Local Musician Credits Eau Claire for Musical Success

Matt Hasenmueller didn’t start singing until he was 16. In fact, he didn’t even know he could sing.

Hasenueller looks through his playlist as he discusses the influential musicians in his life. © 2017 Shannon Gunderson

“Originally, I thought I couldn’t sing,” said Hassenmueller, “I just liked a girl in choir so I joined and that’s when I found out I could sing well. It just came super natural.”

Local artist Matt Hasenmueller, lead singer of the band The Millenium, has gained recognition all over the U.S. for his music, even though he started as a smaller artist in Eau Claire. Hasenmueller, from Eau Claire, often credited the music scene in the area when reasons why he was motivated to create music were discussed.   For years he explored the music scene in Eau Claire, and would watch other bands perform, or would join in with his friends that would perform and create music with them.

Hasenmueller started as a backup singer for a fake set list for one of his friends. It was through that experience that he began to network with other local musicians. After joining his first band, and having them break up, he started a band with friends of his who had also just broken up with their bandmates. The new band was called “The Millenium.”

The Millenium consists of members Casey Sproaet, Brandon Bruyett, Josh Becker, and Matt Hasenmueller. The band started writing songs together, and played local shows. After a few months of exposure and recognition, they went on their first tour together.

“I went from zero tours, to seven months of touring that first year,” said Hasenmueller. “I don’t know the exact number of tours. I just know that it’s less than 50 but more than 20.”

The Millenium has approximately 5,030 listeners, on the music app Spotify, each month.

Rebecca Lenzie, a student who attends the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, closed her eyes and bopped her head to the beat as she listened to “Interstates.” This song gets about 16,783 monthly listeners on Spotify alone.

“I really like the song,” said Lenzie.” They have a pop rock sound to them. It was upbeat and the song had meaning, I liked the tempo too. I would listen to them again.”

Over the summer Hasenmueller and his band went on tour for about three months. They traveled cross country, performing over 50 shows. They take one 16 passenger van, and just go.

“It’s a pretty low key operation,” Hasenmueller said.

To save money and time they prefer to use the big van instead of a bus or trailer.

Hasenmueller said that he doesn’t have any specific influences, but music has always been such a big part of his life. He expressed his appreciation for the pop rock genre, and said that the first records he ever bought were “The Killers” and “Blink-182.”

“Blink-182 made me want to tour,” Hasenmueller said. “They changed me.”

This is the third band Hasenmueller has been in, and according to him, the only “successful one” he’s been involved with as the lead singer. It will be his fourth year in the band in May.

“Not a lot of people get friendships where you grow close and become a family,” he said.

Hassenmueller couldn’t pick out a specific favorite moment from his experiences on tour, but he did say that many of his dreams have been achieved.

“The band and I have had a lot of first experiences together,” he said. “We have grown together since the age of 20.”

One of the biggest moments Hasenmueller remembers from his time on tour is when he played in New York City. The show had sold out, and they played for a crowd of over 400 people.

“New York is one of those places you dream about as a kid…the big times,” he said.

When Hasemuller is not on tour, he can be found at the retail store, Zumiez, working as an assistant manager. Although he has a career as a musician so far, he wants to make extra money off the road, and be productive with his time. He also hosts the open mic night at The  Plus, a bar located on Barstow street in downtown Eau Claire, every Tuesday night.

In his time away from the band Hasenmueller enjoys cooking. He also loves to read. He said that he can see himself going back to college after a few more years in the band. After college, he thinks he may want to become an English teacher, and do something completely different from music.

“I love to energize kids about literature,’” he said.

Hasenmueller will be performing with “The Millenium” at The Plus on New Year’s Eve this year. This will be their next local show where fans in the Eau Claire area can come watch them perform songs from their most recent album “But Do We Ever Ask Ourselves?”

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