Sian caught up with Manchester Orchestra on the cusp of their UK tour following their new album COPE.
How have you found the reaction to Cope so far?
Good! New fans seem to like it and the old ones have been exceedingly positive about the record. I feel like the record really represents what we’ve brought to the table live and being able to put that on paper seems to resonate with people who enjoy what we do.
You’ve described Simple Math as layered and complicated, what made you decide to go for a more raw sound with COPE?
Our band tends to “go with our gut” and our guts were telling us to make a raucous rock record, so that’s what we tried to do this go around.
How did working in a self-built studio impact the production process of COPE?
There was certainly a strong sense of pride on a daily basis when making COPE. We built the studio, so we felt free to express ourselves in it. There was another sense of freedom in that we weren’t paying thousands of dollars a day to use it. We could take breaks when we needed to get our heads on straight. We worked hard, but the pressure we had on us we put on ourselves.
You recently drafted in a new drummer (Tim Very) and bassist (Andy Price). How has this affected your sound?
This rhythm section is the best we’ve ever had. Their ability to play practically anything allows our band to move in any direction we want to go in. They definitely brought a unifying mentality into the room when we were writing COPE and their execution on the record is impeccable.
Do you have a writing process? Previous albums have had a deep and mellow sound to them but COPE comes across a lot more optimistic. Does this reflect a personal journey?
That’s certainly more of an Andy question (the latter half at least), but Manchester wrote this record as a band in a room with the guitars really loud. We wrote a ton of songs for COPE and ended up whittling it down once we knew what kind of record we were making. Andy would come in, start playing a riff and then we would sort of bleed in and follow the song until we had something. We did that for days on end until we had a full record.
With that in mind, do you prefer to perform the energetic tracks or the more mellow ones live?
It’s fun being a loud rock band, but the mellow ones are interesting to play as well. I like wearing different hats and flexing our muscles in different ways. I feel like our band prides ourselves in being able to make whatever style of music that we want to, so it’s fun being able to show people what we can do on both ends of the spectrum.
Have you ever had a weird fan experience?
Tons, but I wouldn’t want to embarrass anybody. Our fans are sweet and sometimes that vulnerability can make people act funny. If someone starts to freak out, I just tell them that everything’s going to be okay and maybe offer a hug.
Tickets for Manchester Orchestras UK tour can be bought here: http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/artist/manchester-orchestra-tickets/33984