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FIRST THINGS FIRST: MANSIONS
ON THE MOON

Mansions on the Moon.jpg

To date, Mansions on the Moon has been associated with some notable names, despite not having a full-length album under its collective belt. The Los Angeles band has opened arena dates for Wiz Khalifa, handled the official remix for Foster the People’s “Life on the Nickel” and captured the ear of Pharrell Williams, the executive producer of MOTM’s 2012 EP, Lightyears.

As for the in-progress Mansions on the Moon debut album, guitarist Ted Wendler will only share so much about it publicly.

“I can say that we don’t have a label at this point,” Wendler says. “We do have some hopeful things in the works. It’s been very awesome to be able to have complete creative control up to this point, and we do like that.

“We have probably 60 songs started that we feel are great,” he adds. “The real challenge is finishing them. But we finally have about five or six that I would be happy to release right now.”

As for the album’s release, the band is targeting 2013, “but it would be great to get it out this summer,” Wendler says.

Meanwhile, Mansions on the Moon will be on the road this spring — and playing a lot of new material, according to Wendler, who recently discussed some music-related firsts in his life.

* First album purchased with his own money: “I believe it was Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins — it was either that one or Homebase by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. I know that I owned them at the same time; I’m not sure which one I bought first.
“I really loved the [Jazzy Jeff/Fresh Prince] song ‘Summertime,’ and I think there are a lot of good R&B hooks in there, and the beat is very smooth and cool. I guess you could relate that to [my band’s sound] and the harmonies and melodic lines that I do. And Smashing Pumpkins just kick ass, and [Siamese Dream] may have led me to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which has a wide variety and wide range of musical styles and genres, and I think we do a lot of that as a band.”

* His first guitar: “The first guitar I had was purchased by my dad before I was born at a garage sale while my mother was pregnant with my older brother. … It sat in my attic unstrung for a really long time — probably 16 years. One day, I went up there with my brothers, and I found it. I brought it downstairs and asked [my father] to string it, and he did.

“That guitar [a classical acoustic] later met its demise when I was 12 or 13. We were teasing my older brother, who was in the window on America Online, probably looking at dirty pictures on the Internet, and we were teasing him from the street. He ran down, and he had my guitar, which he knew was a beloved possession. He did a wrestling move to it [called the ‘razor’s edge’]. So he razor’s edged my guitar onto the sidewalk and just shattered it into a million pieces.”

* His first band: “I wasn’t in a band until Mansions. I mean, I would jam with my friends in middle school, but we weren’t a band. I had a band in college that didn’t exist, really. We were called The Cartoons, and we played ’80s dance music. We had one show, and we got kicked out and asked never to play again. So honestly, Mansions on the Moon is my first band.”

* First words that come to mind when asked to describe the sound of Mansions on the Moon: “It depends on how long I want to talk. And it also depends on how old [the other person] is, to tell you the truth. If it’s a 60-year-old man, I’ll say [our sound is] sort of psychedelic rock. If it’s a young kid who listens to a lot of music, I’ll say that we have elements of electronica, but it’s more R&B-pop electronica with heavy harmonies. I like to say electronic pop-rock. But you know, it’s really hard to [summarize], so I usually say, ‘Please listen to it.’ ”

— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior

Mansions on the Moon on tour (schedule subject to change):

* April 2: The Camel — Richmond, Va.
* April 3: Black Cat — Washington, D.C.
* April 4: Church of Boston — Boston
* April 6: Blockley — Philadelphia
* April 7: Highline Ballroom — New York
* April 9: Big Orbit’s — Buffalo, N.Y.
* April 11: Grog Shop — Cleveland
* April 12: Pike Room — Detroit
* April 13: Kilroy’s — Bloomington, Ind.
* April 14: Bottom Lounge — Chicago