Ahead of his August LP, Christopher Mansfield spoke with us about a time of monumental change in his life from working with some pretty big names to also becoming a father in the process. For the album as a whole Mansfield assembled what he refers to as his “dream band” with lifelong friend Felix Pastorius(son of Jaco Pastorius ) on bass and Jeremiah Green (Modest Mouse) on drums, drums. Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers) and Ryan Lewis (Macklemore & Lewis) also add vocals and production respectively. Mansfield’s wife, Maxine , also appears. Here's what he had to say.
How did the band form and what does the band name mean?
To be totally honest it never really “formed” in the traditional sense. It’s just me after all. Any forming would essentially be my mothers design and doing. Fences is fences really. No metaphor implied. How dreadful. It’s like a dog running around, eventually you have to name the thing something so it comes in the house.
Previous musical projects? How'd you first get into music?
I feel like music hits people differently then other people possibly. Call it a condition. I’d say that every American has unwillingly participated in musical bombardment since the invention of the radio. Some people hear it and some people develop an unhealthy obsession to the point of needing to actually participate in it.
First concert that you ever went to?
Marilyn Manson with L7 at The Moore Theatre in Seattle. 1996/1997 I believe.
What's your writing process like?
Ask God for a favor.
What other artists or songs inspire your music?
My current favorite is Hiss Golden Messenger… but man, people like Jaco are almost who you ask the favor to.
What's the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be it's own thing?
I’ve certainly had some trouble with it. It frightens me a great deal so in the past I’ve gotten inappropriately drunk and did myself and the audience a tremendous disservice. This is my main sort of sunset I’m trying to walk into… redemption of that shit.
As far as identical to the recording… a Jackson Pollock could take 1 minute but an exact replica could take 1 year. There is value in both, it just depends on what you value more, the spontaneous action or the meticulous action that mimics spontaneity.
Has the band toured? What has the touring experience been, best shows? worst shows?