Monday, May 28, 2012

Interview With Mansions, Round Two

We previously interviewed Christopher Browder of Mansions back in April of last year, and what a year it's been for him. Anyone who listened to his latest album Dig Up The Dead absolutely fell in love with it, just as I did, putting it at #5 on the list of my favorite albums of 2011. Mansions is now prepping to record a new album, and we talked to Chris about how the new album may sound, as well as touring with William Beckett, the reasons for making the acoustic version of Dig Up The Dead publicly available, news that the long rumored split with John Nolan may actually begin to surface in the next few weeks, and much much more which you can read below.

It’s been a little over a year since we last talked and Dig Up The Dead was released. Can you give us a quick update about what’s gone on in the past year?

Since Dig Up The Dead came out, we did a bunch of touring, mostly east coast stuff, and we put out a split with a band called Fences last summer, and so far this year we’ve done a bit more touring with South By Southwest. I went to Canada for a day, and we’re working on writing the next record. We’re like ten songs into it now. I’m hoping to have it written by the end of June, the beginning of July, and hopefully record at the end of the summer, and we’ll see where that goes.

You’re currently in the middle of a couple show run with William Beckett. How have these shows been?

It’s been great. I did a couple headlining shows on the way out, which was cool, because I never really do headlining shows, so it was interesting to see if anyone would come. But they went really well, so they were fun. Last night was the first night with William Beckett, and it was great. I didn’t know if the crowd would like me, especially because I don’t think they’ve even heard the band before, but they were all super respectful and really receptive and nice. So it’s really cool. It’s a little different than I’m used to, but in a totally cool way.

Earlier this year, you officially released the Dig Up The Dead Acoustic Version. I think it was originally some sort of bonus that came with the preorder for Dig Up The Dead, so what were you thoughts on the decision to make it sort of a publicly released album?

It was kind of a weird thing because the only way to get it was with the preorders. So if you missed that, there was no way to legitimately get it. Of course, there are ways out there to get it online, but you know, for people who actually want to support us by buying it, we wanted to have a way for them to be able to do it, rather than just telling them to go to Mediafire and find it. It was good to make a legitimate way for people to get ahold of it.

There was an announcement last year that you were planning on doing a split with John Nolan. Is that still going to happen?

I don’t want to say too much, but I think there’s going to be news on that soon. He did his song a couple months ago, and then it was waiting on me to finish mine, and we recorded ours at the beginning of April, and I’m finishing up the mix right now. You should be hearing about that soon. It’s going to happen, it’s not like the Weatherbox/Person L split five years later.

You’re originally from the west coast, right?

I’m originally from Louisville, Kentucky, but I live in Seattle now.

So why do you mostly focus on doing a lot of east coast shows rather than staying near home?

That’s a good question. It’s really just luck of the draw on what tours happen to come up that we get. We used to live in North Carolina, and all the tours we were getting for a long time were west coast tours, and as soon as we moved to the west coast, we literally haven’t had a tour that was west coast since then. Hopefully we’ll get a west coast one real soon, but because we’re headlining, we don’t have much control on where we go.

You said you’re writing a new record. It’s a full length, right?

Yes, we’re working on the next full length.

What’s the direction that you’re going with the third full length? Are you staying with the darker direction of Dig Up The Dead or maybe stay in the poppier and catchier area of New Best Friends, or perhaps is this something entirely different for Mansions? Give us a little feel of what the new stuff is going to sound like?

It’s hard to tell, because they’re all just demos right now, and that can totally change once it’s actually recorded, but I think it’ll be a logical next step. It won’t be anything super out of left field. I think it’ll take a lot of the stuff from Dig Up The Dead and kind of tune it up a little bit. And obviously take some stuff from New Best Friends. The songs so far are probably a little bit poppier than Dig Up The Dead. I don’t want to say that they’re more fun, because whenever I hear bands say that I feel like it’s going to suck, but I feel they’re fun but in an interesting way. Maybe slightly sunnier and a little more rock, a little fuzzier. So far they’re a lot more uptempo.

You’ve been playing a new song lately that everyone at your shows have been loving, that most people have been calling “80 Fucking Dollars.” What’s the plan for that song? Is it going to be on the record, or the John Nolan split, or something totally different?

It’s not the split song. It’s called “Two Suits”, and it’ll be on the record unless the final version is terrible. It was kind of in the first batch of demos that we did and sent around, and that was the one that people really responded to the most, and it’s a lot of fun to play. I think I’m going to play a couple other new songs tonight. But yeah, “Two Suits” should be on the record.

How does it differ doing acoustic shows and electric shows? Do you have to have a totally different gameplan or is it basically simply translating the songs?

I’d say it’s more like a different gameplan. It’s a different kind of thought process. Some songs translate really well in a band environment but not an acoustic one, and vice versa. You get to play some songs we don’t normally play full band. And also thinking about people who have seen us before, they want to hear some different stuff, so mixing it up for them is good. Every tour, it’s good to think about who the crowd is that’s coming to the tour, so you may play different songs on different tours. You always try to cater to them.

On the same page, you’re doing one show on the Warped Tour Acoustic Basement stage this summer. How did that come along?

We just got asked to play, and it’s in Seattle on a weekend so it was easy to play. That’ll just be acoustic. I have no idea what it will be like or what I’ll play or anything, but I’m sure it’ll be kind of like tonight.

Other than the writing and recording for the upcoming record and the split, do you have any other plans for the upcoming months? Are you planning on touring a bit?

This summer we’re going to lie low a bit, and concentrate on the writing and recording of the record. Summer’s kind of tough for touring unless you’re on the big festivals, so we plan on playing Seattle a bunch more, and more regularly than we have been, and maybe some other kind of regional stuff. But summer will be kind of slow as far as shows go. And then in fall, nothing’s confirmed yet, but it looks like it should be a lot busier.

Anything else you want to say?

Just be on the lookout for news about the split, and thanks to you for supporting the band. And you guys should really like the new songs.

I'd like to thank Chris again for taking time again to speak with us at MuzikDizcovery. It's always a pleasure speaking with him, as personally he's one of nicest and most down to earth musicians I've ever been able to speak to. Dig Up The Dead is an absolute masterpiece, and you can stream and purchase it right here. You can also look up the right hand column for the aforementioned acoustic version of the album for stream and purchase as well. And finally, don't forget to follow the band's progress on the album and upcoming tours on their Facebook page.

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