A lot has changed since Fences released the last album Lesser Oceans.
The musical evolution of the band has always been an interesting one, with the mind-spawn of Christopher Mansfield offering a clutch of sensitively charged indie-rock songs. Currently touring solo off the back of his new single A Mission, cut to this month and Fences are finally ready to lift the lid on the forthcoming album Failure Sculptures. We caught up with the Seattle-based artist to find out what’s been happening since the last album and to talk about the new one.
Your latest single A Mission is beautifully put together and deeply emotional. What was the sentiment behind that song?
The hopelessness of alcoholism.
You tend to have a deep involvement with the ideas behind your music videos. How does the latest link to the music?
A bit indirectly. It’s more of a surrealist collage of a specific time in my life.
You are about to release your third studio album Failure Sculptures. You are very open about the fact it takes you time to release new music. Is that more of a productive and creative position for you to take?
Living an artistic life takes a lot of field reporting. In my opinion, it makes the work more authentic. I do, however, acknowledge this is mildly problematic in a world that has a rapidly declining attention span.
Can you talk about the journey between this and your last studio album?
I had a child, lived in a few different cities, met new people, lost some people. This sort of relates to the last question. Go out and live life in order to have something to write about.
Is there a clear distinction between your previous records and your latest?
Failure Sculptures has very little pop radio capability. This was intentional.
Was there a benchmark for which songs made it onto the final record?
I just wanted the album to have a semi hopeless tonality. I chose the songs that hurt my heart the most.
How do you approach writing? Is it a cleansing experience for you?
I wanted it to be slow in tempo. I just allow them to come to me. I find it cleansing in the sense that I at least felt pain for a reason. Not as if I’m some martyr, it just feels like an animal leaving its tracks.
With any record, how early do you notice a narrative being set?
As early as the title of the album.
You have worked with Tegan and Sara, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis on tracks in the past. Can we expect any collaborations on your upcoming album?
Cedric from At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta makes an appearance. Was the thrill of my life.
Previously you have mentioned that you’re not a fan of performing live, has that changed?
Sadly it has not. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate people coming to watch me perform, that is always so flattering and beautiful. It’s more so that I just have stage fright. I’m a shy person.
Finally, what can we expect from a Fences gig? And will you be touring with the new album?
Solo. For now.