Interview with Mandolin Orange

Mandolin Orange press photo
Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange. (Kendall Bailey)
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Interview with Mandolin Orange
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In town for a show at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul, Mandolin Orange's Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz visited The Current for a conversation with Mike Pengra about what proved to be a meteoric year for the band, some of their side projects, the music of Bob Dylan, and what might be next for the Chapel Hill, N.C., outfit.

Listen to the full conversation above and read interview highlights below.

Interview Highlights

On performing live on NBC's Today show:

EMILY FRANTZ: It feels really wild to do something on national TV like that, especially live, which the Today show was. But at the same time, we've been doing this for 11 years now, and a lot of people don't go 11 years before they get on TV, so at the same time, it felt really big but it also felt like, "OK, I think we earned our way to being here and it's time."

I think I was glad when it was over. I was excited that it was happening, but I was even more excited when it was over.

ANDREW MARLIN: I agree. I think for me, during those moments, I kind of just rely on musicle memory to help get me through that because if I stop to think about it, we're screwed.

EMILY FRANTZ: Yeah, they asked us ahead of time if we wanted the lyrics to be on a teleprompter in front of us, and while it felt really absurd, we said, "Yes!" because you just feel like something catastrophic and unreasonable is going to happen. I don't think we ever looked at it, but knowing they were there was helpful.

Mandolin Orange performing on NBC Today show
Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange performing on NBC's 'TODAY' show on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (Nathan Congleton/NBC)

Andrew Marlin on touring in support of his instrumental album, Buried in a Cape:

That was a great tour. It was nice to go out and do something different. [It was] kind of weird to only do instrumentals onstage after being part of such a lyrically driven touring outfit for so long. But it was great to do and that record has been fun to tour on.

Emily Frantz on playing a solo show in Chapel Hill, N.C.:

It's not really my usual cup of tea to get up onstage by myself. I don't write my own tunes so it just doesn't come up that often. But there's a birth center and health clinic that I'm very passionate about in Chapel Hill, N.C., where we live, called the Women's Birth and Wellness Center and they were having a big fundraiser, and somebody who knew that I love the birth center wrote to see if I wanted to do something for it and I just had to do it, even though Andrew was out of town. It forced me out of my comfort zone and I had to figure out what songs I felt really comfortable getting up and carrying by myself. So that was really nice … it was a cool way to end last year.

On having photographer Kendall Bailey accompany them on tour:

EMILY FRANTZ: We had never brought anybody along on the road with us to get that kind of documentation. We love Kendall; she's so great to work with and so great to be around. She has a way of being a fly on the wall that is conducive to tour environments. So we figured we'd just try it out and see what we got and maybe we'll put something together or maybe we'll just have gotten a few cool photos.

On the music of Bob Dylan:

ANDREW MARLIN: I think one of the greatest things about Dylan is that his songs are so simple. The chords are simple, the melodies are simple. … He was super deep in folk music … and that comes through in all the songs to me. I think also, because of that, it makes it easy to play with a band or a duo or just sit down with a guitar and do it.

On the next record:

ANDREW MARLIN: We're still figuring out when the next record's coming out. We have to make it first! We've got all the songs for it, though. We're feeling really good.

External Link

Mandolin Orange - official site

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2 Photos

  • Mandolin Orange perform in the studio
    Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange perform in the Radio Heartland studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Mandolin Orange perform in the studio
    Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange perform in the Radio Heartland studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)