Interviews

Artist on artist interview: Mansionair chats with Micra

Mansionair Micra

After an extended delay, Mansionair have finally hit the road on their first headline East Coast tour, supported by the wonderful Sydney-based duo Micra.

With the fast-paced nature of tours, support artists and headline acts rarely get a chance to properly sit down and have a chat. So we thought we’d step in and make sure that wasn’t the case for Mansionair and Micra, who are currently hitting up stages along Australia’s East Coast.

We’re less than five months into 2022 but Mansionair have already gone from strength to strength, releasing their second album Happiness, Guaranteed  after a stunning string of singles, before topping it off with an incredible cover of Labrinth’s Still Don’t Know My Name for triple j’s Like A Version.

So before they spend the rest of the month sharing stages together, Jack, one third of Mansionair, answered some brilliant questions laid down by Belgian/Australian duo Micra.

Mansionaire

MICRA: Your lyrics seem deeply introspective. Would you describe yourself this way?

JACK: Writing lyrics has always been a way for me to express how I’m feeling. More often than not lyrics will come before I’ve made sense of the seasons in my life and the further time passes the more the lyrics will soon start to make sense in retrospect to what i’ve been processing. So I guess in a way that naturally turns to introspection. I have trouble finding ways to express myself in conversations and songs are a way for me to be honest without feeling entirely vulnerable.

MICRA: Making an album is a mammoth effort ..What was the biggest challenge whilst making your 2nd album and what things did you learn from the first record?

JACK: It sure is. The biggest challenge making this record was putting aside our unrealistic expectations for success and making music for the love of the process. We’ve often laboured too long on an idea and judging it before it’s fully formed, so our process on this record was very much in the frame of mind of seeing an idea out with passion and joy for the chase of the idea. In doing so we unlocked our part of ourselves that felt natural and easy, and took out all the second guessing.

MICRA: I heard some Allan Watts quotes on your socials, which is awesome. What inspired you to explore the concept in “happiness guaranteed”?

JACK:  One of the biggest influences on this record was repurposing the ideas of others – Allan Watts, Tim Keller, David Foster Wallace, etc. The pursuit of happiness is not a new idea but we felt led to explore what it meant to us in the context of our dreams and desires after years of trying to appease ourselves and other people’s ideas of who we were as people and as artists. Making art full-time can be incredibly rewarding, but it is very easy to get lost within a framework of constantly wanting more success, wanting to sell out shows, and sell lots of records, but sometimes that’s at the cost of what you’re trying to achieve and the art you want to make and you end up in an echo chamber trying to guess what people want to hear and ignoring your own intuition of what brought you to making art in the first place, to process life and to reflect a mirror of your own reality.

The idea of making a record about came quite naturally and it was only after we had written a few songs for the record that we noticed this common theme.

MICRA: What’s your favourite part of the process in starting and finishing a song? What’s your least favourite?

JACK:  Starting a song is the best feeling, there’s this honeymoon phase where you see the potential in what you’re creating. This part of the process is incredibly fluid and untouched by your own and other’s judgement. Finishing a song can be the hardest part, because you have to come to terms with the potential imperfections in the song, like not nailing the perfect lyric here, or not quite feeling like the mix is right.

In the making of this album we learnt to let go of the song quite quickly and remember the buzz we had when we first heard the idea. I think it’s important to hold onto that feeling as long as possible and try to stick to the feeling you were trying to evoke when you first sat down to write. My least favourite part is learning to let go of an idea that just doesn’t feel right anymore.

MICRA: Where do you see your music progressing from here?

JACK:  I definitely see a crossroads sonically in Mansionair right now, for years we’ve made music that is both a little bit dancey and a little bit ‘band-y. I think I’d like to either continue to dial in that blend or just stick to one specific genre and really hone in on how Mansionair can fully immerse in that space.

MICRA: When do you find yourself at your happiest?

JACK: In the ocean, watching the waves roll in, feeling completely at the mercy of what nature has to offer.

MICRA: What aspect has changed the most individually or as a band since you first formed?

JACK: The biggest shift in the band has been to make music because we love it, that has unlocked a great resource of ideas and taking the guesswork out of what to pursue.

MICRA: What’s your favourite place to tour and why?

JACK: I love touring America, it’s vastness of open roads, the quick and immense change of culture as you pass through each town, and with the ability to place 4 weeks of shows 6 nights a week, you get into a flow of touring that is almost euphoric.

MICRA: What are your guilty pleasures?

JACK: Blasting 90’s/2000’s RnB in the back of an Uber stacked full of friends after a night out

MICRA: Top 3 books?

JACK: Rainer Maria Rilke – Letters to a Young Poet

This book is a wealth of wisdom as a writer, I pull so much from his insights into the creative process. It has a permanent fixture by my bedside and I would say I probably read it twice year.

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist 

This is a story about a traveller finding the true path. It’s stacked with wisdom on the journey through life and it is so inspiring. This is also has a permanent fixture by my bedside, my copy has been leant to so many of my friends and is completely falling apart from over-reading.

Betrand Russell – The Conquest of Happiness

In making Happiness, Guaranteed I went and bought a whole bunch of books on the concept. This book was filled to the brim with ideas on the pursuit and informed a lot of the ideas that made it into the record.

Mansionair and Micra kick off their East Coast tour tonight at The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay, before playing shows in Brisbane, Melbroune, and Sydney before the end of the month. 

Check out the full list of venues and dates below. You can buy tickets for the tour from Mansionair’s website.

Friday May 13 | Beach Hotel, Byron Bay
Saturday May 14 | The Triffid, Brisbane
Friday May 20 | 170 Russell, Melbourne
Saturday May 28 | The Factory, Sydney

Happiness, Guaranteed is out now on all streaming platform. Get a taste of the album below.

Photos provided.