Mini mansions quality time

QUALITY TIME! with Mini Mansions


Something about LA’s Mini Mansions just exudes cool. A sharp suit, a bit of swagger, some renegade organ and a few very swanky friends makes a hell of a combo.

With their new album The Great Pretenders  making waves all across the world, Mini Mansions have impressed with their manic, psychedelic style and film clips as slick as Alex Turner’s duck’s arse hairdo.

Mini Mansions are in the country next month to tour with everybody’s favourite westies Tame Impala and have recently announced some one on one time with Melbourne and Sydney punters at their own headline shows. We had a little bit of one on one time with Mini Mansions‘ own Tyler Parkford to find out all about their creative process, psychological horror films and their future careers in drag.

Apologies must go out to Angelyne from the boys’ Mirror Mountain film clip, whom I mistook for a drag queen. Turns out she’s just a fabulous lady. Shit.

Hi Guys, Hope you are well and pumped for your visit to Australia in just under a month! First of all, tell us a bit about how you guys met and began making music together.

We were all friendo’s to begin with so it was an easy club to start. Zach and Michael grew up together in LA but I met them much much later on. Zach was my college roommate actually. Iguess it got to this point where we knew———­after years and years of writing and recording songs just to burn them onto CD’s to give to girls we liked——that we needed to put all these lo-fi bedroom recordings we’d accumulated into band. So we did.

This is your first visit to Australia as a band­-What are you looking forward to most about coming Down Under?

I have a pretty warped westernized perception of Australia, mostly because of films like Bad Boy Bubby, Walkabout, Wake in Fright, Snowtown… I’m mostly excited to be there and not feel like i’m in a psychological horror film. I’m also really excited to see Sydney, I’ve heard it’s amazing.

The album’s sound is very much a nostalgic one for mine, with a bit of T­-Rex and Elliott Smith influence in there really standing out. How would you personally describe the Mini Mansions sound?


How as a three piece do you settle on your sound as a band? What is the dynamic between the three of you in the studio?

I know this has been said millions and millions of times but it’s true, it’s the limitations of being a three piece that push a lot of the material to places that we might’ve never thought of normally if we had two or three other dudes. Usually every second of a song is completely fleshed out live before we record it, so the studio really becomes the point at which we’re allowed to experiment with different food coloring and deconstruct something that was once so familiar to us.

A lot of people got excited hearing your collaborations on the record with Brian Wilson and Alex Turner­ Who would you love to collaborate with artistically in the future?

Gary Numan.

It’s a big year on the road for you guys this year, what do you like to do in between shows whilst on the road?

Just your basic slumming routine. People watching, eavesdropping at 24 hour diners, trying to get free guest passes at the local gym, comparing lemon tarts at cafes, drinking booze with strangers. Aside from that I’ve been reading a lot for the first time in years. Last time it was Still Life With Woodpecker (a philosophical fairytale by Tom Robbins) Where I’m Calling From (a collection of beautiful short stories by Raymond Carver) and this amazing graphic novel series called Prophet (a barbarian space opera by Brandon Graham and other artists).

With production playing a large part in your distinctive sound on record, what can Aussie audiences expect from your live show in a months’ time?

Our live set’s very different from the record, but only to an extent. Especially because we’re a three ­piece, instead of shamelessly back­tracking sounds and triggering off­stage samples, we just re-­interpret a lot of those songs live so that they have the same arch but feel slightly different, or more confrontational and raw.

Your new video for Mirror Mountain stars the fabulous Angelyne. What would be your own Drag Queen names? Mine is Estella Especiale.

Ha, she’s not a drag queen just for the record, but I like your name. I guess mine would be Ruby Blue.

Finally, tell us something about the three of you that nobody knows..

Michael’s a serious Colgate supporter, Zach’s more of a Tom’s kinda guy and I’ll be in the Crest crew till the day I die.


Interview by Alistair Rathbone


Alistair is the founder of Bear Family. Alistair resides in Melbourne and can be found wandering the streets searching for bargains and peppermint tea. Come and say Hi, he's nice.

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