Æ: Aglet Eaters

Interactions in Installments: Mansions and Junipers Part 1

Posted in Discover by R on July 16, 2012

Hey, remember this?

That’s the first song by Mahogany I ever heard and to this day it remains my favourite. Light, lilting, liberating, it’s a baby bird measuring the distance between branch and earth before its first, overwhelmingly successful, leap.

Tesselation is the reason why the only word I saw in the first email Matthew ofMansions and Juniperssent me was ‘Mahogany’. I am so uncivil that Matthew had to give me a gentle prod a couple of emails later to remind me that he was writing to tell me about M & J (and presumably not to hear me ramble on about Mahogany as… I am doing here).

As anyone can tell, this was a PERFECT OPPORTUNITY for another round of…

*thunderous drumroll*

Interactions! In! Installments!


Before I get started, I’d just like to say that this is probably the most organised III I’ve had till date. You can tell Matthew is or has been a university student because of how he neatly sorts responses under appropriate subheads making my job about 10,000 times easier.

And before Matthew gets started, it’s probably best he introduce us to the other constituent of the the M & J compound – Monocle (because god knows I’ve done enough for Mahogany):

Before I get into Mansions and Junipers, I can point you towards Monocle. Monocle is the brainchild of my close friend Rich Bennett. He was the primary songwriter on the debut EP, Lounge Act, and the LP, Outer Sunset (I composed two tracks on OS and play guitar on everything). We’ve put that band on hold for several years now, but Rich is finishing up a new Monocle LP which I am not involved with. You can check out Monocle here: http://music.hiddenshoal.com/artists/monocle/

And you should. OK on to business:

Matthew Filler:

Mansions and Junipers is me (Vocals, guitar, all songwriting), Rich Bennett (keyboards), Salvatore Boyd (Bass), and Robert Vaccarrelli (Drums).

In April 2010, I started writing a recording the debut LP, Mansion Beach. This was before I had nailed down a band. I recorded and performed most of this record myself, with some help from Sean Marquand (producer/songwriter of Phenomenal Handclap Band), and drummer Andrew Frawley. It was finished in September of 2010 and self-released. I subsequently put together a temporary band. We performed the Mansion Beach songs until I started writing prolifically again in the spring of 2011. Although I am very proud of Mansion Beach, it doesn’t really reflect what we do now.

In June 2011, I hooked up with Salvatore Boyd. Sal is an absolutely brilliant young musician from Allenhurst, NJ, my home town (although I’ve lived in Brooklyn for 12 years). The Boyds are old family friends. They’re a musical family, unlike mine. I used to jam at their house when I was 17, the middle bro Sam was 14, and Sal was 8 [crivens! – ed]. The age difference is such that Sal and I were never friends growing up. But he graduated from Berkeley School of Music last spring as a brilliant composer and multi-instrumentalist and I immediately wanted to get him in the fold. He had just built a beautiful suburban garage studio (Super Owl)… a real legit one, and I was ready to work with him. We spent all of last summer laying down tracks every week, early mornings, late nites, drinking beer, and recording a ridiculous amount of music… he matched my energy and productivity and then some. We recorded about 30+ tracks – Sal on drums, me on bass, both of us playing guitars, recording various percussion, playing Nashville tuned guitars, experimenting with contact mics inside the baby grand, putting guitar amps outside – basically trying everything. I was really trying to rid myself of the regimented recording process I had done so much of for so long in small confined studios on tight budgets in areas of Brooklyn. We were trying to capture real unbridled performance, whether it was a tambourine or a grand piano. (also Bob and Rich did play on these recording later after I and Sal had really established our process).

During this time, the core of the band was developing. Rich Bennett, my perpetual music partner (we met in college at NYU and initially had a band together called Friendly Bears), and Robert Vaccarelli (who’s also a childhood friend whom I started playing music with when I was 14 but lost touch with for several years) were added to the fold. We immediately began to gel, as we all had deep histories and connections with one another. A post-punk energy started to develop within all of the psych detail and Scott Walker abstractions…

y so grumps

In late 2011 and 2012, we’ve done live shows with Laetetia Sadier (Stereolab), and friends like Religious To Damn, The Stargazer Lillies (Soundpool) [zomg!! – ed], and Apollo Heights… although, shoegaze is really on the periphery of what we do…

During this time entire, I’ve been perpetually overdubbing and mixing in my studio in Brooklyn, Pralaya Records and Productions. The plan is to break down this material into a series of EP’s. The first is the Plastic 57 EP, to be released June 5th. The others will follow in 2-3 month intervals… each EP will have 6 songs, so there will be plenty of leftover b-sides. June will also see our debut video by Eric Bintner, producer / animator / designer…

Since it’s well past June in all hemispheres, meet Mansions and Junipers first video:

More soon…

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