By Deaglan Howlett | Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2018
On July 12th, Avery Mandeville released Happy Birthday, Avery Jane. Accompanying her on this release is her new band known as “The Man Devils,” and she could not have picked a better group of musicians. Avery is at her very best right now, and she has more energy and more to say than ever before. While it has only been a year since her last release, Salty, this highly anticipated release is finally out, and it was well worth the wait. Avery was kind enough to answer some questions about the album and her songwriting! Thanks, Avery!
When did you start writing this album?
Avery: A couple of the songs have been sitting on the shelf for a few years ("The Woods" and "Alexander") but everything else on the record was written in 2017/2018. It feels good to finally release the last of my older songs and have a completely clean slate for future releases.
I'm inspired by singer-songwriters like Elliott Smith and Damien Rice to be lyrically vulnerable and a little raunchy sometimes.
What is your writing process like?
I've always felt like I had to be in a genuinely emotional state to write, so I would write a whole song in one sitting every few months. This belief was completely shaken in early 2018 by my guitarist Matt Fernicola when he said, "You haven't written a song since July, write a hit today." After I got done telling him, "I can't do that," I just sat down and tried. I wrote "Encore," which is probably my favorite song I've ever written, and played it at the open mic that Fern and I co-host that night. So now I don't know what I'm doing.
How old is the oldest song on this? What's the story behind it?
The oldest song is "Alexander" which I wrote in 2015 about a homeless man I befriended when I was living in New York and his struggles with family and addiction. Knowing him taught me the importance of engaging with people who are different from you because within their stories you will often learn a lot about the world and about yourself.
How did you pick the songs that would be on this release?
The album came pretty directly out of the songs we play live. We set up the track order based on our usual setlist, plus a couple solo acoustic songs that I never play with the band.
Who played on it?
The Man Devils are Chris Dubrow (bass), Owen Flanagan (drums), and Matt Fernicola (guitar). Our keyboard player Branden Steinagle is on a brief hiatus as he has moved to Japan for the foreseeable future, but we're saving him a seat at The Grammys upon his return. Additionally, we had cello by Jen Fantaccione. The songs "Get Real!," "Knockoff," and "Walk of Shame" were co-written by myself and Joshua Perna, for which he played all the instrumentation.
Where did you record it?
I recorded most of the album at Telegraph Hill Records with my sweet prince Joe Pomarico, with a few recorded in Columbia, NJ with Joshua Perna and two others at Continental Gardens in Ocean, NJ with Mike Costaney.
I'm hitting the South and Midwest with my good friend Mike Frazier in the fall, and I'm super excited to play some cities I've never been to before. I'm also totally in love with this guy but I haven't told him yet, so my emotions have been completely hijacked and I'm just along for the ride. Will probably get some good music out of it.
Favorite song to play live?
"Get Real!" has been our set opener and crowd pleaser for the past few months, and it's an absolute riot to play live. It's a song about gigging, so people at the gig get it. We've also been covering "Bad Touch" by The Bloodhound Gang which is my favorite because it has by far the most profanity and makes the older crowd very uncomfortable.
Thanks, Deaglan! Corrina forever!