It’s been about two-and-a-half years since the Mandates first picked up their instruments and blasted through three-chord, three-minute power pop ragers, but only now are they set to unveil their debut full-length. To be sure, they have released little nuggets here and there, such as 2011’s 7″, Take You to the Dance, but these have done little to quench their fans’ thirst for more material. Indeed, looking around at the Mandates’ excited faces at Milk Tiger, this release means as much to them as it will for their fans.
“Everyone is so stoked, almost as stoked as we are,” laughs guitarist/vocalist Brady Kirchner. “We’ve done a lot of shows and it’s so nice to have these songs out so people can take something home with them, learn the words, get excited about the new songs. Calgary’s treated us so well. We’re excited to have it out.”
Their debut self-titled LP has been a long-time in the making, even if it is just now seeing the light of day. They finished recording last February, but the mixing and mastering process hit unexpected snags along the way and delayed the release for what seemed to them like interminable months on end.
“Initially, we thought it would be quick,” says Kirchner. “We went with our buddy, Ryan Sadler, which was amazing. We’d worked with him prior to this album and loved it, but mixing took a bit longer than I thought. We took it to my friend, Pat Kearns, in Portland, who is a legend to me. In two days, over Skype, he mixed and mastered the whole thing. We’re finally finished, a year later.”
The Mandates have always had an ear for dapper, ’70s-styled punk rock, bridging the gap between the Ramones’ buzzsaw assault and the Exploding Hearts’ infectious power pop. Working with Kearns, then, who recorded the Exploding Hearts, was a no-brainer.
“I recorded with Pat in 2008 with a band called the Fun Funs. We went down to his studio where he recorded the Exploding Hearts and all my favourite Portland bands ever. We did an album in about two days, I think. We did a 12″ EP and he came to our show at the anarchist punk house — or, well, one of the anarchist punk houses in Portland — and we became instant friends. When I called him up to see if he wanted to work with us, he was really excited.”
Having a full release under their belts has given the Mandates, including Matt Wickens on guitar/vocals, Jimmy Sixx on bass and Warren Oostlander on drums, some rare perspective. With the distance the LP provides, they are not only able to conceptualize their own individual places within the band better, but also how the band operates on a larger scale.
“It’s been awesome to do this from the ground up, all together,” says Sixx. “It’s been two-and-a-half years and we’ve never even thought about having other members come in. It’s pretty cool to be there, right from the beginning.”
“This is the only [band] where I sit down and I go, ‘Today, I’m going to write a Mandates song. I want to play fast as hell and sing about this girl I like, or this girl I know, or this night on the town I had,'” furthers Kirchner. “It’s mostly fictitious, but it’s got the spirit of what we enjoy in punk music.”
The Mandates will release their debut self-titled EP at Broken City on May 3.
By Sebastian Buzzalino
Photos: Ryan Kostel