"You leave town, and most people - your friends - assume that you're gone. They get used to that."
Mini Mansions' founding member Michael Shuman, best known for his basswork in Queens Of The Stone Age, has been writing new music and exploring the idea of losing oneself. With a tour supporting Tame Impala on the horizon, Shuman's creative work is persisting and ongoing. We catch up with the multi-instrumentalist as he relaxes at his home in San Fernando Valley, trying to do 'real life stuff'. "I try to be a real person. I feel like you get lost when you've been on the road. Also, I can't really stop playing music so usually it's me sitting on the couch with an acoustic guitar in my hand, whether I'm watching TV, or cleaning... all that shit!" Delving a little deeper into this loss of social identity, Shuman's outlook is confounding. "It's happened to me and it's happened to a lot of people where relationships, whether they are romantic or just friendships, get lost... it's kind of the way it is: you leave town, and most people — your friends — assume that you're gone. They get used to that. They get used to you just coming around and not really being a part of everyone's life."
"I like to be very sober and focused because to do what I have to do is not easy."
Mini Mansions also requires a whole different mentality to perform. "I think the main thing for me is having to play drums and sing. With Mini Mansions it's like... I like to be very sober and focused because to do what I have to do is not easy. It's all of your limbs, and your vocals, and trying to engage the crowd. It's all of that stuff at once. It's tough. I really feel for Phil Collins and what he went through." Shuman is determined, though. "I'm not looking to fuck it up!"
Mini Mansions have been creating some game changing clips for their songs, one of which Alex Turner even appears in. More songs from this year's album The Great Pretenders have film clips than not. "Almost every one of them has been with a different person, a different director. Some are friends, some are people that came to us with ideas, some are people that we saw on YouTube and they did shorts. We liked them and we reached out to them. We like working with all these different people and creating all different types of images from different people's minds!" Shuman tells us that an upcoming music video is the Mini Mansions take on Raging Bull. "It's boxing themed and I definitely get the shit beat out of me!"
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Mini Mansions will be touring Australia with good friends Tame Impala in November. "We already did a tour with them in the States which I think was our favourite tour to date. GUM, which is Jay [Watson, of Tame Imapala]'s band, are supporting our headline shows so there will be a lot of spontaneity."
As for Queens Of The Stone Age, Shuman says this: "I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that we're starting the process of what the next phase will be for us. But as for who's dating who we're all pretty much dating each other!"