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The Hot Sweat
Hana Pestle
Hana Pestle
By Cristina Carrazza-- Regional Head, Midwest

On April 22nd, I had the chance to interview Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin before his show at Irving Plaza in NYC. We talked about everything from his current record and tour to upcoming plans and the long-anticipated Dear Jack documentary. Andrew has been working hard all year getting out there and making sure people hear his music, which is extremely positive in the world that we live in today. Currently you can see him on his Farther From Earth tour that is definitely worth going. (I saw it this week and not only is Jack’s Mannequin’s performance awesome, the light show that goes along with it is amazing.) And then in the summer, Jack’s will be hitting arenas around the nation with The Fray. Tour dates are on jacksmannequin.com and myspace.com/jacksmannequin.

Amanda: The Glass Passenger is clearly different from your previous record. How did the events in your life influence and change what you wrote about?
Andrew: I think in the same sense that the events of everyday life change things. When I was in high school and I was 17 I was writing about making up and breaking up, you know what I mean? Like with Everything in Transit the central focus was about my return home to California and being separated from my life now. I think in that same sense having dealt with getting sick or at least the recovery of that was the focus of this record. With anything you experience in day-to-day life in any art form is what informs your perspective for how you approach the art form.

Do you think this album is more personal than any other album you’ve written?
I wouldn’t say that it was anymore personal. I think it’s personal from a different perspective. I think it gives insight into a portion of my personality that maybe hasn’t been reflected upon other records. In that same sense, I would say that Everything In Transit was an equally personal record.

When you play songs like Caves at your shows, do you notice the audience changes in the way they receive the music or interact?
It is sort of a roller coaster of a song and it ends up playing out that way live too. Sort of wherever you put it in the set, well depending on the quality of the audience too, it tends to draw people in, I think the first portion of that songs has that very “on edge” intensity to it. And with a good audience you can bring them right there and then once you get to that major section in between the two sections, the more up-tempo portion of the song, you can definitely feel the tension release and people kind of having that catharsis. So it is a fun song to play live because you feel that people kind of follow you through different emotional mediums of that song.

What was the response like for The Glass Passenger?
I’m probably like the least objective person when it comes to that. I think seemingly good. When you make records for a living you tend to find that you’re always going to be up against the perception of something that people hold onto for however long about the last record. I think that’s why I tend to make records that sound different from one another just because rather than trying to compete against myself, against some previous sound, and trying to create songs in the same form that I’ve created prior you try to make something that stands up on its own. So I think I got a good reaction on it at concerts but at the same time I don’t think I would have a kid who would run up to me and say I hate this record. [Laughs]. So you would probably have to ask someone other than me.

And how has the media been surrounding you since The Glass Passenger. Is it overwhelming? I know you were interviewed by CNN for Young People who rock recently. Is that still crazy to you?
Its funny, I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve definitely been in a band in some for or another or you could say a commercial artist for a while because I’ve been signed to a record deal for 7 or 8 years now and there’s always the element of promotion. With Jack’s, in general, I do much of the promotion on my own so there are moments when its overwhelming, But its kind of a part of what I do and it’s the job aspect of this thing. Doing CNN and stuff like that I think it can be a little more intense. Going into a CNN studio is not something that I ever thought I would be doing but it’s flattering. It’s cool that people care, it’s cool that people are responding to the album like that. This record is the most that I’ve seen in my career. So you just sort of take it day by day.

You seem to have been really busy since The Glass Passenger came out with constant touring since September. Why is everything moving so fast for you?
I think you respond to demand and like anything this is part of my livelihood and my ambition to have these songs heard and we do everything within our power. Especially with a record like The Glass Passenger, which is a record that took a year and a half creating so you do everything you can to give it its best shot at having people go out there and be exposed to it. A huge part of that is being on the road, playing the songs for people, finding new audiences, and supporting every group so you get exposure to their audiences. Obviously I’m no stranger to the road, even on a slow year I do at least 100 shows. To some extent I’m always on the road but I think the profile is obviously raised, with like you said the media attention and high profile things we’ve been doing.

So you write in your blog a lot on your website.
Yeah I try to do something every few weeks at least and try to make it count. Sometimes its informative but more generally it’s little essays or poems or whatever I can offer that gives a little more insight into what’s going on from an artistic standpoint.
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