Mansionair - Easier

Mansionair chose the song Easier as some of their best work.

The song was inspired by a scene from Lost In Translation.

Some Of My Best Work is a podcast hosted by Jane Rocca, music and culture journalist.

Guests nominate one specific work they feel is some of their best.

The text below is a partial transcript from Manionair’s episode of Some of My Best Work. 

It’s been edited for length and clarity.

Jack Froggatt: I remember we were kind of, in between houses and just moving around Sydney a bit.  Didn’t really have a proper, proper home at that stage.

And I remember quite vividly Lach sending me a text saying “Come around, let’s let’s let’s write a song today.”

 

Lachlan Bostock: It was my parents house. I just moved back home, I was in that weird little spot, moving out of somewhere like the share house I was living in, to spend that weird gap. We had to move back home for a little bit before you move into the next place.

“Hey, Mum, Dad, do you mind if I like? Can I use the living room today to like, can my band come over and write a song?”

I was 13 again, asking permission to have band rehearsal in the living room.

 

Jack: We were so burnt out at that stage.

I was like, oh, what’s the point you know? Let’s just like kind of carry on with this rut that we’re in that was the kind of stage where, I mean, we were working on a laptop with a MIDI keyboard, and a microphone, in a living room.

It was the most humble setup we’d had the whole year.

And a bit of context, at that moment was like, I think we were finally kind of opening up to each other and , really kind of wearing our hearts on our sleeves a little more.

I guess that, to me, was the context of the record. We had been playing shows over the summer.

We were just kind of trying to figure out what does the Monday to Friday look like when you’re an artist trying to make a record?

Like how do you manifest good ideas and keep moving forward and keep having the good attitude towards it?

 

Lachlan: We’ve had like a really unique experience, knowing Jack and Alex for as long as I have now.

The dynamic between the three of us has been something that has been unique (compared) to any other relationship in my life.

We became friends because of this band.

The very first thing we did, very first song was called Hold Me Down.

We barely knew each other when we were making that. We sort of knew of each other because we’re from roughly from the same area.

It was like, “hey, do you want to just come in and make this thing this one day?”

We just threw that song up on SoundCloud. And then all of a sudden, that kind of kicked off our band.

Really quickly we had to like learn how to be vulnerable and even just get to know each other and dive straight into making music and having a few people watching.

We had to run the gauntlet of making mistakes.

And so I think when this song came about it was less about feeling the pressure of of making mistakes in public or putting out songs, running that whole thing.

I don’t think we were thinking so much about that.

I think we were just trying to work out how we were still friends, how our friendship had developed, being a couple years into a band like that.

And you know, we’d had to remember how to be friends and be vulnerable with each other and go back to “Okay, this isn’t about like writing songs for somebody else”.

This is about the three of us feeling right now as people as friends. Let’s like try and it seems so simple saying it back but like that was that completely was lost, we had completely lost that at that point for us.

 

Jack: We were still learning at the time. And maybe this was kind of moment it clicked for us, we were still trying to like, pull our own walls down.

How we were creating, I think, at that stage in our career, at that very, very young stage, we were all kind of figuring out who we were as artists individually, while simultaneously trying to figure out who we were as a band.

I think doing that, at the same time meant this – there’s this real self like self reliance.

I remember writing Easier, it was the moment where ego was off the table. We just kind of stopped caring, we’re just like, “you know what, like, we’re obviously in this for a great reason”.

We’ve been thrown into this somewhat of a public eye to make music together.

Let’s just take advantage of that. And let’s just throw everything on the table and just be like, these are our emotions.

I think at that point we didn’t really give a shit anymore.

If the song was like going to be successful in the industry, or we didn’t really care if management replied, being like, “Oh, we think this is the one!”

We chased that feeling for so long, that I think giving up on that idea meant that we were able to create something that was like truly authentic.

I would say that the reason we’re still a band together was because of that moment.

I feel like we we’ve always since then made sure that when we’re writing a song that it that it has like a an emotional focal point, because there’s just there is so much noise out there.

There’s so many great artists and great ideas around it.

If it’s not coming from the right place, then why why vie for people’s attention in that kind of way?

 

Jack: I’d say, probably part of the reason this song has so much context within the band, it has so much of that frustration, was for all of us, the band was everything.

It was the only thing that we had really worked towards over the two years prior, and it was kind of the only thing that any of us wanted.

We were early 20s. We were in share houses kind of hanging around, just trying to figure out how to jump to the next stepping stone and how to kind of be the band that we want it to be.

That’s how I really remember 2016.

That and we were always touring, always playing shows, and that experience for us, really, I think, formed us into the band.

We approach music now and writing music in more of a live format than we ever have before.

Easier broke down that wall, we could actually sit in by a piano and be open to expressing ourselves together.

I mean, even in 2020 it’s still really strange for three boys to share their feelings in a living room,

I would say too lyrically, the initial idea for the concept of the song began by like me just resonating to the scene and Lost In Translation.

When you’re writing songs, you look for these little universal doors into how to expand on a feeling or because I was referring and referencing such a strong scene in my mind that I had emotionally resonated with I, we just attempted to kind of put that into song form.

So like the entire scene, where Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray lying on the hotel bed, is the entire scene put into music for Easier.

So I think a lot of the time when like making songs is you can take these like little universal moments that you’ve resonated with and put your own spin on it and be like, “I felt this therefore, I think someone else will too.”

That’s the joy of really like diving into a world of movies and cinema and taking things from everywhere because it’s just this constant conversation and dialogue between how to reconcile with our emotions and how to leave, let some of them be and how to have patience to keep moving forward.

 

Lachlan: So many of the lyrics are partly from that scene.

We used to play the audio from the Lost In Translation scene before the song (when performing it live).

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Lachlan: I read some movie trivia thing about how, apparently, neither of them were having a good time filming that movie.

There was onset tension between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. And it’s like, come on, I don’t want to know!

Feeds into the nihilism.

 

Jack: There’s even a moment in one of the demos we sent over what works well, Lach and I are explaining to Alex –  who had just happened to like walk in the door to like, drop something off – that we were writing this song based on that, on that scene.

 

Lachlan: We’ve sort of refined how we how we do stuff, but at the time, it was like a little bit strange for us to sit down with a with like a little piano keyboard thing and voicemail. That was new for us to write songs that way.

Beforehand, it was all like building musical beds, and then trying to sing over and write stuff over the top.

But this was like, kind of flipping that process for us.

I think we made like a little musical bed just in Ableton that was a little bit more like gritted up and a little bit more structured.

We sent it to Alex, our drummer, who’s incredible jazz drummer, and just got him to like, sit with it for a little bit. And this is sort of when we didn’t really have a space to work. And he had his drums set up in his in his garage.

He was just recording some ideas with his like iPhone with the like voice memo app.

He’d drop them in, and all these like little things.

They sound they have all this character (he) literally (had) his phone sitting in the room recording drums, which sort of laughs in the face of big, 20 mics on a drum kit, sort of recording experience.

He came back with that first beat, which are all still the things that made the final cut. Then we built out from there, we wanted it to be dramatic.

We wanted strings to kind of like add the sort of like cinematic sort of vibe to it.

We also wanted there to be an electronic sort of influence, that’s been a big touchstone for our band.

We were trying to find that balance, what does it sound like when there’s these like things that are inherently like cinematic like big piano and swelling strings and whatnot.

Then what happens if that’s contrasted with these big like synth pads that are sort of angrier and live very much in the electronic world.

The song kind of went through a few different versions where maybe the emotional cadence ended up. There’s a few versions of the song, where it didn’t, it went to different drum grooves or different structural changes and whatnot.

We’d settled on the one that we did, because after about five or six versions we’d realize that was sort of it in its cleanest, purest form.

 

Lachlan: I think maybe because it was maybe not the first time but just like a really clear, crystallizing moment for us, we sort of worked out what we wanted to do, as a band.

Three people making music together, I think it’s sort of came at a point where we were a little bit lost a little bit, like confused with what we wanted to do.

It was the, probably one of the first times where we were just genuinely honest with where we are at musically, in our lives.

So like the actual, I guess, in a weird way, like the output of the actual song doesn’t really matter so much.

To me, I think it was more just what it stands for us as far as, and the fact that it’s been a song that people who like our music seem to like a lot as well, that’s obviously really great.

Ticking both those boxes for us is why it’s sort of held up is for us as a real highlight for our band.

 

Jack: And I think for us, when we write new stuff, you know, we’re in the back of our minds, we’re like, you know, it’s important to just just kind of trust your gut and and keep it as focused as possible and have a blueprint for a song and have a reason for why it’s showing up today.

Easier kind of boils that, that process down. That’s why it is classified as some of our best work.

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