One of the things that Charles Mansion shares with a similarly named notorious cult leader and mass murderer is his sense of family.
The band that has officially been making psychedelic rock music out of a lumber warehouse for a year-and-a-half, but their bond runs deeper than that.
J.D. Carraway, Mike Bickert, Joshua Theobald and Brendon Pommier had been floating around each other in the Kelowna music scene for years before they decided to start something together. Originally playing under the name Death by Misadventure in honour of The Rolling Stones member Brian Jones’ death certificate, their new name came after a friend mentioned the play on words with Charles Manson’s name and it stuck.
“Death by misadventure was a mouthful,” said singer and lead guitarist Theobald. “Charles Mansion worked because he was this big nefarious figure in the ’60s and we take a lot of inspiration from the psychedelic era… but we are not a big fan of Manson.
“It’s a morbid fascination using ghoulish overkill, it’s very tongue in cheek.”
Now recording their second EP the band says they wouldn’t have had a first one if it wasn’t for a last minute submission to be part of the line up for Breakout West. Instead of going to a studio, they returned to the lumber warehouse, set up microphones and recorded five songs in six hours.
“A 10,000 square-foot warehouse filled with lumber and plywood is really interesting for the acoustics. We practice there and we are comfortable, we hired a guy with a mobile studio, we set up mics all over the place and one very special microphone as well,” said guitarist and vocals Carraway.
The special microphone, a Trash Can Mic stand that their second EP is now named after.
“It removed the sterilization that happens when going into a studio,” said Carraway.
“The way we play our music is essentially for the live shows. So to go in and do a studio album we would have to track the songs is not really what we wanted,” said drummer Bickert.
The band describes themselves as the most easy going rock band when it comes to song writing. Thriving in collaboration and experimentation. Regularly finding their next song in a warm ups.
“Writing songs come together so quick, you play a little jam before and you have the rumblings of a song then you think on it for another day or two and you have a song,” said Bickert.
All members write the songs that are feed into their desert rock influenced, guitar heavy sound, that they are starting to gather a following from.
“We don’t have stage personas, it’s just truly about the music,” said bassist Pommier who is always bare-foot on stage with his long hair covering his face.
This summer they cemented themselves in Kelowna music history they kicked off their first annual Tune it Down Turn it Up festival in August. They were able to procure one of their musical idols on the line-up, Eagles of Death Metal guitarist, Dave Catching.
“What is really cool for us is that we are students of the desert rock scene, Palm Desert… We are disciples of the whole desert scene, so we reached out to Dave Catching and he responded. It’s someone that we love and grew up to, it’s awesome. It’s like we are getting approval from the gods which we seek approval from,” said Carraway.
Catching is confirmed to return for the second year of the festival, that will happen once again during a hot August weekend.
Charles Mansion played their final show at Fernando’s Pub Dec. 29 before embarking on their next career move, Vancouver. The band will be following Carraway after he was given a promotion by his company.
He says he was more worried that the band wouldn’t come with him than anything else.
“We are keeping the band together, it’s too good to walk away from,” said Theobald.
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