Interview: Jonathan Corley of Manchester Orchestra

Emo-punk band visits the Twin Cities

PHOTO COURTESY MANCHESTERORCHESTRA.COM

PHOTO COURTESY MANCHESTERORCHESTRA.COM

Conrad Schoenleber

Emo-punk is a genre going through the final throes of death. Constantly derided and criticized by music junkies, few artists have a desire to make music that will be automatically pegged as repugnant. Still, itâÄôs a genre that people listen to and care about, regardless of its critical standing. Emerging from the void left by bands such as Brand New and Taking Back Sunday comes the golden child of this sagging genre, Manchester Orchestra. Recently featured on the cover of Alternative Press magazine, Manchester Orchestra is attempting to reclaim and bring legitimacy to their scorned style. Earnest, dark and heavy, Manchester Orchestra sounds like a teenage therapy session. ItâÄôs music that soundtracks the lives of troubled teens allowing the release of pent-up frustrations âÄî and thereâÄôs nothing wrong with a little catharsis. A&E sat down with bassist Jonathan Corley before their March 21 show at the Varsity Theater to discuss touring, life and the pursuit of meaningful music. What are the best and worst moments of the tour so far? The worst moment may have been yesterday, actually. Woke up on the bus at a truck stop and the bus wasnâÄôt starting. Apparently the gas station we were at didnâÄôt clearly mark a bad tank of gas and when we filled our bus up it wouldnâÄôt start. Our friends Brother [MOâÄôs tourmates] ended up driving across the border and picking us up. What was the original idea of Manchester Orchestra? Early on it started as AndyâÄôs [Hull, guitar/lead singer] side thing. We were all in different bands. HeâÄôs had the name since we were sixteen. WhatâÄôs the meaning of the name Manchester Orchestra? I mean Manchester is the city Manchester, kind of the idea of Morrissey and the Smiths and that entire scene. Orchestra is self-explanatory, just a bunch of people making music together. This lineup here has been pretty solid for the past three to four years. A lot of time your music has a darker tone. Where did that come from? Honestly weâÄôre just writing music that we enjoy playing and thatâÄôs kind of what has happened when we sit down to record. We have to play this night after night. What would you say to a college student to convince them to come to one of your shows? IâÄôd probably sit and have a conversation with them about how this is the third time weâÄôve played this venue. We actually played this venue the day the I-35W bridge collapsed. It was a pretty chaotic day. IâÄôm sure it was for everyone who lives here as well. I was surprised everything went forward and we continued to play, definitely a different vibe that night. Plans for the future? The idea for the songs on âÄúMean Everything to NothingâÄù [MOâÄôs recent LP] was just another step in the progression from the record before. WeâÄôre gonna be going back in and recording in June this year.