April 1, 2021

An Interview with Manchester Orchestra

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Introduction

We’re so thrilled to be featuring Manchester Orchestra’s sixth album The Million Masks of God to our members in April of 2021. The album “showcases the strength and boundary-pushing invention of Manchester Orchestra’s consistently impressive catalog. The album is a testament to the kinship of the band’s songwriting duo, Andy Hull and Robert McDowell; a bond that enabled them to take a deeply personal experience and turn it into limitless, compassionate, communal, revelatory art.”

“Making this record reiterated to us that there are no rules and there is no ceiling,” Hull comments. “It convinced us to be ambitious and take our time in order to create something really special. I’m more proud of this record than anything we’ve ever done.”

Rob McDowell very kindly answered a few questions for us to help us get to know the band and their style better. Take a read!

Q & A

How has your writing style / creative process evolved throughout your career so far?

Learning that it’s OK to walk away from something and come back took me a while to figure out. In the early days there was pride in going nonstop until it’s done. The more records we make the more we realize that space can give you a perspective you didn’t have the day before.

What was the recording process like on this record?

It was really hard, but also enjoyable. We had all the normal sonic battles but on a personal level it couldn’t have gone smoother. Adding Ethan and Catherine’s brains and personalities to the mix was one of the better decisions we’ve made. It immediately became six people on the same team making a record.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to start making music for themselves?

Not to be afraid of collaboration. Music doesn’t have right or wrong answers so working with someone else can always teach you something.

What’s it like seeing your records on vinyl?

It’s really exciting to see it, but actually holding it is my favorite. Music exists for so long as ideas and then in today’s world stays digital for a long time. When I get to hold the first vinyl it really makes the album feel finished and real.

What was the first album you ever owned on vinyl?

My dad was a huge music fan and kept his record collection until their basement flooded. I remember being ten or so and borrowing “Sgt. Peppers”, KISS “Double Platinum: and Styx “The Grand Illusion” (it still had the fold out poster in it)… I never returned any of them.

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