Manchester Orchestra sold out yet another show in Cincinnati! They are touring to support the release of their 4th album, Cope. This album is straight up rock and roll. The drums are stronger and Andy Hull’s yells are louder. When you are listening to the album, it is impossible to concentrate on anything else as the lyrics are more laced with metaphors than ever before.
The band was under construction for the making of this album. Having to rebuild after 2 of the original members left the band (in 2010, drummer Jeremiah Edmond, and in 2013 bassist, Jonathan Corley). So, out of a house that they had all shared as students, they built a recording studio together.
Prior to the sold out show Saturday at Bogart’s, we sat down with keyboardist/percussionist Chris Freeman, who also develops artwork for the band. We chatted about his love of tSGHR, touring and power tools.
CincyMusic.com: We (CincyMusic.com) last saw you at the sold out show at The Southgate House Revival in Newport, KY last November. I can honestly say that was one of my favorite shows of the year. Any memorable experiences from that show?
Chris Freeman: Southgate House has held a place in my heart since high school. I grew up going there when I lived in Ohio, seeing groups like Enon and Sufjan Stevens. Southgate and the whole Newport/Cincinnati area was definitely my place to go when I wanted to escape the harsh reality that was the small town of Xenia where I lived. Being able to come back and play in that city and have my family be able to come out and see what I do in rooms that had such a big effect on my musical growth is such a great feeling. All that to say, that show was a glorious blur.
CM: Give us a day in the life of touring with Manchester Orchestra…
CF: I'm sure this will shock you, but most of touring life is a whole lot of sitting around. We try and fill all of that empty space with movies, a plethora of tv shows, and whiskey (once the sun goes down). Then we play a show, hang out for a bit, laugh at all of our insane jokes and eventually head to bed. We sing to each other a lot. Y'know, like lullabies and shit
CM: So, percussion, keyboard, background vocal, art…which is your favorite or does it all just evolve into each other?
CF: It's all started to blend together these days. As far as all of the musical aspects of my life, I'm happy doing anything. This band thrives on being able to contribute on all fronts, so being able to do that in any way is always fun. Art is more therapeutic for me, I've always doodled, the only difference now is that those doodles become t-shirts and album covers
CM: How does splitting time for Bad Books and Manchester Orchestra take place?
CF: We just try and do what we can when we can. I don't think we ever saw Bad Books becoming the monster that it is; It was more of a fun project that has now taken on a mind and body of its own. We love being in the studio and on the road with Kevin (Devine), so we always jump at the chance to do that when scheduling allows.
CM: Rumor has it your guys built your own recording studio for the recording of Cope. Did that process bring you closer as a band?
CF: Absolutely. We were able to transform a house that we'd all lived in into a fully functioning studio. That's the dream right? It's like having a job in a club house. Building it ourselves only made it feel that much more like it was ours. I also got to use power tools for the first time since middle school shop class so that was plus.
CM: How did the writing / recording process of Cope differ from albums in the past?
CF: We wrote a ton of songs for this record that were all over the map. We were so comfortable in the studio that we were really able to run free creatively so the environment was very contained and self-motivating. Not having a label for this record we really had to push ourselves to get things done. We're used to having someone looking over our shoulders asking for new material which can be a two edged sword.
CM; Any advice for local musicians in Cincinnati?
CF: “Don't stop believin' " -Metallica