In the second part of our interview with Manchester Orchestra (in case you missed it, here’s part one), we talk to Andy Hull about the mountain of unreleased material Manchester Orchestra has and whether or not it will see the light of day. Alongside this, Hull spoke about his favourite places to play in the UK and the laugh out loud story behind ‘Where Have You Been?’.
Cope is due for release on 31st March, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our review of it coming soon. Big thank you goes to Andy for taking time out of a busy Valentines Day to speak with us!
I remember reading an interview a few years back where you said that you have written in total 38 albums. Has this number grown since?
Whereabouts is it now?
I don’t collect as much of my own material as I once did, I used to categorize it all and have this wild hard drive of music. Maybe since that, I’ve written close to about five albums worth of material. A lot of them are just shit.
So you wouldn’t consider releasing them?
It’s kind of fun to go back and look at this stuff, and I certainly think that if we were to ever take an extended extended break – I don’t see that happening any time soon – but when it’s all said and done, we’ve already talked about releasing some massive boxset of everything. Manchester Orchestra alone have about 50 unreleased songs that no one has heard, and they’re just around.
That would be such an incredible release.
Like I said, they’re not all great but if we ever got the chance, I’d like to go back in the studio and rerecord them and tighten them up. They’re really good songs, the recordings we have aren’t great though.
What ever happened to ‘Bananas’?
That almost made it on this record, it was in the running. We wrote 28 songs for this record, and that was one that had been brought over from about the Mean Everything To Nothing period. We recorded it, but when we started to feel the vibe of what Cope was shaping up to be, it became pretty obvious that it didn’t fit on the record.
It’s quite a concise record to be fair.
Yeah, short and sweet! I think that, at a certain point, you want to make small bursts of impact and for us, we wrote a lot of slow songs and a lot of songs that were different genres, but it was obvious to make this record quite short and sweet.
How hard is it for you guys to come up with a set list for this tour?
Well, we’ve always historically not played a bunch of songs that we don’t know how to play live. So we write down the 30 or so that we know and try to get it down to 21 or 22. Generally, when you’re coming back from not playing for three years in places, you want people to have a great time, so I tend not to play b-sides for half an hour. We also really enjoy playing our music, so that helps too.
What have been your favourite venues to play over in the UK?
I think we’re coming up to our 11th trip. The first time we were over there, we played this indie club night at KOKO and no-one gave a shit. It was really awful and a lot of people were telling us to get off the stage and stuff. Last time we toured over there, we headlined it and managed to sell it out, and it’s just moments like that for me that are like these huge internal rewards, where you’re like “Hell yeah, I went from this scrubby little teenager that everyone shouted to get off the stage to the guy selling this bad boy out”. I guess KOKO at this point isn’t my favourite venue, but my favourite memory so far.
Are you coming back for any festivals over the summer?
We probably won’t be doing any festivals but we are coming back to the UK for a proper full large venue tour in September.
I was thinking that the venues for the upcoming tour in April are quite intimate.
We thought “Well it’s been three years, let’s see if people still like us” and then they sold out really fast so we decided “Well…they still like us, let’s go back”.
Is this home studio you’ve built strictly for recording Manchester Orchestra, or would you consider expanding upon Favorite Gentlemen?
Yeah, we bought this house and gutted it and soundproofed the whole thing and it sort of serves as headquarters for all that kind of stuff. All the O’Brother guys have a key and everybody is allowed in to do what they want, but it is primarily our headquarters and our place of business.
Final question, what is the story behind ‘Where Have You Been?’
Are you ready for this?
I had a weird dream, when I was 18 and still living at home, that my mom was taking all my friends up into the attic of our house and eating them, and that is essentially what that song is about. The thing was that I woke up, and I love my mother more than anything in the world, so when I woke up, it was like this person who I kind of relied on as my life’s constant, in this dream (that was so vivid), she was the exact opposite. I sort of found myself feeling kind of empty, knowing that the one good person I knew was actually a psychotic cannibal. It was that kind of fear I had when I woke up.