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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Robert McDowell from Manchester Orchestra

April 12, 2011 by  

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Robert McDowell from Manchester Orchestra

RHV had a chat to Manchester Orchestra’s Robert McDowell ahead of their new album ‘Simple Math’ being released on May 10th.

Your new album ‘Simple Math’ will be released in the UK soon, so what can fans expect of the release?
It feels like the next step. It somehow has a common thread of Manchester Orchestra but sounds different than the last 2 records. I think if the fans don’t get it first listen, they will by the third or fourth.

The song ‘Simple Math’ was released online recently; do you think that it is representative of the album as a whole?
The song is a big part of the album, but just a part. From track one to ten the song fits, but there are moments on the record that sound nothing like that song. But plenty that do, I just like listening to an album start to finish.

The upcoming dates in London and Manchester are in intimate venues for a band with such a dedicated fanbase; but do you prefer them to larger shows?
It’s love/hate. Obviously, its exciting to graduate into a bigger room but the fans deserve an intimate show. Our career has been built on touring and having to sell the show. A lot of the fans that got tickets for these shows have seen us in small rooms deserve the most intimate set they can have.

Many bands have begun playing albums in their entirety recently. Is it something that you’d consider with any of your records?
We don’t use a setlist, so probably not. In the future we will if it’s a special show. But for now, we just try and guess what songs people want to hear.

Did you have any key influences when writing ‘Simple Math?’
We all went back to the shit we always knew was good. For example, Neil Young has so much material that you can continually dive into him and find songs you’ve never heard. His attitude also had a heavy impact on the record. Read up on that, I could end up writing pages of facts on him but i have to go eat lunch soon.

Is there a particular show that you’ve played in the UK that stands out as your favourite?
Loads. Almost every show has something crazy because of the cultural difference. As cheesy as it is, Manchester UK has always been insane. We knew they would either murder us or love us. Thank god they’re nice. The room we usually play is hot as hell, which always make for a good time. But we did one time play IN a boat. Not ON. IN. It was weird.

How did you find the Leeds and Reading festivals in 2009? And would you return to play them in future?
I love those festivals. The vibe is completely different from U.S. ones. At UK festivals fans sing guitar lines which is great, I had just never heard it. For that I will always come back and want to play. And yes we will in the future.

What are your favourite songs to play live?
My answer will always be the same. New songs. But if you take away that I would say ‘Pride’ or the heaviest song on the newest album.

Would you ever consider incorporating Bad Books tracks into a Manchester Orchestra set-list?
If Kevin Devine is there. His attitude is so important to that process and really my entire life. We might one day, but it would be different.

It’s a show that many people want to see, but is there any chance of a Brand New/Manchester Orchestra UK tour?
I’m not sure what that means? I don’t know who this Brand New is. Could you be asking about a brand new Manchester Orchestra UK tour? If that’s the question, yeah. I thought that’s what this interview was for! But I guess anything is possible…




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