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Premiere: Scott Mannion Unveils Heart-Crushing Clip For 'Your Kinda Love' (+ Interview)

Premiere: Scott Mannion Unveils Heart-Crushing Clip For 'Your Kinda Love' (+ Interview)

Friday 28th July, 2017 11:00AM

You may be familiar with the name Scott Mannion as the co-founder of local indie label Lil’ Chief Records as well as a member of old school indie pop band The Tokey Tones. After many years relative silence, Mannion recently surfaced 'Your Kind Of Love', a bittersweet duet with Catalan singer Clara Viñals that is lifted from his forthcoming solo album Loving Echoes. The creation of the record took place in a small town in the mountains outside of Valencia, Spain, where Mannion's creative juices were stirred by the idyllic surroundings seen through the lens of a fresh start after a painful break up.

We are delighted to premiere the gorgeous and highly-symbolic video for 'Your Kinda Love', which was shot in Spain on the archaic yet striking Super-8 format. Feast your eyes and then scroll on to read our interview with Scott...

Hi Scott! You settled into the small Spanish town of Chelva to lay down your upcoming album. How did being there help facilitate the writing and recording process for you?

Well I had been looking for somewhere that I could focus entirely on writing and recording for an extended period of time. I had become sort of bogged down with work and releasing other people’s music and an intense relationship. I had also been living in Wales which seemed to have a cartoon storm cloud above it and rained practically every day. So I needed somewhere cheap that I could make noise, preferably sunny and inspiring. I ended up stumbling upon a residency run by a Dutch sound artist couple in Chelva (Peter Bosch and Simone Simons), went to check the place out and fell in love with it.

It’s a medieval town in a little valley in the mountains outside of Valencia. There are a lot of ruins and ramshackle buildings, half the houses are empty and it’s surrounded by olive and almond groves. Fig and pomegranate trees grow wild along the hiking trails, there are natural springs everywhere, there’s a river to swim in, perfect weather… and it was crazy cheap! It was like I had stumbled upon a kind of paradise. The history of the area was super inspiring, as was the day-to-day oddities of being the only native English speaker in the town (at that time at least). But I was also dealing with the breakup of a nine year relationship and was tempted to run back to friends and family in New Zealand. In the end, being here on my own was super cathartic and I was writing more songs than I had in a long time. Then I met my current partner Julie and wrote a bunch more, so now I have more songs about relationships beginning and ending than I know what to do with! Peter and Simone also connected me with local musicians and have a lovely old a grand piano I could use, so that was super helpful.

We heard you got your hands on a few vintage synths and drum machines to use on the record. Did you take a particular shine to any pieces of gear?

Yes, for sure. I have loads of synths and gear back in New Zealand being looked after by various friends, and I brought quite a lot of instruments with me, but another big draw for Chelva was that Peter and Simone had a bunch of stuff from their pre-sound art, band days that I could use. Their Korg MS-20 is a lot of fun but my favourite is probably the Sequential Circuits Pro-One. Run that through a tape echo and it’s magic. Of the gear that I brought with me, or collected since arriving, my favourite thing is an old German microphone (a Neumann KM 86) and I have gotten a lot of use out of a cheap FM synth (a Yamaha TQ5).

Catalan singer Clara Viñals adds some delightful vocals to ‘Your Kinda Love’, how did you come to work with her?

I met Clara in 2015 when her band, Renaldo & Clara, were playing support for Princess Chelsea in Sitges (a seaside town near Barcelona). I just loved her voice, and although 'Your Kinda Love' was not written as a duet originally, I thought it could work well in the song and with mine. So I asked Clara if she would like to give it a go and it sounded even better than I hoped it would. This is also the first time Clara has recorded a song in English, as her own songs are all sung in Catalan, and the accent particular to her home town of Lleida gives her voice a quality similar to Astrud Gilberto or something.

The song also features some familiar faces from the Lil Chief camp. How did this work with you doing bulk of recording in Spain?

‘Your Kinda Love’ is actually the oldest song on the record. I recorded an early demo with the same chord progression and chorus before I left New Zealand that featured drums from Ryan McPhun (from The Ruby Suns), but at that time it was a synth based thing with a different verse vocal melody/lyrics. I came up with the final verse melody and lyrics along with the middle 8 section in Wales, but whenever I tried to record the song it had a swingy “After the Gold Rush” era Neil Young feel to it, which I just wasn’t happy with.

It wasn’t until James Milne (Lawrence Arabia) came to visit in 2014 that he helped sort out the feel once and for all. “I think this would sound more sexy” is how he put it I think haha. James also suggested a nice variation on the chords for the outro chorus so he has a writing credit for the song for that. After that the rest of the parts fell into place pretty quickly. Jonathan Bree recorded the bass on my last visit to New Zealand and Ryan has also been in super involved in the album (it helps that his current home in Oslo is in the same time zone). He recorded the drums for this song in a studio in Copenhagen and also handled the final mix.

The video really pairs with the bittersweet nature of the song, imagery of crushing heart-shaped cakes and candies. How did the concept come together for the clip?

The concept is actually based on an earlier short film by the director (Rosalía Hernández of The Urban Spaceman Productions). It was only a couple of minutes but super beautiful and featured the same sorts of destruction of hearts. The first time I saw it I knew that I wanted to expand on that idea for this song.

Super-8 is such an aesthetically pleasing but pricey format to shoot in! What made you want to use this format in particular?

Again, it goes back to the original film which was shot on Super-8. The reds in particular looked amazing. Of course with grading and filters you can replicate the look now but the idea of doing that also seemed a little lame to me, and since I was lucky enough to have an NZ On Air budget, we decided to go for it. You can’t shoot endless takes or see what you are getting right away, so you have to plan carefully - fortunately Rous was super organised in that regard. It definitely wasn’t the cheapest or easiest option and there were a number of scenes that just didn’t turn out - most painfully the original climax to the video, which involved a whole lot of people in costumes, fireworks and a piñata. The piñata was painstakingly handmade by the director and her boyfriend so they had to make a second one for the reshoot concept of me with the baseball bat.

The album as a whole has obviously been a long time in the cooker, in one form or another, what was the most important thing for you to achieve with it?

Ha, good question. The “album” has changed a lot over the years, so it’s really been a few albums at this point. Earlier iterations were scrapped because I either wasn’t happy with the recordings or didn’t think the songs were good enough or the songs didn’t seem relevant to me any more. Perfectionism to the point of a mental illness to some extent. Even this record was mostly finished two years ago. But what was most important to me was to make something honest and “real”. Where the Tokey Tones lyrics were pure fantasy/whimsy the lyrics on this record are deeply personal and autobiographical. I also don’t believe that albums are obsolete, so it’s important to me to make something that works as a whole, stands up to repeated listens, and in this case tells a story - even if that means putting the lead single second second-to-last. So while I have a ton of songs, I’ve narrowed the album down to 10 tracks that tell the story of the various stages of an ultimately ill-fated relationship.

Is there a title for it and when can we expect it to drop?

The album is called Loving Echoes. That’s taken from a line in one of the songs (“still we speak those, loving echoes”) but originally it’s a Kurt Vonnegut reference from Slaughterhouse-Five: “And on and on it went - that duet between the dumb, praying lady and the big, hollow man who was so full of loving echoes”.

I will be finishing the tracking/mixing/mastering this [European] summer/early autumn, so the release is planned for early 2018 - hopefully February! There will be a couple more singles released in the meantime.


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