Interview: Mini Mansions

Mini Mansions - Photo courtesy of Mini Mansions

Mini Mansions - Photo courtesy of Mini Mansions

Mini Mansions may be a band that boasts undeniable McCartney melodies, but what’s most interesting about this band isn’t the constant comparison to the Beatles. Rather it’s how the Los Angeles-based trio doesn’t sound like a second-rate version of anything.

The band consists of Zach Dawes, Tyler Parkford and Michael Shuman: a unique constellation of musicians doing unexpected things. Not only do all of them contribute to the vocals in one way or another, but all three members don’t limit themselves to a particular instrument. And Shuman, best known for playing bass in Queens of the Stone Age, can be found behind the drum kit this time around.

“When we started this band it was something that I’d never really done, you know,” he said, highlighting how challenges can instigate both change and progress. “I’ve learned a lot from the other two dudes and a lot from [Parkford’s] compositions and all that, and, you know, it inspires me to write differently.”

The band is currently in the middle of its first European tour, which Shuman said is possible because of the release of the full-length, which has contributed to building up a non-American fan base.

“I think we’re all just really excited to play Europe for the first time,” he said. “We’ve been wanting to do it and we just haven’t had a chance.”

And although the focus is on touring, the band has also been writing new material. The resulting songs could be on an EP release or make it onto a sophomore album, but no concrete decision has been made yet.

“We’re really just excited to be writing songs again, and these songs are, I feel, are a lot different for us,” Shuman said. “There’s just something about what we’re doing right now that’s just exciting.”

He shared that Mini Mansions has taken a slight departure in sound, experimenting with some more upbeat and fast songs, as opposed to the first album, which Shuman described as “midtempo.”

This miniscule shift is in response to the general enthusiasm all three members have about the band and what it is accomplishing; it’s also born out of a desire to keep things fresh and interesting and non-stagnant.

“We’re looking to do something completely different, you know, and probably with new people and a new perspective and a new room to record in, new gear,” Shuman said. “We want to do something completely different with these songs, as they’re a new chapter. It’d be kind of stale to go back to the same thing we’ve already done.”

One way the band has already mixed things up is in the songwriting process itself.

“The first record was more, I think, us writing alone,” Shuman said. “More so, on the new stuff, we’re starting to kind of, I guess you could say jam [and]…create parts together with all three of us in the room.”

This love of writing and recording often butts up against the band’s mutual love of touring, three things which have their pros and cons. Specifically, Shuman lamented how, although he loves being in a band, there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything.

“I don’t think there [are] enough hours in the day…I’d love to be playing-recording-touring all the time, but you just can’t, you know. There [are] other commitments…that [take] you away from music,” he said, listing them off. “Those things are still important as well, to round you out, but I can’t get enough of [music].”

Mini Mansions plays tonight at White Trash Fast Food in Berlin. The show begins at 22.00.

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