Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Interview: Mananabango (Southern Indiana)

Erin Miller and Mitch McGill are the husband and wife team that make up the Southern Indiana band Mananabango.
They have just released their first single, Bang Bang, in advanced of a full length album, Sine Fine, to be released this fall. The video accompanying the single is an homage to Orange Is The New Black, and takes place inside a women’s prison.

37- How long have you been together? 

Erin:  Mananabango was formed out of our marriage, really.  We have been married going on five years now, and started making music together about six months into dating.   So, our whole relationship has been based around Mananabango, and probably always will be. 

37- What is the main theme being expressed in the new single and video Bang Bang?

Erin: Bang Bang is really a power fantasy.  I would never actually harm anyone in real life, and I barely ever have anything negative to say to people or about people, BUT that being said, everyone has their limits, and I know what my limits are.   No, I would never actually shoot anyone, but people in general have a protective defense that they've built up over time, and that defense is usually based around empty threats.  People say things like: "Oh, if you do that, I'll kill you."  When they're really saying, "Please, don't do that, that would kill me."  But the latter statement is much more vulnerable and uncomfortable to admit to someone else, and it admits to the significant other that they have power over you.  So, instead, we choose the less scary route, and say threats to try and protect ourselves from getting hurt.  That is what Bang Bang is about.  The empty threat.  The scared little kid that doesn't want to get hurt, so they act tough and mean, when really they are wearing their heart on their sleeve, and asking you to not hurt them.

37: How was the video filmed?

Mitch:  The Video was 100% DIY. Erin and I both have a passion for filmmaking. It's really hard to knuckle your way in to productions in this area unless you are already in the ‘in’. This seemed like a good opportunity to go ahead, and throw something together for ourselves. This was a long time coming, and we had been buying our film equipment one piece at a time for the last year or so. It's incredibly rewarding to be able to finally see fruit from our labor.

37- Who is your favorite Orange is the New Black character?

Erin:  Oh! This is a tough question for me.  I am a fan of several of the characters, and all for different reasons, BUT if I had to pick, it would be Red.  The lovely actress that plays her is Kate Mulgrew, and I became a fan of hers when she voiced Flemmeth on the Bioware game, Dragon Age.   She has this ability to make a stern, harsh character very likeable and relatable, and her Russian accent is very well done.    

Oh, and I think it's great we finally get to find out what happens to Donna Pinciotti after she gets caught selling drugs, and changes her name to Alex Vause.  Eric Forman's girlfriend is all grown up now, and she is a fox. 

37- True. They don't call her Hot Donna for nothing.
Laura Prepon

37- Have either of you spent time in Correctional facilities?  

Mitch: Yes, I spent all of 14 hours in the Louisville Jail. That was more than enough for me. I spent a good period of my early 20s being a bit of a drifter. I got a speeding ticket and neglected to pay it. I drove on a suspended license for well over a year without even realizing it. I got pulled over and the officer was like, "well... did you know you have a warrant for your arrest?". I was like, "lolwut?" and he stuffed me into the back seat of the squad car after asking me 5 or 6 times if I had any drugs on me or in my car; I didn't. Got booked, filled out my "rape probability" form and got stuffed into a pen with a bunch of hard characters. Long story short, It took 6 hours AFTER my bail was posted before I was released and in that time was subject to someone being singled out by the guards, being made to look like a snitch, and becoming a target of derision and threats. This was enough time to get the point of the crass and dehumanizing process of being locked up. It gave me a different perspective on the whole system, I don't hope to be back anytime soon.

37- How does your experience compare or contrast to either Orange is the New Black or your own video of a women’s penitentiary?

Mitch: Well, Orange is the New Black is very good at showing the prisoners for what they are, human. It's too easy in TV culture to demonize criminals, or strip away the fact that they are people. Granted, some of those in the prison system have really done some inhuman things, but at the same time, some of them may have committed anything from victimless crimes, to forgetting to pay a speeding ticket. The system really is somewhat of a meat grinder, and after any amount of time in there, I can see what little good you have left fading away. Orange is the new Blck can sometimes be a little ham-fisted in making that point, but I think it's a good counterbalance to how criminals are usually portrayed in movies and T.V. As far as our satirical interpretation of the Pen, it's as realistic a representation of prison as Lord of the Rings is a realistic representation of vacationing in New Zealand.

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