Doom, Dirge, and Denver: The Munsens Unleash Themselves and Go “Unhanded”

The Munsens Unhanded

As with the temporal landscape of any artform, metal’s topography is speckled with breakout groups that erupt from beneath the surface like volcanic islands, suddenly gaining marked prominence over the surrounding terrain. Sometimes these groups maintain outstanding consistency and provide the world with compelling new music year after year; all too often, though, the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and we witness even the most stellar acts lapse into generic irrelevance or implode altogether.

Unlike most art forms, however, metal presents its acolytes with the rare opportunity to manufacture success from the ground up, to be included and recognized on a smaller scale thanks to the inexhaustible scrutiny and encyclopedic knowledge of fans. Many groups have been known to spend decades with their nose to the proverbial grindstone before gaining widespread fame, seeing their earlier material lauded long after its initial creation. Within this latter category, only a small handful of bands display the level of humility, professionalism, and dedication that I have witnessed in Denver-based doom outfit The Munsens.

Photo credit: Katie StreberPhoto credit: Katie Streber

Originally founded by brothers Mike and Shaun Goodwin in their hometown of Asbury Park, New Jersey, the group evolved organically from casual, routine basement jam sessions to a full-fledged, nationally touring stoner-doom band. Since moving to Denver in 2009, The Munsens have independently released three EPs, appeared at several festivals across the western United States, and ultimately dug out their own niche within the bedrock of the now flourishing Colorado metal scene. Although their rise has been far from meteoric, the brothers have solidified an ironclad reputation thanks to their unmatched sense of hard work and commitment plus their deep involvement within the metal scene; aside from their roles as musicians, Mike works as an avid live photographer and Shaun is the main organizer of Denver’s premiere stoner/sludge/doom metal gathering, Electric Funeral Fest.

And despite a period of nebulousness and disconnection between the band’s members from 2012 to 2015 (original guitarist Jon Surmonte remained in New Jersey while the brothers had permanently moved to Denver), the group remained active and eventually revitalized themselves in 2016 with a stark lineup change: Shaun – who had previously played drums for the group – replaced Jon on guitar, and a new drummer by the name of Graham Wesselhoff joined forces with the Goodwins. Now in 2019, with almost three years of shared experience jamming and touring together with one geographically cohesive lineup, The Munsens have fully realized a world of new musical ideas with their debut full-length Unhanded — stream the full album below prior to its Friday release.

On Unhanded, The Munsens have injected their rowdy yet deliberately leaden grooves with a mind-bending dose of experimentation, branching outward into suggestions of black metal, funeral doom, and even crust punk. For the first time in their discography, they have crafted a singular work that sprawls consummately across an electric range of genres, fully exploring concepts only hinted at on their previous material. Each track represents a decidedly unique journey down an untrodden path, with the band venturing out into remote spaces yet retaining a healthy sense of continuity throughout the whole of the album.

Seeking to gain further insight into the band’s long and winding saga of progress, I set up a meeting with the Goodwin brothers at Tooey’s Off Colfax, one of Denver’s staple heavy metal dive bars and an ideal locale in which to steep in the sardonic vibes of underground music. Although the brothers and I convened in the middle of the afternoon, the interior of Tooey’s Off Colfax was shadowy and crepuscular, its atmosphere defined by an uncanny juxtaposition between rugged décor and sleek, flowery 1980s new-wave pouring out from the bar’s stereo.

With PBRs in hand, we headed to a booth in the very back corner of the room to sit and discuss The Munsens’ origins, musical development, and most importantly, the full creative process — from conception to post-production — behind the group’s breakout record.

— Thomas Hinds

To begin, I wanted to ask you a little about your origins as a band: having grown up in Asbury Park, New Jersey, how would you compare getting into metal on the East Coast vs. being a part of the metal scene out here in Denver?

Mike: I think the thing that comes to mind first and foremost — and granted, we’ve been out here for ten years, so I don’t want to say I’m super in touch with the metal scene back home, but when we were kids the hardcore scene was huge. That was kinda what I grew up on in between punk and classic rock; as I started to get into heavier stuff it was that hardcore/metalcore stuff.

So you could say that there’s some hardcore influence somewhere in your inspiration for playing, maybe not in your sound now but somewhere along the line?

Mike: It was there growing up. I guess coming to Denver widened my taste, my appetite for metal. I started listening to a wider array of stuff out here than I was surrounded by back east.

Shaun: Yeah it was a good move for the band too; obviously the music scene in Denver is much stronger than in Asbury Park, but the metal scene in particular was fairly nonexistent there. If there was [metal] it was metalcore, stuff we had kinda stopped listening to and moved past after high school.

So that probably inspired the move as well, at least partially.

Mike: Yeah, we came out here not specifically for music, but that was a great bonus. And looking at it now… the Asbury Park scene is probably a better place if you’re looking to play indie rock or feel-good-sitting-on-the-beach-drinking-a-beer type music: I think that for what we’re doing now, Denver’s a more appropriate place.

It definitely shows in the development of your sound, as you’ve clearly adopted that fuzzy, blackened simmer of the Denver doom scene that you can’t really find anywhere else. The first track you dropped from the new LP displays that more so than anything you’ve done previously. Now that you’re in your seventh year of existence, how does your cohesive vibe as a group feel compared to when you were releasing your first material back in 2012?

Shaun: Well, seven years as a band, but I used to play drums: when we came to Denver our other guitarist who was planning on moving out here decided not to, and with that I moved to guitar and we picked up a new drummer. And Graham, who’s not here with us right now, could drum a lot faster and do all these things I couldn’t do. I don’t think that was limiting us; at the time we weren’t really trying to do much more, but now we can and do, and will continue to do so.

Mike: Having [Graham] behind the kit allowed us to open our eyes a lot more to what we might want to do, and his influences and tastes brought a whole new third to the band that hadn’t existed prior, so I think it’s a mix of that and us being immersed in the diverse metal scene here. Whether it’s a conscious or subconscious thing, all those shows and jams with people in town start to wear on you and shape a new sound.

Shaun: And I’ve also gotten a lot better at guitar in the last three years since I’ve moved to a guitar position in the band.

And did you play guitar at all before?

Shaun: I did but I wasn’t playing in a band, so I didn’t have reason to practice and practice.

The name of your band comes from Kingpin, from the character Roy Munson; you said that was kind of a fad phrase used here in Denver to refer to a dork, a loser, etc. Could you explain that a little further?

Mike: Yeah, we had a really good buddy when we first moved here who used “Munson” as a kind of catch-all insult. It wasn’t really for a specific type of person, he used it in any scenario that he felt appropriate. “Look at this fucking Munson,” or “the guy at the bar gave me the wrong change, fucking Munson!” and, you know, playing on that meaning from the movie – a born loser – we just thought it was really funny. Taking this kind of cynical approach as a band it was also really fitting; without trying to be overly tough or overly imposing or overly metal, it fit this nice middle-ground for us where we could be a bit sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek and roll with the title that we at the time found to be riot.

Photo credit: Sally Townsend PhotographyPhoto credit: Sally Townsend Photography

So is your music more focused on depressive themes or is it more sarcastic, like “you might be a loser but that’s life?”

Mike: Yeah I don’t think it’s full-on, fuck-everything nihilism, but I would say especially some of the more recent material and songs we’ve written and released are just a bit more biting in their criticism. I would say not necessarily depressing but brutal truth? Real truth? Not as airbrushed and rosy as we like to pretend sometimes, not just we as a band but society in general.

Absolutely — that leads me right into the new LP. It feels like with this new direction, you’re shifting into something a bit more stoic, more melancholy. It’s your debut full-length; how did you come to that, how did that feel for you guys?

Mike: About fucking time! A quick aside… the first three or four years of the band were so scattered because we had a guitarist living on the other side of the country — the very nature of that arrangement, it limited what we were able to do. That was why we positioned this one as our first album; we’d been together and toured a decent amount, and this really felt like the first time three individuals were able to sit down and cohesively put their ideas together and release it in a timely way. Not “an EP here, a song there,” but a collection of songs that really reflected where we wanted to go as a band, and what we wanted to discuss. This was kind of our first opportunity to do that, so there was a lot of discussion, you know, “this is gonna be funny, our first LP,” but we said fuck it.

Shaun: It’s actually two minutes shorter than our last EP.

Mike: Yeah so technically it makes no fucking sense! [laughs]

Shaun: But for [Mike’s] reasoning, we just didn’t feel like those [EPs] were, you know they just didn’t feel like it. Cause we had written most of the songs before Graham had joined the band, and then we recorded it in two days, rushed it, got it down…

Mike: This was the first time we got to take our time.

So with Abbey Rose in 2016, you had written it, Graham joined, and then you went into the studio.

Shaun: Yeah, most of it had been written already.

Mike: Went in, shoestring budget. Not like, “oh let’s go record this album,” it was, “we have to record this in two days; if it’s not done when we leave, that’s it.”

But by late 2018 you’ve got almost three years with one lineup, extensive touring, you’re ready to put a full album together properly. Unhanded marks a decided shift in your sound. Not a total about-face, more of just a logical shift forward that incorporates a lot of new ideas. I wanted you to speak a little on the musical evolution of how you got from the sound on Weight of Night and Abbey Rose to Unhanded, and what inspired that step.

Shaun: A lot of it was just people playing together; playing long enough together you kind of find your sound, performing with one consistent lineup year after year you finally click, you think “this is the music we want to be playing together.” Maybe some of it was a shift in music we had been listening to, because I get tired of listening to the same shit. I was listening to more doomy stuff four years ago, and now it’s changed.

Mike: You know, we were discussing our influences and how across the map they’d been throughout our lives — I think all that stuff has been there, but in the early days with Jon we were way more aware or cognizant of “oh no, this is a Munsens sound, this goes with this band.” Once we started jamming with Graham, there was less of a consideration for “should it be this, should it be that?” It was just something we’d written knowing we were all generally interested in this kind of heavy sound.

So you felt more free to experiment at this point.

Mike: Yeah, and didn’t really think about it as much. There wasn’t a self-imposed limit that we put on at the beginning, it was just “hey, fuck that’s cool let’s make that a song.”

Shaun: Yeah our next album could sound completely different, we just don’t know.

Photo credit: Chris SpiegelPhoto credit: Chris Spiegel

What were the direct musical inspirations for the album? Did you have any particular motivations, any specific sound or anything happening that gave you some ideas?

Mike: I don’t know if I can put my finger on one specific sound, I know based on the jams we’d had over the last few years that I wanted it to be as diverse as everything we’d ripped through. I remember thinking at the beginning, “I hope some of this exploration we’ve been fucking around with can end up on the album,” and another consideration that I had going in was wanting to find a fair balance between putting something together that sounded pro that we had recorded track-by-track while still retaining that kind of that rawness that we always wanted, that live, for lack of a better word “imperfect” sound that often gives a song the unique feel that it has.

Shaun: More than anything, over the years I’ve just wanted to play faster. I’ve listened to enough doom, and after a while playing it, it’s just like “I need more,” so that’s just how songwriting went naturally, you don’t even think about it but you just start writing like that.

Mike: Definitely in the past couple years we’ve been listening to a lot of faster styles, a lot more death metal, black metal, thrash, crossover stuff, bands like Integrity, or Funeral Chic. I think whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, you look at some of these bands that are straddling these genres and it helps you be like, “fuck it, we don’t have to keep the same time signature the whole time, let’s just play whatever we wanna play.”

Well then getting into the nuts and bolts of the album, “Dirge for Things to Come” has a lot of harsh vocals; have you ever used those kind of vocals in your past?

Mike: Not like this.

Shaun: Yeah that one’s me on vocals, and “Unhanded” is [Mike]. Previously all tracks that I had done vocals on were more like yelling; not singing, but not growling like that. I think it was just a little more fitting for this album and this sound we’ve evolved into. It just seemed right when I was writing lyrics and putting them into the song.

Mike: And I think that it works. It works in the way that, like we were saying, we wanted the band and the way we approached our music to be more abrasive as we found it appropriate in the lyrical content and in the sound. In that way maybe this kind of desperate but still listenable vocal style that we’d done on the previous records wasn’t as fitting as this just guttural growl that you see here.

Without giving too much away, would you say that it gets heavier than “Dirge (For Things to Come)” on Unhanded?

M: I’d say it moves in opposite directions; every song is really different, as you’ve seen with the two that have been released. So if “Dirge” goes in one direction, and “Unhanded” over here, the other three tracks, you’ll get one that’s more in line with what we’ve done on Abbey Rose, and then a couple others that are starting their own little directions.

Shaun: You can tell it’s the same band, but every song is quite different.

Other than the diverse nature of the album, and the heavier aspects, what defines this album as ahead and apart from your other material? What’s your statement here?

Mike: I would say that substance-wise, lyrically, it’s much more critical and much more direct than we’ve been in the past. Musically I’d say it’s a bit more developed, fleshed out, and considerate than before. Everything was given its due time and we were able to craft songs in a way that we weren’t previously able to do.

Shaun: And the engineering itself — shoutout to Mike Moebius in New Jersey who we did this with, he’s just brilliant at what he does. We had such a good time in his studio; we flew back there, and our folks still live there so we were able to kind of have a little home base during that time. We had recorded Weight of Night with him so he knew us personally; we had sent him some demos and he knew exactly what we were going for, and he just nailed it. Mike really takes the time and doesn’t rush, and we owe a lot to him for how well it turned out.

So, returning to Moonlight Mile and working with Mike again, what led you back to him after doing Abbey Rose elsewhere?

Shaun: Part of it was just how much fun we had, how at home it felt sitting in a studio with him. He likes to party, and nothing‘s very this now, if we’re not feeling it he’s like, “yo let’s get a slice of pizza and a beer, and feel it out,” so we had some really good nights in the studio with him.

Mike: I think more than anything — because we had done a lot but hadn’t put out our first record, we wanted to step into the studio with a very close friend that we were comfortable with, someone with whom the only thing we’d have to debate, consider, go over, was the actual album we’re working on. So being able to go there and take the other considerations out of the way and just focus on the recording, I think that was really important. The logistics of it were insane: we had to fly [Sean’s] head back to New Jersey and all these things that didn’t really make it easy, per se. And we were on a timetable since again we’d all flown to NYC or Hoboken for six days to do it. But having that working relationship and that personal relationship with Mike made it all worth it, and I think that bears true in the sound.

Shaun: He’s also very good about, in those moments when you are stuck on something (he is a producer as well) he’ll suggest something, and you’ll play it and be like, “woah, that fits perfectly.” He was super awesome in those moments, like loosening things up and suggesting certain things.

Photo credit: Katie StreberPhoto credit: Katie Streber

In the recording process for Weight of Night, it was a pretty bare-bones setup under a tighter time frame, and you guys recorded that one to tape. Comparatively, would you say the process for Unhanded was more streamlined or perhaps more high-tech? How would you compare the two?

Mike: It was a little more high-tech just because the tape machine was broken when we were there [laughs]. The location has also changed: he still calls it Moonlight Mile it’s just physically in a different building. I’d say the biggest difference was that we didn’t do this one live. We did the other two EPs live and overdubbed the vocals and guitar, whereas this one we did track by track and didn’t use the tape machine at all. Other than that, the major difference was that we were able to take our time a little bit more, it wasn’t such a crunch. Like with any creative endeavor it feels like it became a crunch at the end, but ultimately we were able to take our time.

Shaun: Ideally you wish you had all the time in the world, but it’s expensive and you can only afford so much recording in general, so you kind of have to limit yourself. You can sit in there forever doing a million takes, but you have to kinda put restrictions on yourself.

So you had a little bit more room to breathe this time.

Mike: For sure. We were in a big beautiful studio, and we just trust Mike. It was the kinda thing where I was only thinking about what I had to play; we knew we weren’t gonna have to be looking over someone’s shoulder, or doing anything like that. We could just focus on playing our parts to the best of our ability, knowing that we were in good hands and that Mike was gonna get everything taken care of. That was invaluable to us.

And this is the first time you’ve pressed to vinyl, correct? All your previous releases are on cassette; will you do a cassette for this one?

Mike: Probably. We’d love to do it with someone local and get a tape run out, but yeah it’s probably something we should get on top of. It’s been the last thing to take care of… that’s The Munsens for you [laughs]. I think what I’d like to do is a tape with some sort of twist, either a little bit of bonus to it, or maybe we’ll do a fold-out poster, something to enhance the release.

One more thing about recording. You mentioned that you’ve been wanting to experiment more and more: did you get to experiment to your heart’s content when you recorded Unhanded? Do you still have some itch or do you feel satisfied?

Mike: Yeah for sure there’s more coming. This was the first time three of us — Sean, Graham, and I — gave it a stab, and just as much as we felt content in that effort, I think it spurs a million other ideas as well.

Shaun: Leaving the studio there’s always that feeling, “oh, we should have tried this there,” but like I said, you’re still on a time constraint. You do have to cut it off at a certain point, go with your gut, not overthink things too much.

M: But overall, I think I’d say that completing this record has opened our eyes even more to what we’d like to do, some avenues we’d like to explore. For instance, there’s a friend in town who has a little eight-track recorder, and just as we’re leaving there, all of the sudden it’s like “let’s cut this really raw, grimy eight-track recording in the garage, and let’s make that the next EP,” so it’s little things like that; once one idea gets put to bed, five others are seemingly launched. Now we’ve gotta find some time to fucking do it [laughs].

Well that’s a sign that you’re definitely doing something right, when you’re not yet satisfied and you find yourselves always wanting to come back to your art to see what else you can do with it. That’s exciting. I wanted to talk about your live experience recently and how that’s grown. You guys did Psycho, SXSW, and where else last year?

Mike: We did Austin Terror Fest as well, 71Grind in Colorado Springs, and Electric Funeral Fest here in Denver. I actually put that fest together, that’s me. So us getting on that isn’t really an accomplishment per se. I don’t know if we’re playing it this year, we’ll see. We might have another show up our sleeve we might pass it up for.

I wanted to mention that when I saw you at Psycho I had only heard your older material, so I was expecting a stoner-doom set and was completely blown away by your newer material. Over the past sixth months as you’ve started performing songs off Unhanded, would you say that audiences have been receptive? Has the atmosphere changed at all?

Mike: I think so, and for us it’s been more rewarding. We’ve always taken a lot of pride in our live show. We’ve always wanted to generate a bit of chaos and a lot of energy in a room during our performances. We try to bring the crowd together in this big release, and I think that playing faster, more aggressive music makes that a little easier to do than trying to suck somebody in with more plodding riffs — if we’re hitting it hard and fast from the beginning, creating that chaotic atmosphere in the venue that we ultimately want is a little more easily attained.

Over the last year you’ve probably played more shows than any other year before, so 2018 was a big breakout year for you guys. What kind of new experiences have you had on that tour circuit; how have your lives changed?

Mike: I think we’re getting better at putting on the live show, I’m getting better at staying sober before the live show.

Shaun: We used to get as fucked up as possible back years ago.

Mike: And just send it; I like that enthusiasm but it’s hard to make all the ends meet when you’re completely blasted. So I think we’re getting better at what we do, we’re getting more consistent at what we do, but I think most valuable for us has been being able to meet all the people on the road and make those connections, whether it’s to move forward as a band or just to grow as individuals and connect with people in all these different cities. People are often so different, it widens your perspective of this nation, of the world, and what we’re even doing here as human beings. When you’re able to get out and have these nights with people in one city one night and another city the next, and realize that despite all the differences you’ve driven past that you’ve got this one thing you can all rally around and cast all worries aside for a bit.

That’s my favorite thing about metal: it can unite absolutely anyone.

Mike: And you see some unsettling things! I mean, the amount of swastikas we saw in rural Oregon was shocking, it reminds you of some of the evils we’re dealing with in the world. But when you actually get to the venue and settle in, I can’t recall one time where we haven’t had a blast working with the people who hosted us, the bands that played with us, or the people who let us crash: it’s overwhelmingly been a great time. I’m encouraged by how many people are passionate about this and are taking their time — often not being paid — to make things happen and I think that’s a really beautiful thing, and that’s become super apparent.

Just one more live question; with your packed schedule in 2018, what would you say has been the most unique or noteworthy show, and do you have any wacky stories from this past year?

Mike: Juarez has been absolutely wild both times we’ve been. We first played there in 2016 and returned on our Speedfreak tour last year. [There were] 32oz Carta Blanca bombers for $2 at the venue, people thrashing all over the place, tables and chairs strewn about, floors covered with shattered glass, bodies sprawled out on the stage, dodging La Policia at seemingly every turn, massive house after-parties that stretch well into the next day. It’s invigorating and chaotic and we love it. We’re lucky to have a great group of friends there who take incredible care of us.

UnhandedTourPoster

Now looking toward the future and what’s in store for 2019: your next show is at Hi-Dive on March 2nd, and that’s functioning as your album release show?

Mike: It is. It’s four days before we actually leave for tour, but that’ll be our album release show/tour kickoff. There’s a local label Sailor Records that’s been kind enough to put out our album, and the show will feature two more Sailor bands.

And Sailor is a local label, correct?

Mike: Yep, it’s a Denver label.

In the past you guys were independent; are you now signed to Sailor or are they just distributing the record?

Mike: We didn’t sign anything, it’s all done on a gentlemen’s agreement, just for this record. Though if things go well, we’d love to work with them in the future. The whole process has been really seamless because of Steve and what he’s built at Sailor. He came highly recommended with a lot of trust from people that we trust, so we all approached it from a place of good faith and said, “hey this is what we’ll bring you,” and he gave us what wanted in return. We’re kind of just operating on that good faith for this release and we’ll see what comes in the future.

Where is your tour taking you, what regions will you be covering?

Shaun: It’s Midwest and Southwest. It’s a lot of lengthy drives for certain reasons, like this year we’re playing the official SXSW, so that was one anchor of the tour. We were originally gonna go to the West Coast but some opportunities popped up in the Midwest that we decided to take. We’re doing Wichita, then Lawrence, Kansas at the Replay Lounge. That’s an awesome spot, seems to be the place everybody plays, at least in the metal scene. Then on to Rock Island, Illinois at Rock Island Brewing. Then we go on to Lexington, Kentucky; it’s a long way east, but we’re going back because we had such an awesome time playing there. We’re doing a place called the Green Lantern, and we’ll be playing with one of the bartender’s bands called Swamphawk. Next is St. Louis at the Sinkhole, and right now it’s still TBA in Little Rock. It can get a little sleepy there mid-week which is understandable, so we may end up moving to another city. Then from there to Austin for SXSW, and then we’ve got a short drive to San Antonio the next night. Then off to Mexico! This’ll be our fourth time there; we’re playing Juarez, which has been super welcoming, as Mike mentioned. I’ve actually got a really good friend there who plays in my other band. He’s from there and all of his buddies are from there, so people we’ve become quite acquainted with over the years sometimes come up here for all the festivals and shows. When we go down there they literally meet us at the border, drive us to their house, cook us up some food or take us to good local spots.

Mike: And always absolutely mental shows, people go crazy. And then we finish it off in Phoenix, right?

Shaun: Phoenix, yep, then a long drive home.

That’s a really solid tour. So that’ll probably bring you back, when, late April?

Mike: No, we’re doing it all right in quick succession, no days off. It’ll be March 6 through March 17, just banging it out. And we will have a lot more touring coming up, we just haven’t announced it yet. This is our release tour: we’re gonna hit some of our favorite cities and then we’ll have a big tour coming.

So you do intend to do a full North American tour?

Mike: Yeah, most likely in the summer after Electric Funeral, in July or August. But that’s still… we gotta work on it a bit [laughs].

Well I’m sure you do have a clearer idea of what festivals and bigger events you’ll be hitting later this Summer. Anything in particular that you’re excited to be playing?

Shaun: We’re playing a festival in Taos called Monolith on the Mesa. It’s in mid-May, first year of the festival. It’s kinda psychy — Om, Dead Meadow, True Widow, The Well. It’s a really big fest, for its first year it’s awesome; it’ll be held at a place called Taos Mesa Brewing, they’ve got an indoor stage and this outdoor stage that’s got a half-dome over it, like a mini-amphitheater. It’s on a mesa with mountains in the distance, and campgrounds.

Mike: It seems like it’s gonna be an insane party. I think the vibe they’re going for, there are a lot of heavier, harsher bands, but there’s definitely a lot of stuff that you could lay out at night and take acid to, and sit in the middle of Taos, that vibe.

When you plan your next big tour, realistically who would you most love to play with? Who do you think would put on a great tour with you guys?

Mike: Well, I mean we’re always looking to go with Toke, and we’re begging them but that’s them picking between a High on Fire tour versus a Munsens tour, so, you know. I also wanna go on tour with Communion really bad.

Shaun: Yeah, they’re a band from Austin, good buddies of ours. We’ve talked about that for a long time, I think it’d be a good fit. There’s just so many good bands — especially in Denver — that it’s tough to choose, but on our next tour we’ll probably wanna co-headline. Obviously you have to split all the income but you’re also combining draw and it’s a lot more fun, the camaraderie and all that.

Mike: Yeah, those two. Communion, get on tour with us.

Lastly, looking into the future, how do you see your sound and presence as a band evolving from here? Do you see yourselves expanding with each album?

Mike: I think so, at least the way I do it. Given where I’m at in my life, this is the beginning of what you can expect The Munsens to be. You can expect the output to become more prolific, the shows to get more violent, and the band in general to make a lot more noise. We’ve been pulled in a lot of directions over the last handful of years, and I’m at a place now where I’m gonna be focusing a lot more of my energy — and I think the same goes for Shaun and Graham — into this band. So with this album being a first step into something new sonically for The Munsens, I think with a more macro view this is the beginning of what you can expect from the band.

Awesome. Is there anything else you wanted to discuss, or let people know?

Mike: I would say, just as my personal parting message, that anyone who goes to shows, posts about bands, pays the cover, buys merch, don’t ever underestimate how much that support is appreciated, and really how valuable it is. You know, true fans, not just people who want to be on the guest list or want to be seen somewhere, but people who are true fans of the music are really what keep the cogs turning. Without them, we’re just a bunch of fucking idiots up there making noise. That really is so important, and I would just thank anyone that’s supported us at any turn, or just music in general.

Unhanded releases Friday via Sailor Records.

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