North Carolina duo Mandolin Orange – Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz – have been drawing acclaim from music critics and fans alike since the band’s inception in 2009.
The band has earned high praise on it’s last two records, 2013’s This Side of Jordan and last year’s Such Jubilee, with Marlin and Frantz’s work described as “elegant,” “beautiful,” and “honest.” The songcraft that earned such platitudes is evident once again on Blindfaller, the new release that drops this week.
I recently chatted with Andrew Marlin about the new record, which you can pick up on Friday, politics, and even charades.
BRO – You wrapped this record up in just a week in the studio. Is there a better energy that develops from working at such a fast clip?
AM – I am not sure it creates a better energy, necessarily, but it gives you less time to over analyze. I think you can definitely iron out too many imperfections and lose a lot of character.
BRO – You tackle the contemporary political climate on “Gospel Shoes.” The current election seems great for songwriters but so bad for the citizenry. On an intrapersonal level, is that a difficult dichotomy to balance?
AM – The current political state is not good for anyone, songwriters included. Songwriting provides me with an outlet for shaping internal feelings into something I can share. For me, the balance and the dichotomy is whether to view my songwriting as entertainment for others or something I can truly stand behind. Hopefully, it’s both.
BRO – Is there a particular song on the record that just happened? One song that felt like it was meant to be and you grabbed hold of it right of the gate?
AM – “Wildfire” basically wrote itself. From the rough draft to the record, not a lyric was changed.
BRO – Speaking of, we are featuring “Wildfire” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
AM – That song was born out of growing up in the South and being surrounded by subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, racism. Within that environment, I was very fortunate to have wonderful parents who instilled in me a belief that all people are inherently good. When I wrote “Wildfire,” I was thinking a lot about the current climate in our country and in our home state, where it feels like some people – and not the majority of the people – want to glorify an ugly history and push us into a regressive state of being. It’s frustrating and disheartening to see people be so antagonistic towards their neighbors.
BRO – Some friends and I have a charades game where we have to act out band names. Do you realize how hard your name is to act out?
AM – It’s great for Pictionary, though!
Mandolin Orange will be out on the west coast this weekend to celebrate the release of Blindfaller. Fans can catch the band in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego this weekend before Mandolin Orange heads north to Washington and Oregeon next week.