Holly Mullinax of SONEN

You know when you're turning in a thesis, or just got done building a house, or putting the final touches on your car? Well, if you don't please just refer to the deeper sentiment of completeing something impressive. Said sentiment is one that brims from Inside the Sun, electronic powerhouse SONEN's LP and labor of love. BANG! asked Holly Mullinax (vocals/synth/percussion) some questions about the newest accomplishment.


BANG! Each song on Inside the Sun is a journey in and of itself; what was the process of putting those works together as a whole?

Holly Mullinax Each song tells a different story and has a different feel to it so when choosing the track order for the LP we tried to make the album a journey through different emotions, tempos, & moods.  We wanted to start off strong-smack you with Aiko and make you pay attention; then meander through love, loss, fear, excitement and lust-building up to a dramatic ending with Release.

BANG! How does SONEN fit into the Laser Beam Kitty extravagance?

Holly Mullinax Laserbeam Kitty  is a party that we (as a band) created to foster a sense of community for ATL’s live electronic scene. This city has so many amazing electronic artists that actually perform the music they make in the studio; you rarely get to see several of these artists on one bill. We strove to create the perfect gig, something that showcased art and electronic music. Obviously it’s a genre we are a part of and love so it was a natural direction for the party. We threw the party as a monthly for about 2 years at the Highland Ballroom and then took a break to tour and write/record the LP.  When it came time to plan the album release party for Inside the Sun it seemed natural to bring LBK back and we were thrilled when plans to move it to Terminal West came together.

BANG! Inside the Sun was birthed in two different studios: one in Atlanta and the other in the mountains of North Carolina. This contrast allotted a bridge for two different sources of creativity. Was the distinction of the two locations a purposeful step in the process of making Inside the Sun?

Holly Mullinax I suppose it was. We had spent time in the mountains (escaping the city) and found ourselves feeling inspired and eventually made the decision to start bringing equipment along. It was an obvious choice but an album changing one.  It brought a different perspective to the album…a softer, more introspective approach; a nice balance to the stuff that comes out in the city. 

ATL conjures great things like dirty bass lines but the country inspires subtlety, beauty and perspective.

Ultimately it helped balance the band and the music out. 

BANG! What kind of preparation goes into making a record that is atmospheric in one hand, while solidly akin to post-punk execution? Not to say that those two are mutually exclusive.

Holly Mullinax I think one of the most important forms of preparation would be the soundscaping. Keith is an incredible sound designer and has spent countless hours over the years developing an eclectic pallet of sounds that range from ethereal pads to thundering bass sounds and everything in between. That library of sounds and his overall production style ultimately contribute to the basis of our “sound”. Beyond that, it’s a matter of understanding what we like as individuals and how to integrate that into chemistry we experience as a band.

BANG! I understand that SONEN aims to of course get people dancing, but to also get them to feel? Could you elaborate on bridging the gap between those two ideals?

Holly Mullinax To me, dancing and feeling are two concepts that go hand in hand.  Dance music has in some ways developed a reputation for being soul-less, just turn on top 40 radio and every other song has the same techno buildup and breakdown. "Deadmaus-ized”  I guess.  But the music we both grew up with (ie. Underworld, Orbital, The Prodigy, Soulwax) made you excited, it made you want to move without compromising the depth and emotion that a great electronic dance track invokes.  So the music we love is essentially the music we strive to make.

BANG! What has SONEN learned from making Inside the Sun?

Holly Mullinax For starters, a great deal of patience.  The making of this album saw tears of frustration, tears of joy, a few knock down drag out fights ... it was very intense at times. But in hind sight I’d say we both grew as artists, learned more about ourselves, more about each other.  I think a lot of that intensity came through in the album.

BANG! What is the ideal place for this full-length to fit into someone’s life?

Holly Mullinax Hopefully it will inspire people to feel something we felt when making it, or better yet to make their own music.  You want people to connect with what you create, of course we want it to be played on packed dance floors but even better is for people to connect in a quiet moment of reflection. I guess both are forms of connection so whichever way it happens is amazing.

BANG! When time and space blissfully meet in perfect harmony, where does SONEN want to be? When will you guys be satiated?

Holly Mullinax I hope we are never satiated because that would imply a completed cycle of sorts. I hope we are both always hungry for life and hungry to express it through SONEN or some form of music. I don’t think either of us want to be “famous", we just want to be able to do something we love, something that feels good and something that  leaves behind a stamp on the world.

Interested? Of course you are! Come on out to SONEN'S CD release at the LASERBEAM KITTY party May 31st, at Terminal West at King Plow. Get the skinny on the event. For the main feed on all the SONEN goodness check out their website, and if you are too impatient to navigate the internets check out their site in all it's glory here.

-Miles Jenson