It’s rare for a band to emerge with such clarity of purpose and sound as Mandy, Indiana did with “Nike of Samothrace” a year ago today. It’s even rarer for a band to go on to top themselves on each of their two subsequent follow-up singles, but that’s exactly what the Manchester-based band has done over the past 12 months.
Even with only three released songs to their name, it’s undeniable that this band has established an unmistakable imprint. It takes no time for your mind to get caught between the transfixing industrial pop sound and Valentine Caulfield’s hypnotic French-sung/chanted/uttered words, and from there Mandy, Indiana grind it down to a pulp to be repurposed for their own dastardly devices.
It’s no surprise that the early buzz has not only captured the imaginations of the BPM team, but seen them signed to Brooklyn tastemaking label Fire Talk and garner a remix from Daniel Avery. Having now collected together their early singles and remixes for their debut EP, …, we asked them to tell us about each song from this opening chapter in their just-beginning journey.
01. “Bottle Episode”
We had an idea about trying to focus on the sound of the space we were recording in, which was a long hallway outside our rehearsal space. We decided to open with a single element, the snare drum, to really set the scene for what’s to come. The track ended up with a military feel based on this opening and so we built elements around that idea, including the lyrical content and the guitar sound, which was inspired by a flood siren near Scott’s house in Todmorden.
02. “Nike of Samothrace”
This was inspired by the behemoth, guttural and mechanical sounds heard in scores by the likes of Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow and also Hans Zimmer. We wanted a really untethered and uncontainable bass element that moves and changes and is hard to define. It’s more like a rhythmic sound design element than anything musical.
03. “Alien 3”
We were listening to a lot of techno, particularly mixes on HöR Berlin’s Youtube channel and we thought it’d be interesting to combine a really industrial warehouse techno style rhythm with some really basic styles you’d hear in an old 8 bit video game soundtrack. They always used really short bursts of arpeggiation and white noise to articulate things so we sort of mimicked those with our instruments.
We recorded this in a venue called The White Hotel, which is in Salford. The building has a metal roof and there was very heavy rain hitting it whilst we were recording, so Liam had to play the drums super loud to drown it out. I think that gives it a real energy that drives the track.
04. “Alien 3 (Daniel Avery Remix)”
He’s a legend. We were so shocked and flattered when he started following us online after the release of “Alien 3”. When it came time to think of someone to remix “Alien 3”, he was our first choice and thankfully he was up for it. I think we knew that he was unlikely to disappoint us, but I don’t think we were prepared for the absolute monster of a club track that he created. It really is a completely new interpretation of the track, with that minimal crackly techno production and genius sampling of Valentine’s vocal. He created something unique and special that’s a real asset to this release.
05. “Nike of Samothrace (Club Eat Remix)”
This is a very clever remix of our track. It’s a real deconstruction, stripped back and punchy. A very cool take from a really interesting artist.
Mandy, Indiana’s … EP is out now digitally, with a physical following later this month. Pre-order the limited edition red splatter vinyl from their Bandcamp.