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Just Announced: Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness (11/27/15)

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Seven albums, three bands, and 15 years into his career, Andrew McMahon continues to reinvent and reinvigorate his music.

The Southern-California singer/songwriter’s latest album, the self-titled first release of his new Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness project, was released in October of last year and finds McMahon spreading his wings into new sonic and thematic territories while retaining his penchant for deeply personal lyrics and confessional melodies.

Reinvention, though, is nothing new for McMahon, who started out fronting emo band Something Corporate before breaking off for a solo project under the name Jack’s Mannequin. McMahon recently made a change again with the release of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. “I think I was ready to move on from Jack’s Mannequin,” he said. “A lot of that music was so closely attached to a really difficult time in my life that spiritually I was ready to cleanse myself of that and move into a new, exciting chapter that didn’t have to be so closely attached to my cancer,” referring to his diagnosis and battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

With a newly born child, McMahon was ready to look forward and felt a new name, his own name, was a necessary step to take in his career. “I felt like I was in a new moment in my life where so many things were changing and my emotional and spiritual headspace was so much more grounded. In that it was like this is the moment to step out and say, ‘Yeah I am a guy in a band but my name is Andrew and I’d like you to hear my new songs.’”

Still, though, the inclusion of “in the Wilderness” in his moniker adds a layer of disconnect he felt it was important to have. He explained, “One, this was such a collaborative process. Even though I consider myself a solo artist, I can’t deny the fact that there are so many people whose hard work factors into these songs, and this was an extremely, if not the most, collaborative process I’ve ever been a part of. The other side of it, when I hear the word ‘wilderness,’ that’s really what I was feeling. This sort of strange moment where I was on this adventure, I was stepping into new territory, I was maybe a little afraid but also very excited to walk into this new world.”

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness finds McMahon co-writing songs more than at any point in his career, working primarily with Mike Viola (of Candy Butchers fame) and James Flannigan to flesh out his more pop-centric songs. “I didn’t want to rest on my laurels if I was gonna make a new record under my own name. I wanted to find new melodies and find new changes and find new rhythms to set those songs to. Certainly I learned that by getting into a space with other people and being open to that, you can find your way to new sounds.

“There’s so much spiritual and physical energy that it takes to make a record. I just dug in really deep and got into my corner and said, ‘I’ve gotta make a great record for me.’ I had to make all these collaborations I was stepping into about making a great record for myself. I think, like anything, you can’t take for granted what you have and you also can’t get too set in your ways. You gotta just keep moving and keep your eye on the future. I’ve been really blessed, there’s no question about it. I’ve been very lucky to be supported by a lot of great people who believe in my career and believe that it deserves to keep moving forward.”


On Friday, November 27th, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness will be performing at Town Ballroom with New Politics. Tickets go on sale this Friday (6/26 @10am) and can be purchased here.