Interview: Ryan Harris of Spiritual Mansions


Image by Chris Roberts

Spiritual Mansions practices standing in corners … and music.

For a crash course in what Spiritual Mansions sound like; direct your browser to A&oâÄôs accompanying review of their debut LP âÄúTouched.âÄù For a re-cap of A&EâÄôs chat with lead singer/guitarist Ryan Harris âÄì look no further. The first thing that grabs hold with Spiritual Mansions is the vocals. HowâÄôd you adopt such a unique delivery? Growing up, I never sang at all, and I didnâÄôt think I could. One day, when I was like 19, my roommates and I were recording a cover on my computer and I started singing. I was trying to emulate someone âÄî IâÄôm not going to tell you who that is âÄî and it kinda happened, I was like, âÄúOh, I can sing like that.âÄù No embarrassment, no judgment âĦ who were you trying to emulate? No, itâÄôs cool. [Laughs] You tend to sing about romantic struggles in a very forward manor. What are you drawing on for those lyrics? I guess real life experiences for a lot of it, but theyâÄôre definitely romanticized and blown out of proportion a little bit. I actually started writing (a song) about one girl and then we broke up and I finished the songs about another girl. Have these girls confronted you at all about the subject matter? I talked to one of them about it, and she just thought it was funny. If you had my job, what genre would you classify Spiritual Mansions as? [Laughs] No, thatâÄôs not fair! We definitely have a country aspect to some of our music, definitely a pop aspect and [weâÄôre] somewhat experimental in some ways. A lot of the attitude comes from early punk rock, I guess. Are you happier with âÄúTouchedâÄù than your last record? I think so. For some reason IâÄôm more attached to them, âÄôcause they were my first, you know? IâÄôm in some ways attached to the first record because I think I was more impressed with my own songwriting at that time, because I hadnâÄôt really done it before. Sort of the novelty of âÄúOh, I can write a song!âÄù? Yeah, exactly. Now, when I write a song I donâÄôt get quite the same rush. In keeping with our departmentâÄôs tradition of asking this stupid question âÄî what are the bandâÄôs favorite drinks? For myself, HendrickâÄôs and tonic with cucumber and lime. ItâÄôs a really good gin with rose petals and stuff; it tastes like lotion. Everyone in the band kinda likes whiskey. I like whiskey, too. [Laughs] Final words for the University of Minnesota public? Sorry to the freshmen who saw us play at âÄúFunk at the Fred.âÄù What happened? I was being a jerk. I made inappropriate jokes âĦ just awkward jokes. It was freshmen orientation, I asked how many of the kids had already gotten drunk and the whole place got super quiet.