger at the person calling them out, and will act self-centered and have no regard for others' feelings or well being. That’s what I write Narcissist about. It’s definitely a very personal song for me. The reason why I won’t say whether it’s my mom or my dad is that a narcissist especially cares about their self-image so I guess keeping the Narcissist I wrote about anonymous is a way of respecting their integrity but to also save the heartache of more emotional abuse.
You could have easily set the lyrics of "Narcissist" to a fueled rock song, why did you take a different approach to the instrumentation heard on the track?
I personally felt that the song’s theme and flow belonged to an acoustic sound with synth background with sweet harmonies and the song is basically a trip down memory lane and normally in a movie or a show when a character has a flashback, there is usually an atmospheric feeling and I felt that the collaboration is done with my friend Rainer Rose, Donrico De Castro and the amazing recording, mixing and mastering done by my friend Carlos Sanchez and Ryan Kelly, I thought the sound of fitted so perfect that when I heard the first Demo with collaboration, I was tearing up in my bed while playing in my ears.
You mentioned you write from a personal perspective. How do you hope to connect with your listeners coming from this place of vulnerability?
Considering I wrote my song about my Narcissistic parent, here’s what I got to say to anyone who has listened to this song and/or has a Narcissistic loved one: it’s incredibly hard especially if you’re still a minor with a narcissistic parent. You feel as if you’re in inescapable darkness and you may even feel that nobody understands your pain. To anyone dealing with a narcissist parent, you’re tough, even if you think you’re weak, you are indeed strong. You’re strong for putting up with the physical, mental, and emotional abuse. You are strong for still going to school, despite all the stress from home. You are strong for staying alive. It takes strength to stay alive and breathing after wanting to kill yourself over dealing with your abusive parent on a daily basis. I want you to know that you deserve respect, you deserve empathy, you deserve compassion, you deserve that from your parent. You don’t have to have them in your life if they are causing you pain and anguish. To anyone who’s saying that you have to put up with your parents or loved ones toxic behavior because they are still your family, friend, etc, don’t listen to them. Toxic is toxic. You don’t deserve that, you deserve better. I just hope whoever has a toxic parent who listens to my song that they are not alone, and when you have the chance, cut that person out of your life if they still continue to inflict pain and anguish. You don’t deserve it, but if you can’t avoid them right now, stay strong and tell someone you can trust, if you need to get away from the abuse, should it become unbearable, and you are brave and strong for having the strength to keep going.
How long have you been creating music, and how do you feel your sound has evolved from where you first started?
I learned guitar when I was 16 years old by a one-armed man, who plays multiple instruments. I get free lessons from him because he’s dating my mom. Really awesome guy, Earnest has been a huge musical inspiration to me. I ask him so many questions, I ask him his thoughts so much so, he sometimes thinks I’m annoying but I just really value his opinion and insight. My music has evolved from me being religious and playing music in the church, to slowly becoming a singer-songwriter with rock, pop, alternative, and punk influence, who is openly Atheist and now I pretty view music as my religion. I personally believe that to succeed as an artist, I’ve got to live and breathe music like it’s my religion. My music is still evolving and I’m excited and I can’t wait to share my new music with the world!
What's next for you?
For now, I’m working on new songs, recording new songs, and I’m working and hoping not to get laid off from my daytime job, given the economic downturn. If I’m offered a record deal, awesome. If not, I’m happy being an independent artist. I also recently joined a metal band as the frontman and clean vocalist and the name is called To Seek Oblivion. I would say expect to see me in the metal scene as well and expect to see more Chuck Mullen releases this year! I just hope things will get better in my home in the United States, and I hope things will get better for people like me and people who not like me around the world.