An Interview with Mansions, Seattle’s Best New Musical Transplant

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A little over a week ago, one of our favorite new artists rented a Seattle apartment to try his hand at PacNW living. We recently spent some time with Christopher Browder to learn more about his band, Mansions, their current tour and his hopes for his new hometown.

Though we previewed Mansions’ show at the Sunset last week by calling the morose yet beautiful set one you wouldn’t want to miss, as the band’s now Seattle-based, you should get plenty more chances to see Mansions in the coming year.

Read on to get to know your newest neighbors, listen to their album below and keep your eyes peeled for your next chance to band around town.

How would you describe your music to those who have not yet heard Mansions?

I would call it indie pop-rock that’s kinda unpolished and emotional and nostalgic.

From what sources in your life do you get the most lyrical inspiration?

I don’t really write songs about girls, but write a lot about other types of relationships like friendships etc, and the trouble those can bring.  On this new record, there is a lot about that general lack of direction and meaning that is probably pretty common to people in their mid-20s.

Is there a particular process by which you typically write songs?

Almost all of our songs start with me writing a melody, basic chord progression, and rough lyrics on acoustic guitar.  Sometimes I will start with electric guitar or bass, but almost always it starts acoustic and gets fleshed out from there.  Then I usually demo stuff over and over trying to find the right direction for the arrangement before committing to a certain way of doing it.

What artists have been the most prominent in your musical development?

Ryan Adams has played a big part in my musical development, as well as other singer-songwriters like David Bazan (and all his projects) and Conor Oberst.  I like a lot of real “bands” too, but I think I’ve always felt more of a connection to the artists who are kinda doing it on their own, since that’s how it’s been for me.

How did your tour with Jarrod Gorbel come about and how is going so far?

I did a couple tours with Jarrod and his old band a few years ago, so we’ve known eachother a while and get along well.  Plus we’ve been on two different labels together, and he was kind of enough to ask us to come out on tour.  It’s great because we’re sharing a van and hotels and everything, so it has been really easy and fun.

If you lived in an alternate reality where you forced to play the catalogue of another musician/band for an entire year, which musicians/band’s works would you play?

I could play Weezer’s first two records for the rest of my life with no problem.  Such good songs and so much fun to play.

Are there any Seattle bands that currently make your van’s playlist?

I love a ton of Seattle bands.  David Bazan, Telekinesis, Death Cab, Fleet Foxes, Minus the Bear, Nirvana (duh).

Anything you’re hoping to do with your time in Seattle?

We actually just moved to Seattle a week before this tour, so I would like to get settled into our apartment, find a part-time job and drink tons of coffee.  And also play enough in town to actually get to be a part of the music scene here and call it our home.  I would love that.

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