Jack Froggatt is doing his checks and balances before Mansionair return to the U.S, again. With their first headlining North America tour coming up this year, as well as a spot on the Coachella bill, Mansionair are finding their feet as trans-Pacific transplants. It’s a new life that comes with the territory of being an Aussie artist on the global stage.
“Think we spent seven months total last year over there. I feel perhaps a little more American than I do Australian,” Froggatt tells us.
Just last year, the trio spent six weeks in Twin Peaks (not the David Lynch place). An hour and half east of L.A up the San Bernardino Mountains, and about half an hour further west from Big Bear Lodge is a nice wooden lodge. There, besides Lake Arrowhead, Froggatt, Lachlan Bostock and Alex Nicholls finished their debut album, Shadowboxer.
When they arrived they thought they’d wrapped recording but, realising they had more in them still, the time spent in Twin Peaks resulted in the aptly named tracks ‘Sierra’ and ‘Harlem’. The album had already been a three-year process.
‘Sierra’, it turns out, was a lullaby that Bostock penned for someone close before he played it to the trio one day, their jaws on the floor.
The landscape and scenery Mansionair took in everyday in Twin Peaks, as well as a steady stream of Vimeo, YouTube and movies synthesised into a cinematic record. They recorded the album with a screen nearby at all times, playing an endless loop of visual queue.
“When you’re creating you can’t always look to music for answers. We really found a lifeline in visuals and cinemas.” Going one step further, Froggatt says, “I could probably pick an entire scene for each song on this album just based on how we were writing it.”
And if Shadowboxer were a movie, it would be The Place Beyond The Pines.
It seems a number of Aussie bands we speak to, find solace in the States. Frogatt seems to think that, “In any creative venture you’re always battling distractions and not working and not being productive. I think the great thing about going over to another place, you don’t have anyone else to call too or anything, you can really focus on what you need to do.” Part of that focus was exploring the lighter side of the record.
While initial listens might, at first, sound like a torrent of anxiety, the overall call of arms from the record (Froggatt assures us) is to take a different perspective on things you might be perceiving as the negatives in life. “I think across the board the album is more a call to kind of look away from the darker things in your life, or the problems, or the things you’re struggling with, and face the other way and go ‘oh ok I’ve got that, that’s there, let me go fight the real fight’. Hence why it’s called Shadowboxer”.
It’s a sentiment that might be timely for some readers, and Mansionair as they settle into a frantic touring schedule and globe-trekking life. It’s also reminiscent of the closing scene from The Place Beyond the Pines, a young man reconciling his past and facing his future – riding off into the sun with a smile on his face.
Mansionair’s debut album ‘Shadowboxer’ is out now. Catch them at Karova Lounge, Ballarat on May 29.
Written by Darby-Perrin Larner
Photo by Jess-Gleeson