quarta-feira, 5 de setembro de 2012

Sound & Vision with Mansions & Junipers - An Interview


Depois de um hiato devido a turne com o Ringo Deathstarr, o TBTCI retorna e assuntos não faltam, vem coisa fina pela frente, a começar por uma daquelas novidades que é tipicamente a veia do TBTCI, Matthew Filler é a mente por detrás do novissimo Mansions & Junipers, Matthew já tem no curriculo nada mais nada menos do que ter participado do cultuado Mahogany, só por este ponto já tem total credibilidade, mas isso é pouco, Plastic 57 o Ep de estréia do M&J é um verdadeira caldeirão que mescla desde o pos punk, synthpop, dreampop e inumeras outras variáveis com extrema classe, Big city é a carta de apresentação do Ep, mas Paradise Purgatory remete diretamente a Bowie fase Sound and Vision, Cadilac Vision também remete ao camaleão mas já na fase Berlin, o M&J realmente impressiona pela qualidade das composições e dos arranjos, grandiosos e eloquentes.

 O TBTCI retorna em grandioso estilo entrevistando Matthew Filler para que você possa se inteirar e ir a fundo neste seu mais novo predileto da casa, Mansions & Junipers é assim, classe acima de qualquer suspeita.

***** Interview with Mansions & Junipers *****


Q. When did Mansions and Junipers starts, tell us about the history...
I started MaJ in the spring of 2010. I had been playing in other bands (mainly Monocle and Mahogany) for a few years and I felt a major itch to get back into songwriting. I decided to make a record in May 2010 and it was finished by August (Mansion Beach). I put the band together after the fact, and we performed live renditions of these 'studio' tracks around NYC for a few months.

During this period, the line-up was ever-rotating and I was experimenting with my vocal a lot. It was really just a time where I was trying to hone the identity of Mansions and Junipers. Looking back at this time, it's clear that we hadn't really established MaJ as a real unit yet. The writing, the process, and the energy needed to change. I needed to get a lot of the superficialities that surround gaining traction as a band out of our culture and just get back to playing music with my friends.

And speaking about the joy of making music with friends (tangent), I've been reading a lot of statements, letters, articles, FB posts lately about how the music industry is dead and musicians don't get paid for anything anymore and so on and so forth... or how the 'scene' is over-saturated and there's no demand, or how the public just consumes crap and "success' is based on some arbitrary lottery regardless of the hard work you put forth. Honestly, boo hoo! You either love what you do or you don't regardless of the externalities. And WHEN were these music industry glory days? Before we were born? So, what do we know about it? I was having a conversation with some friends recently about how our generation needs little gold stars and recognition for every little thing we 'accomplish'. Oh well... unfortunately, life isn't a John Hughes film. You either love and appreciate the joy that making music brings you on a daily basis or you don't. And if ok if you don't... be an accountant. Look, there's lots of opportunity out there and we have a vast amount of new resources at our disposal. It's exciting. Enough about what's holding you back. It's depressing!

Ok, where were we? In May 2011, in the midst of line-up changes etc etc, an old acquaintance from my hometown, Sally Boyd, finished school and moved back to the area. I had never really played with Sal but I'd seen him perform and his energy was infectious. Rumor had it that upon his return to the home-front, Sal had built out a pretty serious proper garage studio (Super Owl). This seemed like a good excuse to do a recording project together, so I approached Sal with a new handful of songs and we got things rolling. Over the next three months, we recorded about 30 tracks. I would write new songs weekly for our end-of-the-week sessions, and we'd just arrange them and learn them on the fly, and perform the fuck out of them. During that period, we brought Bob Vaccarelli (drums) and Rich Bennett (keys) into the fold, both of them fantastic musicians who I'd played with in several other bands including Monocle, Friendly Bears, Mahogany, etc etc.
Long story short, of the 30 tracks we recorded, we've chosen 17 (maybe 18) for the 2012 EP trilogy. 'Plastic 57' was released in June along with our first video, Cadillac Dreams. 'Paintress' will be out in September, and the trilogy's anchor (name tbd) will be out in December. This will all be followed by a proper LP, much of which we are already performing live. So, we hope that these songs will be fully developed and rocking to their fullest by the time we hit the studio in early 2013.

Q: Who are your influences?
We have many but I'll try to mention the most relevant. Siouxsie, Bowie, Depeche Mode, Scott Walker, Pixies, Talk Talk, Wire, The Smiths... some pretty classic stuff. There's a number of contemporary bands that we're listening to right now... Deerhunter is an influence, the new Chairlift is awesome, Crystal Stilts, A Place To Bury Strangers. The new Chromatics is somewhat in line with the direction of much of our newest music (for the 2013 LP), that is if you imagine it with more density, big guitars, and live drums. We also tend to draw lots of comparisons to Jesus and Mary Chain and Psychedelic Furs. Although this isn't a conscious thing, we'll take it!

Q. Made a list of 5 albuns of all time…
This is difficult... I'm not going to think to hard about it, but this list would likely change every other day.
1. David Bowie - Scary Monsters
2. The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come
3. OMD - Organisation
4. Scott Walker - Scott IV
5. Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante

Q. How do you fell playing alive?
We are in our element when we play live. We just want to connect with the crowd and achieve the holiest of sustained adrenaline sublimeness. We have a blast up there... we're pretty animated.


Q. How do you describe Mansions and Junipers sounds?
Mansions and Junipers make vocal and guitar-driven melodic synth-based music.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the new album?
See above, but here it is... on the rocks is fine.

All tracks were engineered by Sally Boyd and myself at Sal's studio, Super Owl. We initially had no plan for these recordings, so our approach was very loose in comparison with every other record/s I ever made.

We're genrally really energetic and work very fast. Neither of us are really gear-heads or too fine with technique, so we're not going to spend 4 hours moving mics 3 inches this way and that way. We'd just set up, listen to music, get loose, have a beer, and hit record. Don't get me wrong. We're all super focused and meticulous... the studio vibe just has to be loose so we can get that magic on tape! When people are tight and afraid to hit wrong notes, you may as well pack it up and call it a day. For us, it's sort of like trying to document a series of real time snapshots of what someone might be going through emotionally during an orgy or something... all sorts of balance and tension, highs and lows. When I'm mixing and I solo the room mics, I can hear everyone breathing or grunting involuntarily. It's really funny! But it's also fantastic that they're so into it! So, vibe come first and everyone has such a nice rapport with one another that this is quite natural. But we still place a very high priority on process, focus, and repetition.

After these songs were tracked at Super Owl, I'd take them back to my studio, Pralaya Productions, record overdubs, and mix obsessively. And there ya have it.

Q. Which new bands do you recommended?
I guess I already touched on this, but some of my favorite contemporary artists are Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, Chromatics, Crystal Stilts, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Unknown Mortal Orchestra... I was literally just turned on to this Seattle-based artist named Erik Blood that I know is going to be my favorite new thing for the next several months. Some of our local peers... Her Vanished Grace and Dead Leaf Echo are crushin' it these days. There's so many more but I'm drawing a blank. Our very own Rich Bennett has some amazing solo material, plus he's just wrapping up a new Monocle LP (myspace.com/monoclemusic). Sally also has some an absolutely amazing collection of original musics that he's about to share with the world, and Bob just started a killer new band with his brother Adam called Razor Blazers.

Q: Which bands you love to made a cover version?
I've never covered anything except for Frank Zappa's 'I am the Slime' with my band when I was 15. That show was on a huge flat-bed truck in a farm barn in the middle of the woods. All I remember is that my friend kept bringing me red wine spritzers on stage... I have no idea why, and it seems a little strange in hindsight! That's definitely the night that I caught rock fever forever.

Oh, and recently I decided that I'm going to do a slowed down piano and voice version of Depeche Mode's 'Shake the Disease', maybe.

Q: What´s the plans for future....
Renewable energy, high-speed rail, upcycling.

Q: Any parting words?
We just wanna thank our cats and Birddog.

Also, check out the new video for Cadillac Dreams. And Plastic 57 is for sale basically everywhere... mansionsandjunipers.bandcamp.com, iTunes, Amazon, and so forth!
thanks Matthew