There’s a special dynamic when the frontperson from a band plays a solo show.
It’s an opportunity to see a song stripped down to its acoustic structure while experiencing a completely different take on it. Sometimes, a particular song might even sound better that way.
On June 2 at Revival Brewing Co. in Cranston, Jared Mann from the Providence punk trio Twin Foxes will be performing by himself and a guitar. Joining him as part of the Tor Johnson Records-curated cavalcade will be fellow Providence musician Iz Dungan from the alt-rock duo Fine and Sarah Robbins from the Charlotte, North Carolina, fuzz pop act Alright.
Mann and I had a talk ahead of the show about the band he had before Twin Foxes, using his brother’s recording equipment, running his own recording studio, being a sound guy and other topics
ROB DUGUAY: Before you started Twin Foxes with Andrew Fortin and Carlos Molina, you were in a band called Big Tall Buildings that incorporated a lot of indie and pop sensibilities. What made you want to make the transition from that to the punk sound the current band has?
JARED MANN: During Big Tall Buildings, I was very interested in song structure. Most of my favorite songs at the time seemed to share common arrangements and pop structures, more or less. I took this idea and combined it with eight people and eight different instruments. The result was an orchestral collaboration of sorts with a lot of different instruments centered around the vocal. It was fun, but trying at times when the band included that many moving parts.
As I transitioned into Twin Foxes, I just wanted to simplify things. Using my vocal and guitar as the starting point, everything just felt more natural. Carlos and Andrew both bring their own sensibilities, which is huge, too. I think overall, Twin Foxes is the three of us naturally playing together. We rely on our own styles and influences, and I suppose that commonality is some form of punk rock.
RD: I definitely remember when Big Tall Buildings was around and I was always intrigued about how much was going on musically at once.
JM: Yeah, it was a lot to manage, as well.
RD: Other than being a musician, you also run the recording studio Distorted Forest, and you’ve done sound at various venues in Providence. How did you get into the recording side of things?
JM: I was fortunate to have an older brother that had gear around when I was entering my formative years. We had a small setup in our basement and that’s where I really fell in love with recording. It became my getaway at a pretty young age. Over time, the gear and my ears got better, and eventually I started recording friends and DIY bands for fun. It’s since moved into a more permanent location.
I built the studio to maintain that special environment for myself and to give other bands a comfortable place to record as well. It’s been great because I can be creative there with my own band or change it up and work on someone else’s project.
RD: What have you learned about running sound for a show that you didn’t realize before as a musician?
JM: Running sound for a band is definitely in a different ballpark than playing. You’re essentially just doing your best to make sure the band is comfortable and to communicate their aesthetic to the audience. I think overall I’ve learned to put what’s best for the band’s sound ahead of your own personal preferences.
RD: You also have the solo project called The Great Western States. What do you find to be the major difference between that and the music you make with Twin Foxes?
JM: With The Great Western States being my solo project, I pretty much play everything in it. Generally there’s more acoustic guitars and it’s less heavy and abrasive than Twin Foxes. It’s a project I’m still tinkering with. When I run out of friends to play with I’ll probably fully realize it (laughs).
RD: What are some plans you have for the summer?
JM: Twin Foxes is just about done with our second full-length album. We recorded about 13 songs over the last year at my studio. We’re going to mix and master that hopefully by the end of summer. We’re also playing PVDFest June 8 at AS220 and another festival at AS220 July 20 as well. We’re excited about those lineups, and both shows are benefits for some great causes, too.
To learn more about Jared Mann and Twin Foxes, visit twinfoxes.bandcamp.com or follow the group on Facebook.