Ahead of their show at Leeds’ Headrow House, we sat down with The Garden to talk about their upcoming album, Mirror Might Steal Your Charm.
Their first release in three years, Fletcher and Wyatt Shears of the indescribable The Garden have put their all into the upcoming Mirror Might Steal Your Charm. The twin brothers have been making music together almost their entire lives, building their own kind of mix of genres within their music and dubbing it “Vada Vada,” perhaps to bypass critics pigeonholing their sound, something that’s easily enough achieved through their innovative and creative songwriting.
The Garden has been running for almost six years, with enough time under their belts (not even considering their respective solo projects) to garner a wealth of experience in the industry. They value this experience heavily in the creation of their music, alongside honesty: “You change as a human, and if you’re writing music honestly, then your music is gonna change, too,” Fletcher explains when I ask about how their influences have fluctuated from the past.
“For us, we do really honestly write the music. We’re not trying to make money with it or anything because,” he says, laughing, “that music is not gonna make us money. It’s just kind of an honest depiction, almost true-to-life in a way, of where we are right now in our lives.” They are truly making music of music’s sake, and if others enjoy it, then that’s a bonus, and they’ll do more. “But, at the end of the day,” Wyatt says, ”we like it, and that’s all that really matters.”
That’s one of the reasons why they’ve decided to bypass working with a producer this time, as well as in order to work entirely on their own terms. “I think we misunderstood going into it what a producer’s role was,” Wyatt tells me. “We were really just looking for someone who could engineer it, make it sound good.
“On this record, I literally listened to it every week or so, because I just like listening to it,” he explains. “With the other ones, I like them, but it doesn’t as much feel like it’s mine. It’s harder to take ownership when someone else was helping produce, but with this, it’s 100%.”
What else is different this time around? For one thing, Mirror Might Steal Your Charm sounds like it’s going to be the most coherent of projects The Garden has put out to date. “Right off the bat,” Wyatt says, “the last full album we did was a scattered bunch of songs that we made throughout maybe a year and a half just in between touring.” With some songs coming from two years before Haha’s release, and some just before it was released on the public, it all seemed a bit “messy,” Fletcher explains.
“This album is a lot more put-together,” Wyatt goes on. “It just bangs out song after song.” Unlike having an “avant-garde” or “art project” kind of feel like before, as they explain it at least, every song has a purpose and meaning in its place on the album. “They make more sense to the reader,” Fletcher says. “Whereas, Haha, you know, I’ll admit, was gibberish. But I liked making gibberish songs at the time, and now I don’t really.”
Not to say the album is built on a solid concept or forceful meaning, however; Wyatt and Fletcher don’t work that way, but instead write as their lives move forward. Of the singles released so far on the album, it’s obvious some thought has been put behind what the lyrics mean to their authors. “No Destination” is The Garden’s own classic blend of frantic drums and driving guitars, topped with melodic piano and beginning with the starting up of a motorbike, which has meaning all its own. “It’s making a scene for it, essentially, but it’s about, in like, no matter who you are, the journey to get there, to wherever your destination is, could be better than the destination itself,” Wyatt explains.
All in all, it sure looks like they’re pleasing audiences with whatever they’re making. With a packed house, nearly every attendee heaving to press closer and closer to the stage during their strobing performance, they certainly have fans in the right places. It’s their fourth or fifth time playing Leeds, and third time playing Headrow House, so they know exactly how to fill the room with their performance. It’s an act it’s obvious they enjoy, and never something to miss.
The Garden are playing SOMA Sidestage this coming Thursday, March 29th, with Tijuana Panthers and Cowgirl Clue.