Track by track [Exclusive] : Mansionair is developing their latest album ‘Happiness, Guaranteed’

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GRAMMY nominated trio Manoirair have finally unveiled their expansive and complex feature film Happiness, Guaranteed. Going through Glassnote Recordings.

Produced by Jon Gilmore (The 1975), the project is the result of a creative process with no expectations at the start, writing to write and naturally letting the music guide them forward. Thus arrives a complex offering, both sonorous through their uniquely evolved indie-electronic sound, and lyrical as they examine everything from mindless consumerism to the painful end of relationships. In the coming months, Mansionair will build on the buzz of Happiness, Guaranteed. as they embark on a North American summer tour punctuated by performances in New York City on May 31 and Phoenix on June 25.

In an EARMILK exclusive, the Mansionair trio give a personal interpretation of each of the 9 A-Side tracks from their latest album.

“Shallow Water”

We wrote Shallow Water at a time when our friendships within the band were not looking good. We argued a lot about really insignificant things and this song was the result of working through them. It was very vulnerable to be so explicitly honest about our relationship as friends, but in doing so, we came out the other side stronger and closer than ever as a group. But hey, if Fleetwood Mac can do it, why can’t we?

“After”

This song came out of a writing trip we took together at a secluded BnB tune we rented on the Sydney coast. We just sat in a room and jammed for ages and this was the first song that we really felt like we had legs. We were experimenting with ways to get out of our comfort zone with writing and decided to write something in 5/4. The groove and bass line came on pretty quickly and we found it worked really well with a big expansive chorus of “I want more!” floating around in Lach’s head. When we finished the song, we knew we had one of the first tracks from Happiness guaranteed, and it was a great statement to start the album. Lyrically we dove headfirst into some of the frustrations we feel with modern life and sonically the song was much more outspoken and energetic which carried over into the rest of the songwriting process. ‘writing.

“Happy Now”

We had been making the record for almost a year when we wrote this song. We had just rented a new studio and were settling into the space, coming to finish the songs we had already worked on. One morning, after trying to work on an existing idea… Lach and I had hit a creative wall. We wanted to write something new. I had just returned from a trip where I had a discussion with a good friend of mine. I was talking about my happiness, and I remember exclaiming, “if I can’t be happy now with what I have, I don’t think I’ll ever be happy…” I had written that thought in my iPhone notes, ready to be placed in a song whenever the moment felt like it. Now back in the studio Lach started tinkering, unbeknownst to him I had this phone note open. And I hummed a tune in my head, trying not to distract him from what he was looking for. As he started developing this musical idea, I started fleshing out more and more lyrics. Before too long, we took a moment to talk about what we were both playing with. Almost immediately, the ideas collided, they fit together perfectly. & the idea formed. It doesn’t happen often in the studio, but when it does, I feel very lucky to be a songwriter.

“The Trouble With Us”

This song had a similar trajectory with More. He came out of the same writing journey and we were in a similar mindset trying to experiment with unconventional ideas. The concept started with us trying to write a song that changed tempo/time signature, which we had never done before. Going from 3/4 to 4/4 is probably the easiest transition and we found the music fell into place very easily. Once back home, we tweaked the lyrics and once again launched a big, expansive chorus. The song takes a slightly different look at relationships and how we lean on our partners. For us, it was both a good and a bad thing and this complex contrast really interested us.

“Reflect Me”
Mirror Me might be one of the first songs Mansionair ever wrote. We’ve been playing it live since around 2014. It didn’t make the debut album because it sounded too alien to the rest of our debut album. Shadow boxer. However, once we realize ‘Happiness, Guaranteed.’ lived more in a “live-band” space, we knew it could sit perfectly among the new songs. It was a good reminder that no idea ever died on the cutting room floor, sometimes just the context isn’t good.

“Adeline”

This idea was the VERY first idea I wrote for this record. It was summer 2019, just before shadowboxer was released. I was playing around sending an arpeggio to a soft piano plug-in, took out some lyrics, then some chords and logged out and forgot about it. A year later, I found this idea on my hard drive. I sent it to the boys and we tweaked it together, it was the perfect interlude. This song is about a metaphorical car accident, which spirals out of control in my relationships. Sometimes we do so much to protect ourselves that we forget to think about others around us. This song was a reminder to stay selfless.

“Rapture”

Rapture was also born out of that first cabin writing trip. The relaxed vibe of the verse shows the kind of energy we had back then and I remember we stuck on that idea for about 30 minutes. We loved the warm feel of the drums and bass and that initial jam is also where most of the melody and lyrics originated, which is pretty rare for us. The lyrics that formed from that jam all seemed to tell the story of someone being absorbed in someone or something. We pieced together the best of the lyrics and melody and it turned out to address the struggles of getting completely lost in something/someone and being almost addicted to that feeling. Much of the fire imagery refers to our desires. When we finished production, we wanted the choruses to really explode to match that concept.

“A little lost”

We took a writing trip to Berry, NSW. work on new ideas. It was so simple, while we loved performing, I was void of creativity, lost my way making music, exhausted from the pandemic and struggling to hold on to hope. We packed up after a few days of work and felt like we hadn’t landed anything for check-in. BUT we had, a few weeks later, Alex send in a recording of that jam, and I was instantly in love with it. I had to do the song justice, and I wrote down exactly how I felt that week, I had a conversation with my partner who said something like don’t stress if you’re a little lost…you don’t don’t have to know everything right now. And that’s how the song was born. A reminder that sometimes life takes the road less travelled, and sometimes the long way.

“Domino face down”

This song went through about 10 different versions before arriving at its current form. We were working on it during the peak lockdown period and the overwhelming desire to play live music was deciding many production choices. We wanted something big / brash and angry that was a response to how we were feeling at the time. The song is about accepting frustration and failure, accepting exactly where you are in life and working with that reality.

“Shallow Water”
We wrote Shallow Water at a time when our friendships within the band were not looking good. We argued a lot about really insignificant things and this song was the result of working through them. It was very vulnerable to be so explicitly honest about our relationship as friends, but in doing so, we came out the other side stronger and closer than ever as a group. But hey, if Fleetwood Mac can do it, why can’t we?


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