Listening Party

An interview with Weston Mueller from Milwaukee's Listening Party
by Mike Huberty
July 2016

Listening Party from Milwaukee, WI

Listening Party from Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee’s LISTENING PARTY is downhome Americana folk, soothing and smooth vocal harmonies over acoustic guitars with a little electric piano and clean electric guitar layering extra melodies over the top. If you’re into TRAMPLED BY TURTLES or THE LUMINEERS, you’ll find lots to enjoy listening to their songs. Musicians Weston Mueller, Joshua Hester, and Jacob Wood just released LISTENING PARTY’s self-titled debut on May 6th and I talked to Weston to get some background on the band and their upcoming show at Atwoodfest on Saturday July 30th at 2:15pm on the Harmony Bar Stage (in the parking lot of Monty’s Blue Plate Diner.)

MI: What made you want to write and perform music?

WM: Growing up, my amazingly talented mother was involved in the local theater scene as a singer/actor and always encouraged us to be involved with music so the singing came at an early age. But it wasn’t until a friend of mine was playing NIRVANA songs on an acoustic guitar at a middle school party that I begged my parents to get me my first instrument. Because what’s cooler than ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit?!’

MI: Who were the first artists you got into?

WM: All over the board here. Ranging from Rock n’ Roll, singer/songwriters to Hip Hop and everything in between. Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Notorious BIG, Ray Lamontagne, Andrew McMahon, Amos Lee, Norah Jones, Les Claypool.

MI: That’s a diverse group, who were the artists that you guys gelled on as a group?

WM: We have such unique individual tastes in music, but one contemporary group that has inspired us collectively is THE HEAD AND THE HEART. Great melodies/lyrics, unique dynamic shifts and raw instrumentation. Definitely a talented group of people that we aspire to.

MI: What do you think is the best introduction to the band for new people?

WM: The single from our last recording is titled “The Rock”. It’s currently in rotation on 88.9 Radio Milwaukee. However, the first song off that album is called “Back Roads” and is my favorite song to play live! “The Rock” was written about someone very close to me who was having a tough time with her relationship. I felt angry for her after one of our conversations (and a bottle of wine) and wanted to vent my frustrations. It still stirs up emotions every time we play it live, which is good for performance!

MI: What’s behind the band name?

WM: The name Listening Party is pretty straight forward. My parents would tell me about how people in there generation used to gather around a record player and listen to an album in it’s entirety. That was the focus of the party! Much more uncommon in today’s world. We hope that our music can have that same effect on our listener’s whether they are at home or watching us live.

MI: You just released your new record last month, how was the party?

WM: Yes, our album release show at the OuterEdge Stage in Appleton, WI. We had some phenomenal supporting acts in THE BELLE WEATHER and RICKY GANIERE, who are also great people to get to know. The OuterEdge provides a truly inspiring environment to perform in as it is historical church converted into an event venue. Couldn’t have asked for a better evening to release our music to the world!

MI: You guys are playing constantly this summer, for people who want to come see you live, what are they going to see?

WM: We are all friends outside of the band which translates to our live performance chemistry. Bantering on the microphones and laughing at inside jokes in the middle of a song are not uncommon for us. My favorite part is when lead instrumentalists Joshua Hester and Jacob Wood get down to business. Those guys are fun to watch. Truly talented musicians.

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