Muscles on his new "alien-like" live show from Groovin' The Moo

Image for Muscles on his new "alien-like" live show from Groovin' The Moo

If you’re one of the many punters who descended on the Groovin The Moo festival on its regional rounds so far (the tour winds up in Bunbury this coming weekend), you probably spent a least a little time in the dance tent. While the line-up was led by international acts Adrian Lux and Digitalism, there was no shortage of local star power, including Beni, Hermitude and, towards the top of the set times, Modular’s wildcard Muscles.

It’s been almost five years since Muscles arrived on the scene with his Guns Babes Lemonade album that won plenty of international plaudits (the notorious tastemakers at Pitchfork even gave it a rare 8.3/10), and now he’s finally gearing up for LP number two. Manhood arrives on 15 June through Modular, and Muscles is taking it on the road in winter. Groovin’ The Moo was a test-run for his new live set-up (hey, you’ve got to have one), that looks every bit as madcap as you’d expect. So how does a local act without a Deadmau5-sized budget create a stage show that does the job? Well, if you’re Muscles, you approach it like an unhinged art school project.

“I worked together with [design studio] Edwards Moore in design and creation of the giant diamond structure, like being inside of my own Muscles universe,” inthemix’s favourite kook told us today. “The dome shape is called an icosahedron, and the angles line up with my brain, arms, legs, torso – a little like Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. It’s built out of wood, metal and eco-friendly elements and the plan is for it to be a constantly evolving live experiment.

“Inside this universe I wear what we call ‘The Brain’ that emits beams of MIDI light controlled live with Ableton on stage. Each colour corresponds to different notes. With mulitple programs for each song, it creates a totally unique live experience each show. It’s a curious object to look at, from what I’ve seen of fan video from different places amongst the crowd. Together with the stage lighting and ‘Brain’ there’s something a little alien-like, perhaps an artefact that’s been dug up from lost civilisation.”

Sounds Muscles-y enough for you? We also asked how the new album is going to match his icosahedron. “The new album Manhood is really sexy; I feel It’s going to surprise people,” he said. “Like my debut, Guns Babes Lemonade, it’s party from start to finish, but can be a challenging at times. Repeated listenings are required.

“It begins as an pop album and very schizophrenically morphs into a club album, a little dark and more sophisticated, an indication of where I want to sound in the future. Knowing I was going to be doing these live show experiments, they’re suited to my new live show in the grand festival environment, as well as small clubs, where I can taste the sweat of my fans on my tongue.”

Muscles tour dates:

Sat 16 June – Survivor! @ The Bottom’s End, Melbourne
Fri 22 June – Cobra Kai Club @ Oh Hello!, Brisbane
Sat 23 June – Cargo Bar, Sydney
Fri 29 June – Ed Castle, Adelaide
Sat 7 July – Woodport Inn, Erina
Fri 13 July – Hotel New York, Launceston
Fri 14 July – The Waratah Hotel, Hobart