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Interview: Mini Mansions – ‘We dialed our shit in sonically’

Mini Mansions recently conquered Brixton with Royal Blood, and are releasing their new album next week. Before that, we had a lovely chat with Tyler and Michael from the trio, which you can read at your pleasure below.

Michael: Haaaaaarrryyyyyy

Hello! How are you guys?

Michael: Yeah man, we’re doing great!

Looking forward to your tour with Royal Blood you’ve got coming up?

Tyler: Hellllll yeah!

I think that may have something to do with the reception of your music over here. How do you find the reception compared to back home in the States?

Michael: Much. Better. Well, it’s hard in the States, for anybody, but especially rock music. It’s really tough – it’s a pop country and pop world over there. I feel like in Europe, and obviously in the UK too, they just get it a little bit more with what we are doing. I think it’s more friendly.

I’d say so!

Michael: You would. You would Harry.

I would say we have more of music culture here, and one that is more open and welcoming

Michael: That’s why we are moving here. We’re getting an apartment together, and you’re the first to hear.

Oh excellent, breaking news! So, your second album is coming out soon. You’re obviously looking forward to that, but what sort of sound can we look forward to hearing compared to the first LP?

Michael: (after a long pause) Well, I wouldn’t say it is a silly record, but I think it is a little less serious. We’re having a little bit more fun, much more than the first record. Although we love the first record tremendously and are super proud of it, I think this record is just… better. We dialled our shit in sonically. It’s just better, more focussed.

You have a song with Alex Turner (from the Arctic Monkeys) on your new album called ‘Vertigo’. How did that collaboration come about?

Michael: That came about as he is a good friends of ours, and the short story is we wanted to make music together. We had this song called Vertigo that we had for a while and while we were writing it, we kinda wanted it to have this pseudo rap/hip-hop type thing in the song, as it’s West coast hip hop influenced. Tyler did the first verse, and I was going to take the second one, and it was supposed to have this British character to it, that I was trying to portray for a brief moment. I failed miserably. When we were recording the record, Alex was coming by and hanging out, and we were having a drinks. We had done all the vocals, and were still thinking about what we would do for that verse. Alex had the right voice for the verse, and we gave him free reign to do whatever he wanted – he came up with all the lyrics for the verse. It worked out extremely well.

Your first album was fairly well received, and you are saying this new album is even better. So will it be received better by the critics, or is it one for the fans, as you say it is less serious?

Michael: I’m surprised you said the first one was received well, I didn’t know it was perceived by anybody. So I hope people like this one, there are no reviews yet.

Tyler: Like Mike said, but truly we don’t really care. It sounds odd, but honestly we aren’t concerned with that. My other answer to that question would be that this record is more of a “love/hate” kind of thing, as it is so many things and much more eccentric. You can either love that crazy guy in the corner, or not. I’d rather be that, then lukewarm.

I’d agree with that. The title, ‘The Great Pretenders’, is that an ironic title, a hit at some people perhaps?

Tyler: It came from a b-side’s lyrics, and we were drawn to that as a title a looong time ago before we even finished the record. I don’t know why, but we settled on that and liked it. After settling on it, we liked the absurdity of it, and it affected the record, different emotions on different songs. There’s this ancient act of pretending that we embrace, and characterise on this record.

The music on the last record, and indeed the new one, is quite hard to describe. Do you have your own genre classification for it, perhaps?

Tyler: That’s a hard one man. We always try to say it’s ‘pop’. Pop can be anything, and we are trying to apply every sub-genre of music that can be considered to be in a ‘pop band’.

Michael: You said it, and you did say it Harry, that it is “hard to describe”, and I hope people come away from it thinking it is its own thing. You don’t want to think it is ‘dream pop’, we want it to be unique, not sounding like ‘them’.

The Great Pretenders is out on the 23rd of March, with the new single featuring Alex Turner, Vertigo, out now.

By Harry Barnes

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