Q&A With Mandolin Orange

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April 28, 2019
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May 9, 2019


OFF THE TRACK

Mandolin Orange Talks Loss, Inspiration, Railbird, & More

APRIL 2019
 

Since releasing their sixth album, Tides Of A Teardrop, in February, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz have been on the road performing to sold-out audiences across the country. Mandolin Orange's newest record lends a warm assurance to anyone who has experienced loss in their life through melodies strung with empathy. The North Carolina folk-pop duo describes the tone of their shows as "an exchange between what's happening on-stage and what's happening in the crowd."

Before wrapping up the N. American leg of their tour, we caught up with Mandolin Orange to talk about loss, inspiration, and who they're most excited to see at Railbird.


LISTEN TO ALBUM SEE TICKETS
TELL US ABOUT TIDES OF A TIDEDROP

Andrew: The album came about with the loss of my mom. I just started writing and it took me a long time to get to that point. This record definitely doesn't shy away from the heavier topics, but I think the way the band came in and how we arranged it, there's a nice and airy kind of light to this album without it being to soundly heavy the whole time.

Emily: We like to record as live as we can, so for this album, we got together with the band beforehand and worked things out a little bit more than we have in the past. We tend to let it happen in the studio, but we tried to get a little more organized this time and it felt like a nice progression – we still let it happen naturally but with a little more forethought.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SHARE SUCH A PERSONAL ALBUM?

Andrew: The hardest part is to get on a stage and play these songs every night, not because we don't want to play them, but because you really have to shut out everything that you've been doing throughout the day and go there. It's a heavy place to go every night.

Emily: And they're not really songs where you can just get up and play without thinking about the emotions. But the nice thing about it, is that we're able to channel a lot more of the energy into connecting with the crowd and even though the songs are really sad, they're very relatable with a lot of people because everyone experiences loss at some point.

Andrew: It feels more like an exchange between what's happening on stage and what's happening in the crowd. It's a real connection.

CAN YOU NAME A MOMENT WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU MADE IT?

Andrew: Last night was kind of a milestone. We got to play the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. You know, we've been doing this for about 10 years and traveling around. This is what we do with our lives and it wasn't until last night that my dad was like, "Alright, you made it." So, now I can breathe easy when I go home.

Emily: I think this whole tour too. Certain nights stick out as really fun sets or really fun crowds, but just the size of the crowds that we've gotten to play for every night has been something that we didn't ever plan on or imagine we would be doing, so that's the biggest reward.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Emily: It seems like in the last year or so, we've taken a strong turn into listening to mostly instrumental music, which is interesting because our music is so lyrically heavy, but maybe for that reason it's nice to step away when we're just listening.

Andrew: There's this new guy, Sam Reider. He's an accordion and piano player and has a new album, Too Hot To Sleep, that is an amazing record, so that's been one of my go-to's recently. Then I've been revisiting a lot of old David Grisman.

WHO ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE AT RAILBIRD?
Andrew: Mavis Staples. She is such a strong performer and is able to captivate every person in the audience without even trying. It comes so naturally to her.

Emily: I'm also really excited to see Lucinda Williams after listening to her tunes for so long.