Following on from last week, the second part of our interview with Andrew McMahon delves deeper into the past, behind the workings of Jack’s Mannequin as well as how he developed his songwriting craft.
We’d like to take the time to thank Andrew for his time as well as the kind folks at Vanguard Records for investing a lot of time and effort to make this interview happen!
Jack’s Mannequin have a great deal of B-sides left on the cutting room floor, were there any more that didn’t surface?
I write tonnes of songs when I’m working on a record and generally, the ones that we end up recording have found a way out somewhere. I think every artist will tell you that they have a secret vault of songs that they’ve never felt comfortable sharing and I certainly have those garage tapes lying around that I occasionally revisit. For the most part, the stuff I’m proud of has made its way out into the world.
Did any of those old ideas find their way onto this record?
For me, this record was more about stepping forward. Considering where Jack’s had sort of ended, there was a nice finish for that concept. Largely, Jack’s Mannequin was a conceptual project, it didn’t always set out to be that way. I thought it would be one record that would tell this very concise story, and that story continued and I think People & Things said a lot of what I was finally trying to say. When it got to closing Jack’s down, I think there’s a reason I ended up taking a couple of years off before I started working on a new record. I think I was ready to take a deep breath and complete that story quietly and out of the public eye and start fresh, and that’s what you have on this record.
And in that time, you did a lot of writing for soundtracks, are there any more ideas in the pipeline?
I think certainly over the intervening years towards the end of Jack’s and then coming into the hiatus that I took between projects, I found that whether or not any of this stuff comes to light, getting into a space with other writers and other producers and getting to explore the craft of songwriting from a little bit less of my perspective was refreshing. It gave me a chance to look at songwriting from a different angle, not just sharing my autobiography or my perspective but trying to tap into other people. It was an important part of preparing for the next chapter of my career with my own music, because it gave me a chance to just connect with what my story was, and having to pass that along, and every step.
Do you have plans to do any more work like that in the future?
Yeah absolutely, there are a couple of artists I’m hoping to hook up with when I get off tour and do some writing with. It’s something I didn’t really start doing until later in my career, but it’s really rewarding to be in the studio with other people and then have these other talented artists to help build out your vision or their vision. I think that was a huge factor in the making of this record, I think I’ve become a lot more open to that.
And then you’ve got the tenth anniversary of Everything In Transit – are there any plans to get Bobby back for a full tour?
That record is special to me in so many ways and while I don’t actually have anything on the books yet, whilst we are promoting this record, I can not imagine letting that anniversary going by without doing some proper celebrating. So I would expect to see something, although we haven’t quite put it on the books just yet.
Do you have any plans in the future to come back over the UK?
Yeah, as of right now it looks like we are scheduling a string of solo piano shows probably in the month of February. It’s not 100% confirmed but I’d say it seems likely.
What about festival season?
You know, if they want me back. I would love to come back. I think at this point, it’s a matter of people like yourselves spreading the word of the record and us continuing to work it in the States. Certainly once we get the word done here, I’m hoping that the UK wraps its arm around us and we can come back a lot more than just festival shows and solo shows.
Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness is available to purchase now through Vanguard Records.
You can listen to a stripped down version of ‘Rainy Girl’ below.