Artist Spotlight - Mini Mansions
(Photo Credit - Brian Tamborello & Lo Nguyen)
We had the opportunity to interview rising alt-stars Mini Mansions! They just released their fantastic album 'Guy Walks into a Bar...'on July 26 and it is must listen stuff! We chatted with Mini Mansions at length about their album so before you check out the album, check out our interview!
1. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Rocky and Bullwinkle, Ren and Stimpy, Simon and Garfunkel, John Cassavetes flicks, Love and Rockets comics, those weird family photos you find at thrift stores, The Dead Kennedys, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire, 70’s Italian horror films, 80’s thrillers, 90’s comedians, Mikhail Bulgakov novels, empty mall parking lots at night, weeping willows, Elliot Smith, slow rides at theme parks, bullet trains, any beach in the world, The Beatles……"
2. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"I love old polyphonic synths but nothing beats a properly tuned somewhat beat up upright piano from the 50’s/60’s, it’s magic."
3. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"I can’t describe it objectively because I just jump right into it and get lost in those moments, but I’ve been told it’s sweaty and meaningly confrontational, as all performances should be. My favorite part of any venue are the people packed in it."
4. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"I dunno, I’ve always sort of never trusted artist statements. I guess I’d say a lot of our music takes off of those dreams you have rapidly but can’t remember afterwards but are left with a strange feeling both warm and cold."
5. Tell us about the writing and recording process of Guy Walks into a Bar…?
"A lot of this record was written long-distance style since a portion of us would be gone touring in other bands for some of the year, but oddly this distance created a certain emotional intimacy between what Michael Shuman and I wrote separately that I don’t think we would have achieved in a “workshop” type of environment. Most of the collaboration focused more on how to approach these songs sonically in a way we hadn’t in the past, which was a fun maze to get through being a three-piece suddenly turned four-piece."
6. In all the tracks we felt immense energy from Guy Walks into a Bar…Can you give us some insight into where that energy comes from?
"That could be because a lot of this record focuses on the arc of modern romance from it’s devastating beginning to equally devastating end, so a lot of it was drawn from very recent personal experiences that were still raw, experiences of which we wouldn’t have been able to draw from a few years prior, let alone deal with."
7. Was your vision going into Guy Walks into a Bar…persistent? Or did you find yourself adjusting with the flow of the album as it progressed?
I think this was the first time we had a very focused idea of how this record would be thematically structured way before we recorded it, mostly because it was drawing from much more visceral human experiences that we could feel instantaneously from memory—-particularly issues of love——- rather than battling with much broader existential questions through vast psychedelic dreamscapes (like we have in the past). I think we’re all still dreamers though, for life.