Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin sits down with The Paisano to discuss his new album and latest tour.
The Paisano: Andrew, your new album is titled “People and Things”. Can you tell me about that title?
Andrew McMahon: Every record I have made is kind of a snap shot of where I am in that moment. This is the moment myself and my friends are getting married, stepping out of this one phase into another. It kind ended up being this transition into this phase of fearful responsibility. It’s about love. It’s about relationships. It’s about broader relationships, the interaction of a lot of people.
Paisano: How do you feel you have grown, as an artist from your first album, “Everything is in Transit” to where you are now?
McMahon: This was more of a coming back to my roots. I wanted to record in a different way than I have recorded in the last four or five years.
Paisano: How does this process affect the sound of the record?
McMahon: Its sounds like we play. I think it’s a lot closer to our stage show then any record.
It’s a touchstone to a lot of my early influences. The Heartbreakers, U2, Dylan and Billy Joel. These kinds of singer-songwriters that I have grown up listening to who had an American rock sound. I think we applied that in a modern way on this record.
Paisano: It is rumored that Matt Thiessen (from Relient K) helped with vocals on a few tracks of the new album, is that true?
McMahon: Yeah. We wrote three songs on this record. He’s a good buddy of mine; we have known each other through the years.
Paisano: What did he bring to the record?
McMahon: Matt was at a very different place in his life, when he and I wrote these songs which was such an asset to the project. Here I was over here in this phase of my life, my journey, and here he was in a completely different phase.
He became this extra source to pull from. He was a vision of a different piece of my life. Maybe I was a vision of a future piece.
So when we got conversational about a deeper subject, we had different angles to approach it from. There is a depth in those songs that you feel from that. Which is cool.
Paisano: I’m sure you are used to writing a lot of your music on your own. How was it working together with someone else?
McMahon: In most of my writing I have never written with other people, until around The Glass Passenger. I started getting calls from friends, and I was writing songs for their records, and I loved it. I enjoyed it. So it finally broke a barrier down, and opened me up to a new part of my process that was a lot of fun.
Paisano: What are your influences?
McMahon: Some of my biggest influences aren’t even musical. I was on a Hemingway kick for the last year, and read just about anything I could.
I get so much of my influence from what I see, just being out and around. So much of my influence is visual. Just walking the street and taking photographs. That’s how I process a lot of my creative juice is through visuals. Architecture is a big source of influence for me. I collect coffee table books like crazy; it’s almost absurd how many coffee table books I have.
Paisano: Do you like touring better then being in a studio?
I can’t have one without the other. I have to have both.
McMahon: There is a real marriage between the two. You tour to get people to listen to what you have worked on in the studio. And you work in the studio so you have something to justify you touring.
Paisano: How does a smaller venue differ from a larger setting such as Warped Tour or Coachella?
McMahon: Every venue is different. There is something really compelling and different about being in a bar where you feel a little less exposed so you take a few more chances.
There is also something to be said about standing in front of a sea of people and the vibe you can get of that, and if you can harness that energy it can be more powerful than anything.
“People and Things” will appear on shelves in mid-September. The band will be touring again in August.