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INTERVIEW: JIM “ARRO” MÜLLER from LEAGUE OF DISTORTION – November 2022

| 1 December 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “German modern metal upstarts LEAGUE OF DISTORTION have introduced an incredibly refreshing sound to the scene with the successful releases of fiery first singles “Wolf or Lamb” and “My Revenge”, proving the musical finesse and experience of lead members Anna “Ace” Brunner (Exit Eden) and Jim “Arro” Müller (Kissin’ Dynamite). While the electrified third single “It Hurts So Good” recently added to their dangerous mood, the quartet goes all out by showing their most resilient side on final single “I’m A Bitch”, landing just before the release of their self-titled debut album Friday, November 25 via Napalm Records.” We get guitarist Jim on a Teams meeting to discuss new music, touring, and much more…

Toddstar: Jim, I appreciate you taking time out for us.  How are you?

Jim: How are you Todd? I’m very fine.

Toddstar: Email this morning was on point. I have this interview scheduled today and this morning I got the press release about the new single and video “I’m A Bitch.” Let’s start with the single. You have put out some cool videos, pretty straightforward. They follow the track of the song. You haven’t gotten crazy with side stories that have nothing to do with the music, which is kind of nice. From song to video to concept, how do you make sure you’re tying that all together to keep everything streamlined?

Jim: Yeah, I think it’s all about communication. When it all started, Anna wanted to do a song about a special theme and ask us about our opinion at first to talk one language. It was so fascinating that every time she came along with a powerful message, we were like, “Oh yeah, we’re all the same. We think the same.” And she could just go straight ahead, so we had a clear message. And by communicating for sure with the video team with Merkel, who is really a good friend of mine, we worked together a lot for different kinds of music videos and stuff. And I just know if I put my project into his hands, it’s going to be epic, so I actually I can relax from there on because I know a miracle is here. It’s going to be awesome.

Toddstar: What can you tell us about the self-titled debut album that listeners might not grab the first or second time they listen through?

Jim: That it’s actually not as distorted as maybe one thinks. So we don’t have growls on there. I’m still working on it, so maybe, for the live show I probably will do some stuff, and maybe we’ll get there for the next record. We’ll see where it all gets along. It’s a new journey for me as well as I’m coming from a 1980’s White Snake-ish background at first. When Anna asked me to do this kind of music, it was like, oh yeah, I definitely want to do that. But I got no idea how, how to play guitar like that, the deep riff stuff. I love challenges, so I was just going straight into it, learning how these structures work and how this music kind of works. That was a cool journey, but I didn’t tell anything about the album now.

Toddstar: When it comes to the album, you collectively did the writing, did the recording, the mastering, everything else. And now this is getting released. Now that you have had some time away from the creative part of it, if you had to go back and revisit the process, is there anything you’d like to redo or are you really content and happy with the final result?

Jim: Absolutely, a hundred percent. I wouldn’t change a thing, it was really, there were no, sometimes you like this kind of version more than another one and it goes into a different direction, and you may have written the song a little bit different, but this time for this record for me it wasn’t the case at all. I was blown away each time, what especially Anna created. It was really, really cool to see that happening, all going there. But the album, it all happened during COVID, so Anna was forced to sit down and work on her own project and then she asked me later on, and it was often the time we didn’t wrote a song or get creative at all because it was so crazy to meet a person again. So we were drinking beer and having conversations all night long and didn’t do any piece of music. So yeah, I don’t know what would have happened if we would have worked more on music, but we enjoyed ourselves, so that’s why I wouldn’t change a thing.

Toddstar: Do you think that added to the cohesive feel of not only the album but the band, because this is no longer a project for you, this is an actual band? So do you think having that time to kind of bond has made this better or more cohesive for you moving forward?

Jim: Yeah, probably. I think so. Yeah, it definitely had a huge impact on us. And also the whole message behind this band, what we want to say is keep pushing forward and help through hard times. But when you don’t have a hard time, you don’t have to care about anything, which is also cool, but it’s not how the world works. It’s always struggles somewhere.

Toddstar: It’s a perfect segue to the album and some song titles. I think it’s the last track on there, “Do You Really Think I Fucking Care.” But looking over the set list and have you put the idea of touring behind this in your mind? Is there a plan to cultivate a set list and really kind of bring this to the masses?

Jim: Yes, absolutely. We just have six shows coming up with Caliban and Ghost Kit and Resolve from France. And we can’t wait to play the, for sure, we won’t play the whole album as we’re first opener on at night. So we don’t have the chance to play the whole set, but that’s better than nothing, I’d say. So better a half an hour rock than not playing at all for sure. But we can’t wait for sure to have some headliner shows going on in the future, but there’s nothing planned yet, so it’s all hanging in there. Let’s see what happens and how everything goes on. Some festival shows are coming in, so don’t know how much playtime we have there. So I mean, we just got one album, so if they say like 45 minutes set, we’re like, “Okay, we can play the whole set.”

Toddstar: That said, you know, you talk about how you guys will be the opener, direct support and you’ll have the shorter set time. What are the few songs you think you guys have to play off this album to best represent you guys?

Jim: Oh, that’s a tough one, because I can’t decide myself. I think “Wolf or Lamb ” is quite a good thing, but it’s about the fairytale. I mean League of Distortion is no fairytale, it’s also about brutal reality and stuff. But my favorite is “My Revenge.” But this one’s definitely the hardest one, I think. So I wouldn’t say it represents the band the best. Fair enough. But anything in between I think.

Toddstar: I’m with you, “My Revenge” is my favorite track from the disc. But “I’m a Bitch” hits so hard and so fast that it’s over before you even realize it. And I found myself going back to it time and time again. How hard was it for you to actually put the track list together? Because this album does kind of ebb and flow, like you said, you know, you’ve got “Wolf or Lamb,” which is the kind of fairytale base, then you jump right into “My Revenge,” which is hard and crunchy and then you jump into “Hurt So Good.” How did you finesse the track list to build a play on those emotions?

Jim: Yeah, well that’s a tough one. It was a really hard thing. It’s always hard when it’s not telling the whole story in one album for sure, then it’s an easy one, it’s chapter one, chapter two, right. So I think it’s most of listening over and feel how they end and how they begin. But Anna did all that. I hate decisions kind of that things like, you know you can never win. It’s such a bizarre thing to do kind of. I don’t know, but I’m totally in love with how it came out.

Toddstar: I love the album. I think it’s such a cool, distinct sound marrying kind of like you said that 1980’s, I don’t want to call it glam metal, but it’s not the super heavy stuff. It’s the sonically accessible riffs with the heavier new metal sound and I really like that. what is it about this project or this band, again, we won’t call it a project. What’s it about this band that makes it feel right at this point in your career?

Jim: While Kissing Dynamite is working really well in a busy month and then there’s months off where I don’t have anything to do, and I like being on tour. I like playing music and hanging around and at festivals, concerts, everything. So when Anna first asked me, I was like, “I don’t know if I can have a second band.” But looking at the timetable, I was like, I would have time for that. So I was thinking like, “Oh yeah, I want to be more on tour.” And as I always loved heavy, heavier riffs as well, what started with Children of Bodom stuff was still there. And I love to listen to real badass stuff like Thy Art Is Murder and stuff like that when I’m in the gym. And I was always fascinating from that guitar not that I come think it’s the same, but you get the idea of it’s not that brutal, thank God. I love to listen to that in the gym as well. So I’m fascinated by that music. And so it all came perfectly together. Anna, I love her, we are so close friends since years and also with Tino on the drums, I used to play a lot here in South Germany and in Heidelberg at a rock club event where we’re doing three hours of metal covers, like Korn, Limp Biscuit, stuff like that. And it was always great nights hanging out with friends and we never meet in rehearsals and stuff. So we meet on the day and at soundcheck we go through some songs, and we have different singers and just have a good time and now I’m having them in my bands awesome, hanging around with surround yourself with friends. That’s a good one. The only guy I didn’t know was Felix, our bass player, but he’s a close friend to Anna and so he’s automatically a good friend of mine because she only surrounds herself with good people.

Toddstar: I saw it in the press releases, and you made references to them Jim, whose idea and what’s the thought process behind the nicknames? You’ve got Ace, Arro, Aeon, and Ax — what’s the thought process behind those? Is it to separate yourself from other projects and make yourself more of a gang or a team or a League?

Jim: Absolutely. It’s our league name and everybody who’s joining us can give his name a unique name, whatever you want to be called. For me Arro is because I love flying in any kind of way. I’m into drones, I’m into planes. I wanted to be a pilot all the time, but then I also wanted to be a rockstar. So I was in between like doing piloting and doing the rockstar thing. But I chose to be a musician, because then I can be a pilot afterwards. But becoming a pilot and then trying to be a rockstar, it’s more difficult I think. So I have chosen the other way around. Fingers crossed.

Toddstar: You and Bruce Dickinson.

Jim: Yeah, sure thing.

Toddstar: Well Jim, I know you’re busy and I appreciate the time. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to be able to wrap their hands and their ears around this album when it drops Friday, because this thing is a monster. I have a feeling you’re going to be on a lot of “Best of” lists by the end of the year. So hopefully we’ll get you guys on a big tour somewhere here in the States next year.

Jim: Thanks so much. I’m always open for that. enough, and I’m excited to see this thing drop Friday. Nice. Thank you very much. (Jim notices the guitars hanging on the wall behind me on the video chat) Nice guitars in the back by the way.

Toddstar: I don’t play those. I’m actually an accountant, that’s my day job. I make friends in the business, buy a guitar, I ask them to sign it and I hang it up. I couldn’t even tell you if they’re tuned.

Jim: My dad has a museum of Kissing Dynamite. Every time there’s something broken or anything, he grabs it and hangs it onto his wall and it’s all full of guitars and stuff and he can play a tune as well.

Toddstar: I saw the necks of the ones behind you.

Jim: Oh yeah. They’re functional in their stance to just grab them right away.

Toddstar: Absolutely. Well, listen, Jim, I appreciate the time. I wish you well with this, safe through the holiday season and hopefully 2023 will bring you guys over stateside.

Jim: Oh yeah, it would be a pleasure. Have a good one. Thank you.

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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