Picture it: Thursday, July 2, it’s about 7:45 in the evening, it’s hot and humid in Michigan, and I am waiting on a phone call. Suddenly, as I set up everything to conduct an interview, my phone rings from an unknown Kentucky number. With mild trepidation, I answer the call. On the other end is Christopher Browder of Mansions, telephoning me for our interview.
Browder and I spent about a half-hour discussing the creative process for recording “Big Bad”( Bad Timing Records), what we’re doing when quarantine ends, and what we’re listening to.
Mansions hail from Seattle, WA. The land of vampires and grunge music. Previously, Mansions had taken a more traditional alternative route in terms of their sound, but this record takes a decidedly different approach. Browder said, “After every album, there’s kind of this period where like I have to like think about this album a lot like what kind of songs we want to do, usually that ends up with us trying a lot of different tyles and a lot of things.”
Browder went on to say that because the duo isn’t dedicated to one scene, they have more freedom in terms of creation. Going on to say, “After doing this quiet minimalist wave record, my instinct is to make the loudest fuzz-rock song possible.”
In addition to the compositional changes made on this record, Mansions took us on a poetic journey. With an emotionally developed narrative, the lyrical content is some of the most intimate Mansions has released. Browder said, “As far as lyrics go, I don’t really know what I’m singing about. There could be some event or something I overheard.” He went on to explain that often times he understands his writing later on in the recording process.
Oddly enough, they were in the quarantine spirit before it even started, their album was mastered the week before Seattle went into lockdown. Browder said, “We got it mastered like that’s the last step the records done. That was the first week of March, so it was right before quarantine started. It’s kind of ironic, cause like a couple of weeks before then I was having to bail on hanging out with friends and stuff like that because I was like ‘I got to finish this record.’ And then we finished it and quarantine hit”.
The pair recorded their record together at home, which Browder said was “unique a little bit, but in a very 2020 way”.
After quarantine plans, they’re holding out hope for playing a few shows for the record, but not knowing when that might be is a little stressful. They are planning to record some more music and release acoustic versions of some of their tracks.
In addition to recording some extra materials, they’re planning to do a few live streams. Browder said to me that he thinks the live stream trend to extend past the actual quarantine. Browder said, “It’s cool a way to get to close that loop, you know when you write a song and put it out, it feels sort of incomplete until you have that complete circle of feeling people react to it.”
Browder went on to say, “I really like that other bands have been doing that instead of touring. I think it’s awful that bands cant tour when they’re relying on that, but the idea that maybe there’s a world where people can be doing streams and things like that instead of being away from their family for half the year. I think that’s an exciting idea.”
We ended the conversation by talking about what we’re listening to now, as for Browder’s playlist, Pusha T, Phoebe Bridges, Julia Jackson, Haim, and more. Browder did say now that he’s working from home, he doesn’t feel so bad about working with his headphones all the time. He added that he’s been listening to more music than usual.
Browder and I had a lot of fun “sitting down” with each other and laying the foundation of what makes Mansions who they are.
Their new record is available to stream on all platforms. New Noise’s record review is here.