The longer Michael Kiley is involved in the Phildelphia music scene, the more he becomes involved in the Philly arts scene. After playing in the more straight-ahead indie rock band Cordaline in the earlier part of the aughts, he founded The Mural and The Mint in 2007 as a way to make poppy music outside of industry convention. All of the band’s albums are available as free downloads (and CDs-for-donation when it performs), and with each release, it stretches both its sonic palette as well as its ambition for how the songs can exist outside of recordings. 2010’s As The Eyes of the Seahorse was performed with a companion dance / performance production (pictured), and The Mural and the Mint’s current project – The Rittenhouse Square Sound Walk – will debut in the spring. Using GPS-powered mobile phone apps, users will be able to hear different sounds as they wander through different corners of the center city park, which will ultimately layer and bloom into a full song. The Kickstarter for the Sound Walk just met its initial goal of $2,200, with five days still remaining in the fundraising campaign – and the extra time is good, since Rittenhouse is just phase one of the project. Kiley and I caught up over the phone yesterday to talk about creating soundtracks to people’s strolls, and how it could potentially connect different regions of the city.
The Key: It’s great how The Mural and The Mint keeps venturing beyond pop songs into performing arts and other experimental ventures. Why do you think this is?
Michael Kiley: Well, the whole project came as a reaction against the normal “get a band together, play the club scene” arc that a lot of people are surprisingly still trying to take. I’m trying to write music, have more stability, and I’m constantly trying to think outside the realm of what a pop band might do. I work pretty extensively as a sound designer for theater and dance in Philly, and that work as a designer has informed this project a lot. So I thought about ways to design people’s walks – what would I play for people as they walk through a certain place. How could I make that exciting and new? Continue reading