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INTERVIEW: Manic Pixi

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

Drew: Living the dream, thanks! You? Oh wait, you probably can’t answer that on here…

Kat: We are super busy. It’s satisfies my wild energy.

Can you talk to us more about your single “Iron Heart”?

Emmett: I had written the first iteration of that song when I was also playing in Sulene van der Walt’s band in 2014. Thinking it might be something that that band could use, I was honestly trying so hard to copy Blink-182 and do things that they might do. However, I’m a pretty restless songwriter, and hearing things I’ve heard before, done the way they were done before, drives me insane.

Marshall: It was a very exciting song to write because it was one of our first big collaborations for this record. Everyone helped with virtually every aspect of the song, and I think we’re at our best when we collaborate.

Emmett: The real transformation came when Marshall took the main chord progression and launched in into space with the riff you hear on the song now. That was the turning point, no doubt about it.

Drew: In seriousness, though, we made this entire album around the idea of growing a skin that prepares you for the new rigors of growing up. Iron Heart the song, while mostly applicable to relationships, is maybe the most important part of that essence-armor.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Emmett: I was feeling the pop-punk gods suburban caress on my midi keyboard as I sat in my bedroom musing over the miracle of the I-VI-II-V chord progression, and thought, “How long can I last before I breakdown and turn this inside out?”

Kat: I heard Emmetts idea’s and it conjured images in my own life. The lyrics developed from there.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Drew: We have a few ideas. One that the nerd in me is particularly excited about, but I don’t want to say too much.

Why naming the album after this track in particular?

Kat: The record is about the journey you go through to develop thicker skin. It’s about building the “Iron Heart”.

How was the recording and writing process?

Marshall: As I mentioned, it was one of our first collaborations, which made writing a blast. Recording was great, and we got to do it twice since we demoed the whole record before going into the studio for the real thing.

Emmett: The writing process was one best I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone was on full throttle involvement with this album. There was quite a bit of one person bringing in something being nearly completed, and then throwing into the chop shop for full party evaluation.

Drew: It was very respectful and full of many different inputs. We spent a week in the woods recording demos for the whole album once we had what songs we wanted.

Kat: I felt like everyone was really heard.

What was it like to work with Alberto de Icaza and how did that relationship develop? How much did he get to influence the album?

Kat: That relationship developed through Emmett essentially “Cold calling” Alberto. We really didn’t think he’d be interested. He was an incredible help because he really knew that Four Year Strong meets Paramore sound we wanted. He gave us a lot of feedback to help us polish up our sound.

How would this album showcase a departure and matured side of the band?

Drew: I was not a part of recording the first album, but I can definitely say that the arrangements on this album were very heavily attended to. We put a lot of work into making a sound that combined the things we wanted to capture. There were a lot of influences we wanted to use that we weren’t always sure would work together, but I think we found a respectable place for each of them.

Emmett: It was a complete 180 from Sugar Bomb! with all hands on deck and no idea being left unexplored or undeveloped. Iron Heart has a theme running through it and was very much intentionally structured to flow from song to song as it is now; the listener is guided through an unified experience rather than a collection of songs. Musically we pushed the boundaries pretty far for the kind of genre(s) we’re in, but we also struck this magical balance between feeding our musicianship and not losing accessibility

Marshall: In every way from the lyrics to the arrangements, this album is more mature than the first. I feel strongly that a huge part of that is because it was such a collaborative effort, and the inherent nature of mature co-writing leads to more mature music. Everyone left their ego at the door.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Kat: The lyrics for this album were the most raw and exposed expression yet. I really felt like I was publishing a diary. There are songs about the dark side of being a musician. There are songs about the gut-wrenching low’s of heartbreak. I definitely was exercising some demons on this one.

Drew: There are a lot of real life happenings behind the songs, as I think most albums have. I do think the stories chosen, or rather the decisions made in and about those tales, exemplify what we want the album to say.

Any plans to hit the road?

Drew: Yep! A few tours in the works already! Keep an eye on that FB page, planet Earth!

Emmett:  Absolutely. We want to turn the US into our Pixi playground. Before the year is out we will be going as far west as Ohio, as far north as Canada, and as far south as Florida. Brooklyn and Philly will also never stop being our home bases, so watch out for us popping in and out of there too out of nowhere.

Marshall: Endlessly. We’ve been touring and we are about to do more of that. We’ll be playing in Canada for the first time this month!

What else is happening next in Manic Pixi’s world?

Drew: The best Halloween costume idea ever. Seriously. Just wait. Just. Wait

Kat: What he said!!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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