Take the Stage – Philadelphia Weekly
Alternative rock powerhouse Manchester Orchestra to perform The Fillmore in Philadelphia on October 15 as part of a massive tour in support of their critically acclaimed album “The millions of masks of God. “Fall Tour Marks Live Debut of Record and Their Epic Single”BedheadWhich reached the Top 3 on AAA radio and the Top 20 on Alternative radio.
“The Million Masks of God” presents an even grander scale of the epic and refocused approach to record making that the band has forged in recent years. The group – lead songwriting duo Andy Hull and Robert McDowell, alongside Tim Very (drums) and Andy Prince (bass) – pushed themselves to create music that would exceed the scope and limits of every previous album, all by sorting out the consequences of a devastating loss.
While directing the 2017 instant classic “A Black Mile To The Surface” (featuring the group’s No. 1 AAA and Top 15 alternative radio hit “The Gold”), Hull and McDowell had a revelation on how they wanted to approach the music of their group. from that moment on, a path strongly inspired by the challenges and rewards on several levels that they encountered while working on their first film score (Swiss Army Man in 2016). The new method was to create tightly woven “movie albums” to be listened to in sequence and in one sitting, the songs working together to tell a bold and long story.
“Masks” explores the vague story of a man’s encounter with the Angel of Death as it shows various scenes from his life in an instant-style assemblage. Some moments he witnesses are good, some bad, some difficult, some commendable – in other words, they portray a completely normal life. Initially based on a fictional character, “Masks” began to process emotions in real time as McDowell’s father entered the most difficult part of his battle with cancer, ultimately losing the battle in 2019.
“It started out very abstractly, but as Robert’s father’s battle with cancer got harder and harder in recent years, I started to draw parallels in my mind with what I was actually writing about. », Explains Hull. “It has become a test of my own faith. While the story of Robert’s father certainly influenced this album, it’s also about me understanding the reality of adulthood and that there is an expiration date to all of this – and how you are doing. live your life knowing this.
“My dad was a musician and our band’s biggest fan, and I can’t think of a more flattering way to honor him than to let him exist in an art form he loved so much,” McDowell says. . “It wasn’t shocking to hear what Andy had written; the way he writes, the real life around him will always creep in. For me, the story of the album is not only about the death of the character but about life. It is unfortunate but inevitable: in life, death happens, and it has been going on forever. We are looking for how to exist with sorrow, but sorrow has not killed humanity. We have to zoom out and see it as part of life. “
Tickets for the next Manchester Orchestra show in Philly are available at thefillmorephilly.com.
PW recently caught up with McDowell to talk about the band and their new music.
The current formation of the Manchester Orchestra has been together for about eight years and four albums. How has the band changed over the years in terms of music and approach to the creative process?
Whether it’s due to programming or aging, it feels like the four of us are more open. Being in a group requires being vulnerable with your group mates. There is a trust between us all that we are aiming for the same thing – the best version of the song.
Your sixth album, “The Million Masks of God”, was released earlier this year. Talk a bit about how it happened and the reaction of your fans.
Fortunately, it’s an album that we were able to finish just before the world closed. We then had time to think about it rather than going straight into the touring / promotion process. Once he finally came out, it was like a weight was lifted. The coolest thing about an album is that once it’s released, it belongs to the listeners. It’s amazing to hear how music can affect people in so many ways.
You are now back on the road on tour to support the album. How does it feel to be back in front of a live audience? What can your fans expect when they show up at the Fillmore on October 15th?
As of this writing, we’ve done a full concert at the festival since the start of the pandemic. It was unbelievable. I love playing The Fillmore and hope we can continue the tradition of having special shows there. It is a magical room and city.
Looking back, what are the highlights of the Manchester Orchestra that you will always remember? What are some of the goals still on the group’s bucket list?
Every step of the way has been a highlight. We feel very lucky to be able to play music all over the world. Our main goal is to continue to push us, not to settle down. And finally to do it again in 30 years.
When you finish the tour next year, what’s in store for you? Are there other new music in the works?
We have a lot of plans for next year, but can’t say too much!
What are the best ways for your fans to keep up to date with what you are doing?
We’re on all normal social media platforms, but we also have a Patreon where we do monthly gigs from our studio, podcasts, B-sides, demos, and more fun stuff.