Mysterious and melancholic guitars set against a melodically beautiful background. Bass lines driving tastefully in an out of pulsing electronic rhythms. Resting on top are poignant lyrics delivered with emotional sensibility. It is the haunting falsetto vocals of Haydn Mansell that entrance you one step further on Our Man In Berlin’s new EP Spirit Down.
I have listened to this EP many, many times. It is highly addictive and compelling to the senses on many levels. While it evokes glimpses of glowing light mostly amidst a dark back drop, Spirit Down becomes the cosy aural doona you seek comfort from. Haydn kindly answered a handful of Q’s about the new EP that’s set to be released 19th June through Firestarter. He probably wouldn’t tell you all that the band has accomplished recently as he’s quite a humble lad.
But rest assure, I’m happy to share that Our Man In Berlin has a shiny future with support in recent months from radio coming in from triple j, Unearthed, 4ZZZ, FBI, RRR, RTR and many other community stations, while abroad spins have been mounting in the UK, USA, Canada, Greece and Germany. A considerable online following has amassed through substantial Soundcloud plays in excess of 120,000 and via blog love. Well deserved adoration, for Our Man In Berlin really are on to something exceptional.
Since your debut EP, how do you feel you have grown as a band?
Hmm I’m not sure about growth, it’s not really up to me to say whether we’ve grown or evolved. I guess that’s up to each individual listener to decide. Music is such a personal thing and no one person can truly evaluate it.
I guess the two singles we’ve released so far from this EP have both achieved things that we had yet to.. Moliere with more radio attention than what had come before, and Spirit Down with more love pouring in through Soundcloud and blogs etc.
We’ve definitely gotten better at home recording and production. The closing track Muster was a complete DIY job.
Tell us about the theme of this new album and why the name Spirit Down?
I write in streams of consciousness. Nothing forced gets recorded. So I couldn’t really explain a theme. I often realise what my songs are about months after finishing them. I named the EP after the song spirit down because that one had some lyrics that really resonated for me.
When making a new song, what comes first? Lyrics, a riff, a beat?
A riff or a rhythm is usually what comes first. Some times a beat. I get inspired by something one of the guys is playing in the jam room and usually blurt out some melodies. It’s a pretty hard process to explain because it really is very organic. One thing I’ve learnt is that it can’t be forced. You’ve just got what for it to happen. Be in the room, rehearse and be in the moment when the vibes are there.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done when you were on tour?
Heaps of nice things! It’s hard to go past someone singing all the lyrics and coming up after the set to show you that they’ve got all your songs on iTunes. On our last tour a nice chap from Casual Band Blogger had come down to review our gig.
As is usually the case we let reviewers into our gigs for free. After the show he came up to me and handed me some cash. He said he really loved it and he wanted to pay the entry fee.
I thought that was really cool of him.
What elements in Our Man In Berlin help you all to stay focused on the music and stay together?
I think we all just love music. I can’t imagine happiness without music. So it’s not really decision for me. I can’t speak for the other lads though I’d like to think they feel the same way.
July 8: Brisbane, The New Globe Theatre
Special Guests: Yucca, Allthingslost, Golden Vessel
July 9: Byron Bay, The Beach Hotel
Special Guest: Grand Pavillion
July 10: Sydney, Spectrum
Special Guests: Froyo, Ginger & Drum, Aela Kae
July 12: Melbourne, The Workers Club
Special Guests: Blackchords & DXHeaven
July 24: Perth, Amplifier
Special Guests: Flower Drums, Beach Aunty, Teij.