“If Agents Mulder and Scully from The X-Files started a synth-pop band, what would it sound like?”
That was the question Aaron Trory was initially trying to answer when he first conceived of the musical project that came to be called Mully & Sculder. When Trory recruited fellow West Coast singer-songwriter Sarah Wheeler, the two began digging for the answer.
Mully & Sculder draw a lot of their inspiration from their hometown of Vancouver, where The X-Files was filmed for seven of its 11 seasons, and where forward-looking mavericks like William Gibson crafted the cyberpunk aesthetic. Downtown Vancouver’s gleaming skyscrapers are surrounded by unspoiled forests and majestic mountain peaks. That juxtaposition is a good metaphor for Mully & Sculder’s sound, which blends the synthetic sounds of keyboards and programmed beats with a very human heart and soul.
Both prolific solo artists, Wheeler and Trory have released only two songs together as Mully & Sculder to date. The first of these, “Like Animals”, is a throbbing slice of dark neo-new wave, buoyed by the duo’s heaven-sent vocal harmonies. The band show a suitably moody video for the song in the British Columbia Sugar Refinery—a century-old industrial building that keen-eyed X-Files obsessives will recognize as a filming location for the Season 11 episode “My Struggle IV”.
Mully & Sculder followed that up with “Billboards”, an infectious synth-pop concoction brewed up with ACTORS mastermind Jason Corbett at his Jacknife Sound studio, coincidentally located mere blocks away from the Sugar Refinery. Mike Usinger, the Music Editor of Vancouver news-and-entertainment weekly the Georgia Straight, wrote a rave review of the track, which he nominated as “Vancouver’s new official anthem”.
“The good news is that Mully & Sculder’s Aaron Trory and Sarah Wheeler don’t exactly mope around on this smartly retro single,” Usinger wrote, “which will leave you hoping that an EP or, better yet, a full-length, is coming in the near future.”
There is no album on the immediate horizon, but that doesn’t mean the world won’t be hearing more from Mully & Sculder in the very near future. The duo’s plan is to release individual tracks as they are created. As Wheeler explains, she and Trory are simply too stoked about what they’re doing to wait: “It’s just been going along and we’ve been excited about it, so we’re like, ‘Should we wait until we have a full album before we put this stuff out?’ But we’re excited about it, so we’re just going to put it out now.”
Let’s face it: Mulder and Scully will never actually start a synth-pop band. But Mully & Sculder did, and if the truth is out there, musically speaking, they’re going to find it.
Mully & Sculder’s tracks