Backstage Pass: Q&A with Mansions on the Moon

Hailing from all over the place but eventually settling in Los Angeles is a common story that just about every band ever has had but you don’t often hear that bands didn’t move to LA until they started having success. Mansions on the Moon of Virigina Beach, Virginia debuted in 2010, by dropping their mixtape called, “Paradise Falls” which was backed by Benzi and Diplo. Not a bad start. Their mixtape was so successful that they were asked to do Wiz Khalfia and Mac Miller’s Green Carpet Tour as the opening act. Then a little known man named Pharrell, produced their 2012 release “Lightyears”. With such an outstanding resume this band is sure to take over the world… In fall of 2014 they partnered with the new music streaming service, Lyynks Music, touring North America and promoting the new platform.

So finally they’ve landed themselves here talking with us about their successes. If you want to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be an artist in today’s music climate, then sit back and enjoy!

Check them out here!

http://lyynks.com/motm/

 

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 In listening to your newest record Mansions on the Moon there are so many different sounds going on that all seem to blend great. How did you over all envision the sound? Was that always the goal or did it just happen?

We wanted this album to have a unique feel. Cohesion was definitely a concern. The group was very concerned with what was presented to our listeners. We started with over 150 ideas/songs. After listening, we narrowed them down to 50, then 20, then the final 10 on the album. A way to view this album is it is kinda like serving dinner. A good cook is going to give you courses that all work together, but they are not going to be all the same thing. We don’t like to listen to just one type of song, so why would we put just one type of song/genre on our album? – Jeff M

 

Because of the albums eclectic nature- What was the writing process like? Do you plan to have a certain amount of each style on the record?

We all write and listen to different styles. MOTM’s back catalog is about as varied as you can imagine – acoustic, hiphop, rap, electro, dance, pop, r&b, house. Right now there’s no quota per style, per release. We’ve talked about releasing a round of Eps in a box set, each with a different genre, but that’s still a dream. – Jeff M

 

Is everything on the record programmed or do you have live players who actually play everything in? 

MOTM is a marriage of both live instrumentalists and programming. Most of the synth “programming” is one of us playing the parts on keyboards in the studio. Everyone in the band plays keyboards. We were also lucky enough to have some extra musicians come in and play on the albums – they are mostly friends from the Los Angeles area. This album was really a family affair of our closest friends. – Jeff M

 

How do you replicate the sound live?

It’s a careful blend of us playing live drums, guitar, bass, keys, voice and the background track. It took us a while to find the right balance. I think we’ve finally achieved it this tour. The response we’ve been getting from the live set has been incredible. For us, writing has always been easy – the live show has been tough thing to put together. In that way, we are like The Beatles or an earlier Steely Dan… If the current state of downloading/income from record sales was different, I doubt this band would ever leave the studio – we’d also probably have another few albums already released. – Jeff M

 

What are your plans with your most recent record? Any big tour dates coming up? 

We just finished around 30 dates and are about to go out and finish the west coast. There are already murmurs about March. We would love to go to Europe and Japan. – Jeff M

 

Your first project Pnuma Trio was a funky/jazz inspired project? Did you want to incorporate some of the same elements when forming MOTM? 

No one can escape from their musical pasts nor should they try. The influences will always be there, regardless if you want them to be or not. Its what you do with what you’ve learned that counts. – Jeff M

 

Do you guys write collectively or are there a few main writers? 

We all write. This group is stacked with writers. Our process of writing is very democratic. Majority wins and there are usually no arguments after the final vote comes down. – Jeff M

 

Who are your main inspirations for production and songwriting?

There are too many to list here. I real like old school funk, R&B, yacht rock, electro, and fusion. I’m sitting in my room right now and the records/posters I have framed on the wall are – Rufus, Stevie Wonder, Jaco Pastorius, James Brown, Weather Report, Little Dragon, Bootsy Collins, and Me’Shell Ndegeocello. – Jeff M

 

Are all of you originally from Virginia? How did you guys meet and what made you “make the move to LA”?

Ted is from Iowa, Lane is from Memphis, Ben from Virginia, and I’m from the Bay Area. The guys have known each other for long time. Ted and Ben were childhood friends. Ben and Lane were in Pnuma Trio. Then Ted, Ben, and Lane formed MOTM. I joined on over 2 years ago. I met them on Craigslist. No lie. – Jeff M

 

Has LA been all it’s cracked up to be? Do you think you guys who have the successes you’ve had like working with Pharell if you weren’t in LA?

Pharrell came before LA, but we have had some cool opportunities out here – we did a short film score for the Weinstien Company last year for a film that debuted at Cannes. That would of never came to fruition without LA. I love/hate Los Angeles. I’ve ridden on the bus out here and learned some incredible things from people. I’ve also talked to countless name droppers and flakes at industry parties. It seems like LA attracts both the brilliant and insane from all other parts of the country. Every type of person. You can find the best and worst of what humanity has to offer out here. – Jeff M

 

What’s next?

We’d love to make more music. – Jeff M

 

Since you currently have your music available for stream on Spotify- What made you want to participate with LYYNKS?

What I like about Lyynks is the flexibility of the platform. Artists can directly upload music in real time, name their own prices, sell merch & tickets. I can be on stage and decide to make my album available for half price and change it right there. That’s a pretty powerful option that other platforms don’t offer. – Jeff M

 

Going down the road- do you plan on continuing to use streaming services to distribute your music?

I hope all media will eventually be streaming. It would be great if you could just have one service for TV, film, and music. I imagine clearing the rights would be difficult, but hopefully one day… – Jeff M

 

https://www.facebook.com/mansionsonthemoon

@MansionsMoon

 

https://soundcloud.com/mansionsonthemoon

 

 

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Image Credits: Stephen Paul Stocker www.stephenpaulphoto.com

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