Ready to rock? How ‘bout some Mulch Rock?

Ready to rock? How ‘bout some Mulch Rock?

February 4, 2024 in Features

by dj maia hee

Years ago, Mennie Du’Kempt and Kero Rew were two friends making plans to attend the Austin City Limits Music Festival. A love for music and mischief brought them together, and that same love was soon channeled into their own, somewhat unsuspected music-making endeavors.

Du’Kempt and Rew’s musical journey together began with the occasional cross-country jam session while Rew was studying music in Seattle and playing in other bands. However, it soon became clear that the sporadic get-together was not enough to keep their creative side satisfied. From there, a new project was born. Enter Mulch Cult, the “outlaw swing surf and jig” band you never knew you needed to experience.

“It became the fruit that it is today, the mulch if you will, only about two years ago in 2021,” Rew explained.

The band hit the ground running with a passion for “weirdo music” and the power of mulch. In June of that same year, they released their first album, Collective Sessions vol. 1, which takes listeners on a one-of-a-kind musical journey through the use of various, ethereal instrumentals and a seamless blend of genres.

This introduction to their sound would come to define their boundary-less style and a skill for exploration through music.

Two years later in 2023, their second album, Gulch!, was released in April. This time around, an entirely new tone was added to their discography. Bringing punchy vocals, alt-rock-style instrumentals, and an energy that demands its own presence, Gulch! serves as the jumping-off point for a collective identity and a representation of the band members’ lifelong personal growth. With its release and a more established existence on streaming platforms, a loyal fanbase fervently came along for the ride.

“There’s a cult following of Gulch! somewhere in Oregon," Du’Kempt said while laughing. Somewhere they just love it and we know it."

Regardless of who’s tuning in, Mulch Cult is a deeply personal project, acting as a canvas for the art of lived experiences. With a dedication to friendship and tomfoolery, Mulch Cult knows exactly who they are and what the music they make means to them.

“Especially with the lyrics, it's mostly about personal experiences,” Du’Kempt said. “We’ve done some super rad stuff together that is really hard to explain.”

“Yeah, the stories don’t do it justice, so the music helps accompany (them),” Rew added to the sentiment.

dukempt playing

Photo by Spencer O'Neal

Above all else, Mulch Cult is fueled by their commitment to the bit. Refusing to let seriousness get in the way of what they love, the two band founders want to keep their creative process fun and gratifying.

“We make all of the instruments come together and then we’ll sit back and think ‘okay, how do we make this a joke,’” Du’Kempt said. “It’s all about not taking things too seriously.”

All while maintaining an exuberant mindset that shines through in everything they do, the band is continuing to expand their horizons even further, As of late, their time has been spent playing with their collaborators Igor Suzoynkavich and Dunk Juncus at various events around town such as KVRX’s very own New Year, New Me Fest and at local venues such as The Coral Snake.

mulch cult playing

Photo by Spencer O'Neal

In the months to come, Mulch Cult will also be going on a Texas tour while performing, recording and releasing their new EP, Bulch, which brings in a fresh tonal perspective that starkly contrasts their first official album releases. As the band continues to settle into their voice, each project carries a new stage of life and the culmination of strengthening bonds.

“(Bulch) is going to be very different from Gulch!,” Du’Kempt said. “Gulch! was the beginning, like an angsty teen. A lot of those songs have been worked on since we were very young. A lot of our new music is in a completely different direction.”

(For more details on their whereabouts, see the bottom of this page for tour dates!)

Although they have only recently come out of the woodwork as a group, Du’Kempt, Rew and all of their collaborators are ready for anything that may come their way.

mulch cult

Photo by Spencer O'Neal

If you want to “stay mulched,” as the band puts it, you can catch them on the road next month playing around the state and through the release of their new EP. You can even sample their very own cocktail of the month, the “Texas Twister,” in collaboration with local Austin coffee shop Double Trouble throughout the month of February.

“A live performance of the band captures who we are more than the recordings,” Rew said warmly. “It’s always nice seeing new faces at our performances. We really enjoy seeing their smiles.”

In the meantime, this multifaceted and multi-talented collective really wants to do your yard work too, so hit them up. After all, Mulch Cult is the band on a mission to “spread the mulch to the masses.”

Follow Mulch Cult on Instagram here.

Listen to their work and follow what’s to come on their Spotify or bandcamp.

Tour Dates!

Feb. 22 - Chess Club, Austin

Feb. 23 - Pink Zeppelins, San Antonio

Feb. 24 - Cool Heads Prevail, Houston

Feb. 25 - Alchemy Records, San Marcos

All photos thanks to KVRX's Spencer O'Neal.

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