Sydney indie-electro trio, Mansionair fight their demons with the release of their long-awaited first album ‘Shadowboxer’ – five years after forming.
Mansionair – comprising Jack Froggatt (vocals), Lachlan Bostock (keys and guitar) and Alex Nicholls (drums) – began honing their ethereal dance sound in 2014.
Since then, they’ve released a steady stream of singles, racked up over 130 million online streams worldwide and – they mention it casually – earned a Grammy nomination for their 2017 collaboration with Odesza.
So why’s the album taken so long? “No matter who you are,” Jack says, “when you get attention you need to go through the process of learning to work with people. We did that after we entered the spotlight. We still needed to be a garage band and do our little thing.”
He adds that spending time in LA pushed the band to complete the album. “LA’s very motivating. There’s a lot of competition.
"Coming back, it was the first time we started finishing songs. It took working with other people to realise what we have together is special; it shouldn't be touched too much.”
The album’s themes of anxiety, disconnection, and ultimately hope reflect the trio’s journey from garage band to international fame. “We were intimidated to put ourselves out there but now we're doing it, with a record about being scared about putting ourselves out there.
“This record is all about running from your shadows.” Hence the title ‘Shadowboxer’.
“To us, a shadow boxer is constantly prepared to fight: fighting yourself, fighting your darkness, fighting your shadows.
"Your shadows will always be there but if you turn to face the sun, your shadows are behind you. You can walk forward and do the things you're meant to be doing.”
Anxiety recurs throughout the album. “All  songs show a different side of that, whether it's in relationships or social anxieties or other kinds of anxiety.”
But the band has come to recognise weakness as a strength. “'Easier' was the first track where we realised we could be vulnerable and people would respond to it.
"Every time we play it people always shut up and listen. We put it in the middle of our set to go 'hey, here’s some feelings guys'.”
‘Easier’ was inspired by the hotel room scene in Bill Murray’s cult classic ‘Lost In Translation’.
Jack admits he adopts a cinematic approach to songwriting. “It was a conscious decision to write about scenes. When I look at my initial ideas there's always a scene. It’s an invisible thread running through my creative process.”
There’s plenty of darkness, the result Jack says of “reading and watching too much crime”.
New song ‘We Could Leave’ is “this runaway scene of eyeing someone up on the other side of the room. I like to think the story goes a bit crazy and ends in a murder.”
But light triumphs over the shadows. “The last line of the record,” from ‘Heirloom’, Jack’s favourite track, “is 'I'm now closer to you than death'. It’s a spiritual nod to love.”
After playing the Laneway festivals earlier this year, Mansionair will be hitting the road again soon “to travel where we can, play these songs and see as many people as possible; to get the record out there”.
They’re also performing at every Instagrammer’s favourite festival – Coachella. Any chance of a duet with headliner Ariana Grande based on Lachlan’s seamless mash-up of her song ‘Into You’ with his own jam ‘Astronaut’? “She's got better things to do, but maybe she'll play it. We'll try,” Jack laughs.
‘Shadowboxer' is available now. Mansionair play 2019 Splendour In The Grass 19-21 July.
Mansionair 2019 Tour Dates
Fri 24 May - The Cambridge Hotel (Newcastle) Sat 25 May - UOW UniBar (Wollongong) Wed 29 May - Karova Lounge (Ballarat) 30-31 May - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne) - sold out Sat 1 Jun - Metro Theatre (Sydney) Fri 7 Jun - Lion Arts Factory (Adelaide) Sat 8 Jun - Jack Rabbit Slims (Perth) Fri 14 Jun - Hotel Esplanade (Melbourne) Sat 15 Jun - Woolly Mammoth (Brisbane) - sold out Sun 16 Jun - Woolly Mammoth (Brisbane)