The drums—uh well, I took piano lessons for a little while but really the drum set.
Who are you listening to now?
I've been listening to a lot of Mark Kozelek, you know that guy? Sun Kill Moon? He's really cool, he's a singer from San Francisco, and fronted a band called the Red House Painters. He's one of my favorite songwriters.I produce records for a living [and] I run a studio in Minneapolis, so I spend a lot of time listening to my clients.I just try to put on iTunes shuffle and listen to tons of shit in the studio. Lots of stuff. Lots of Chad Blake....he's cool.
How do you get started with the song-writing process?
Um, it's usually just like one melody. It's like a melodic idea and a lyric idea that come at the same time. So maybe I'll do one idea for a little hook or something and then I just kind of have fun and sing it in the car and drive around late at night and it becomes a verse or a chorus and I take it from there. And usually it's just been what's piling up in the back of my head and whatever I'm thinking about. You guys know...you study English, so you probably read a lot about a lot of different writers...Writers and musicians' life work is kind of based around the kind of life-long tensions they've always had. Maybe they grew up and saw a lot of whatever, whatever they really saw there's always some kind of catalyst for—I don't know—shit that humans have. What was the question? How do you write your songs?...You just have stuff that revolves around what you think about and you try to just go after that.
How did you get involved with Project Film and Zoo Animal?
Project Films—those dudes know Ian Anderson at my record label, Afternoon, and we just kind of met. I was looking to play Chicago with some other people...And Zoo Animal, I produced a Zoo Animal record in my studio for Holly...but we've kind of just known each other from being around Minneapolis and she's always been one of my favorite songwriters.
How would you describe your musical style?
I think it's like a dude that sucks at guitar—a dude that's pretty good at drums and studio stuff, that's trying to compensate for the fact that he can't play the guitar. I do all that stuff with the pads because I like melodic concepts but you know, with drums you can't always get there. They're a very melodic instrument if you play them in that way but they're not very, you know, as tonal as you need, obviously, for a harmonic instrument...So it's just kind of a weird blend of stuff I've always liked. I love drums, I like drummers, and I love electronic music, but then I love acoustic singer-songwriters. So I'm trying to just get away with all of that at once.
Lastly, what other plans do you have for this year?
Well, I just built a studio in Northeast Minneapolis and I'm trying to get that finished...produce a bunch of records and hopefully get the next Tarlton thing all recorded. I've got the whole thing written, I just need to get it recorded.
Are you planning on playing other cities?
Oh yeah, we're on tour right now, we're doing Iowa City tomorrow...Kansas City...it's just, you know, a little Midwest right now...
Check out Bullion’s music at www.tarltonmusic.com.