Interview – Manchester Orchestra

Day in and day out since they released Mean Everything To Nothing in early 2009, Manchester Orchestra have been holding speakers and headphones hostage with their dynamic sound. As bassist Jonathan Corley told us before their Toronto show, the past few years have only just been the beginning.

© Jeff Parsons

Manchester Orchestra has become the band everyone’s heard about but nobody knows about. Are you pleased with the fact that you guys have become popular without going mainstream?

At this point it’s just been cool to watch the progression of everything that’s happened and we’ve been unbelievably blown away by the response of this tour and our most recent album. Like it’s cool to have watched things grow over the past few years.
 
Do you think you would ever take your music to the arena stage or will the band stick to smaller, more intimate venues?

It’s been slowly, steadily growing for years. I don’t think we are at a point where it’s going to happen overnight but hopefully it does progress for us.
 
Is success an inner demon when it comes to the music industry?

No, not really. Everyone’s going to strive so they can do what they want to do as well as they can. I don’t necessarily see that as a negative thing at all as it doesn’t really have that big of an impact.

When it comes to your music on the live stage, it’s always different. A fan could take a look at your live EPs and YouTube videos of your performances and notice that you guys never play one song the same. Is there a reason for doing that?

Probably because there’s a lot of YouTube videos (laughs). We try to play the songs consistently every night but they do tend to change and evolve over time after months of playing them over and over again. Which is why we have gone different ways with it.
 
Do you think the heartfelt, stripped-down acoustic performances define Manchester Orchestra?

I think that’s definitely a big part of what the band is as it makes us a group and it makes ourselves as well.
 
Thanks to fans, there have been videos of a new song you have revealed on your latest tour. What can you tell us about the track?

That song came about right before we left for this tour and it’s been one of those things we’re kind of working out while we’re on the road as it’s kind of finding its structure as we continue applying it. It’s always a fun experience as I enjoy watching the evolution of a song as you’re playing it every night. It offers a nice chance to work it out in front of people and build it progressively.
 
It’s been stated you’re recording a new disc this summer. How has that been going for you guys?

We’ve been demoing a bit since the two months we had off before this tour and this summer we’re going to move towards shaping a new record.

As far as sound goes, how would you describe the direction you’re headed?

I think this new record will be a lot louder and a lot quieter than our past stuff, so more dynamic in a sense.
 
When can the world expect the third record to be released?

At this point, we’re hoping to get it finished and get it out as soon as we can but at the same time we’re going to spend as much time as we need to so we can focus on the record and not rush anything.

We spent a couple months on the last album and that was a great experience. We’re also going to be recording a majority of this record in our studio in Atlanta. I think that more than anything will have the biggest impact as we’re doing it in our place and not just in some studio.
 
With consistent trips to the studio, numerous tours and endless coverage from press, is there ever going to be a point in time in the next while where the band just disappears?

Well, with the way the cycle works for making a new record, we will probably get some time off after recording this album. That way we have some time to ourselves and a chance to prepare for the release of the next one. But even when we’re home and have time off, we’re in the studio making music anyway. It’s tough to take time off because when you’re bored you start making music again.
 
Is it the shags and beards that are helping you guys kill shows day in and day out while touring?

Helped us? No, probably not. That’s just more us being lazy (laughs).
 
You guys have been around for about five years now and at your age, some may say your career is far from over. How long do you think the band’s career will last?

I hope as long as people keep listening to us and we plan to keep moving forward.

What does it takes to kill Manchester Orchestra?

It comes down to us not enjoying the music we make. Or an earthquake.
 

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