In Interview with Joel Mull: The “Arrow of Time”

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
May 23, 2019

In Interview with Joel Mull: The “Arrow of Time”

On June 14th, Swedish techno emissary Joel Mull will be releasing his first album in eight years.

Arrow of Time is influenced by themes of traveling, time and the future, and will find a home on Sweden’s Parabel, the quality techno imprint co-founded by Mull and Linda Nillson. This is Mull’s fourth full-length, following 2011’s Sensory on Truesoul, and other albums and EP releases on labels such as Inside, Truesoul, Drumcode and Cocoon.

His upcoming gig schedule is intense and includes sets in Los Angeles tomorrow night for WORK by 6AM and INCOGNITO, on Monday at Anthology Detroit 2019 during Movement weekend, plus gigs at Lovers Festival, Berghain and more.

A long-time friend of 6AM, Joel took time from his busy schedule to talk to us about the album, his recent EP release on Drumcode and his long-term relationship with both Los Angeles and Detroit

Hello Joel! Thanks for taking the time to chat on what is sure a busy time of the year for you! How has 2019 been so far?

Hello there everyone.

And nice of you to get in touch. Yes, life is busy in general at the moment. 2019 has been ok for me so far. I feel lucky to be able to live the privileged life that I have. Being able to tour and play the music I like to people who are celebrating together is a joy.

Not only have you been touring quite a bit but you’ve been killing it on the release front also. Let’s talk about the gigs first… any highlight ones recently worth mentioning in particular?

One of the funniest gig I have played at this year was in my home town of Stockholm.

It was Axel Boman’s 40 birthday party. Me and Nima Khak played back to back. And the party was a Masquerade party with a detailed described dress code.

The theme was the gathering of the inhabitants of six different Galaxies, and man did people make an effort to find the right flavour. I love costume parties and I usually have one every year on my birthday but this year I had to have a walkover. It was just not possible to have another costume party after his also due to the fact that our birthdays are very close.

So speaking of the subject, my birthday party was another highlight. I did it at a little club called Under Bron here in Stockholm and the turnout was fantastic. Such a lovely feeling to be able to play at home and with all your friends around you.

Both sound amazing and so fun! Speaking of gigs, you’re back in the States this weekend with shows in LA and Detroit! Excited to be back?!

You bet. It feels like coming home to the family again. Especially LA. I’ve had so many great gatherings together with all of you. And it’s a special feeling to be able to come back regularly and play. The crew, the crowd, the laidback vibe is amazing.

Detroit is also going to be special. DEMF is the true Techno Gathering of the U.S. and happening on ground zero. It’s so nice to feel the energy that goes down this weekend. Not just for the ravers and the parties but also the people living in Detroit running their businesses. Everyone is proud of Techno Music. People’s smiles are extra large. I’m looking forward to meeting old friends and artists that are also in town, so that will make it extra fun. And I’m looking forward to playing the Monday Anthology Gig at The Leland Club.

Your relationship with both cities goes a long way back. Do you remember the first time you played in LA and how was it?

My first ever visit to LA was back in 1998 I think. Me, Adam Beyer and Cari Lekebusch was doing a little West Coast tour, and the party in LA back then was a huge warehouse location. At the time I think most of the parties were big raves and the clubs had not really started to play Techno. I had an amazing experience that still today stick in my memory. The crowd was extra excited and it was almost like a rock concert… people were screaming and shouting upfront in the booth.

I also remember our trip to Magic Mountain and the crazy day with all the rollercoasters. It was a great tour we had together. So much fun!

How about Detroit?

I got invited to play back in the ’90s as well, and always had great gigs. There is a special old soul in Detroit. I can’t put my finger on it but people are just so nice.

My experiences I’ve had there have always been amazing. Michelle Herman aka Ms Punisher once had an after hours to the DEMF in an abandoned building downtown. And upstairs in this building was this amazing party going on it was just a surreal setting. I will never forget this.

I once found a Millennium Falcon Ship in a shop in Detroit. It was in its original box and in mint condition. But due to my travel schedule I was not able to bring it with me, and I regret it to this day that I didn’t buy it and just UPS it back home. Oh well!

Will you be spending some days in either city around the gigs? If so, looking forward to doing anything in particular?

Yes, I’m lucky to be able to have some extra time. In Detroit it’s going to be all about trying to meet everyone I know that will be in the city. I will be there from Saturday to Tuesday, so if anyone would like to hook up let me know. I will also have some extra time in LA I am looking forward to doing some hiking and to visit a couple of nature parks. And off course try some culinary experiences, there are so many good spots in LA.

Let’s talk about releases. Firstly let me say congrats on the upcoming album, I had the pleasure of listening to it and it’s filled with so many great tracks! Can you share with us the story behind the album, what it means to you and whether there’s any message, emotion or feeling you’re hoping to communicate with it?

Thank you. I’m happy you like it. The album’s title is Arrow of Time.

I think most of us are familiar with flying. In a planet the feeling I get a lot of times is as if you are in a time capsule. Time stands still up in the air. You look down on the clouds and it almost feels like you’re not moving. But you are actually travelling too fast for your soul to even comprehend. When I’ve been flying a lot I usually get a feeling that my soul doesn’t arrive at the same time as my body.

So… I have been thinking that our bodies are not designed for this kind of fast-paced travelling. When I do long haul flights like Stockholm to LA I’d like to get in a day earlier, so my soul can catch up and so that I feel complete when it’s time to perform.

The album’s home is Parabel, the label you have co-founded alongside Linda, your partner. I feel like it’s such a fitting label for the tracks, given the dramatic, melancholic and deep textures that are present throughout it. Do you feel it communicates what Parabel is all about as a label?

Both Linda and I have a weak spot in our heart for that melancholic and deeper side of techno, and when I write music I always find it difficult to not add that extra melodic texture to a track. I try to scale it back, but it always slips in somehow.

And yes its a co-work between us running Parabel but I have to say that Linda is the strong driving force behind the label and without her, the label would probably not exist.

I’m the dweller and the romantic and sometimes I guess I think too much but she is the one that sees possibility in the horizon and the maker and the forward force. It’s a super combination when you think about it. I’m very happy with how Parabel has been developing throughout a short period of time. I’m proud of all the releases and all the artists involved. So much fun.

The Album name is also a hint to the meaning of Parabel, and the opening track “Irreversible” is dedicated to my dog Knut who sadly has just left us behind. He has been a steady anchor in our lives and has taught us so much. I’m always humbled by meeting animals… they are so much better than humans in so many ways.

I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Knut, he looked like a sweetheart. Thank you for sharing some of the insight on Parabel and the album. Also, congrats on the collab release with Heiko Laux that came out on Drumcode, the feedback I have seen on it has been huge. Not that you ever left, but how does it feel to be back on the label?

Thank you.

It’s a cool release, and I was very happy when Adam said that he felt the tracks. It’s a little bit of different sound-wise when it comes to Drumcode but it fits in the spectrum of things. Heiko and I had a lot of fun making these tracks. It’s actually our second release on the label but the previous release was on Drumcode Ltd, a vinyl-only release so it has yet to be released digitally.

Last time you were in Los Angeles we talked about the concept of “magnets” and I have seen you mention the word on social media before. It’s such an important concept that I was wondering whether you would like to share it with our readers?

I think when you put your energy into something you really love doing you will meet like-minded people that share the same feeling or passion as yourself. Slowly, little by little we move towards each-other through an invisible force.

Sometimes it’s a quick reaction and its a little chain reaction of things, but usually, it takes a longer time span. But in the end, there will be a connecting crossroad. When I look back and then talk about my musical career as a whole I can see that this is true.

The dance floor is one of these highly sensitive platforms where we all connect as one. We are all there for a reason, to share moments that will connect us forever. My closest and oldest friends are all people that I’ve share musical moments with and we all share an everlasting bond.

I feel that and couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s look at the future now. What’s in store for Joel Mull for the second half of the year?

The DJ Calendar looks busy up until this fall already, and I have many great festivals and parties to look forward to.

The weekend right after my return from the little America Tour I will play at a small intimate Festival called Freiland, north of Berlin on Saturday and then Berghain on Sunday the 9th of June. This will be a long, intense weekend.

Adam [Beyer] has invited me to play some shows this year, at OFFSonar in Barcelona and again at the Drumcode Festival in Amsterdam, but also at The Resistance Drumcode takeover in Ibiza.

I also really look forward to my highlight of the summer: The Nation Of Gondwana. They are celebrating 25 years and I think it will be extra magical this year.

I also have another album in the pipeline but it’s yet to be decided when it will come out. I’m very excited because it’s a different musical side of me and I can’t wait to share this with you.

I can’t wait to hear it, as I am sure neither can all your fans. See you this weekend!

Looking forward to dancing and sharing moments together with you!

Arrows of Time Tracklist: 

01. Irreversible
02. Up That Hill
03. Gleaming
04. Northern Spheres
05. Caver
06. Mnemonics
07. Colorblind
08. Working Body
09. Ahead Of The Past
10. Hertzsprung
11. Alden Plateau

Parabel will release Arrow of Time on June 14th, 2019

Catch Joel Mull in Los Angeles on Friday, May 24th. Tickets HERE

Catch Joel Mull in Detroit on Monday, May 27th. Tickets HERE