Michael Shuman (Queens of the Stone Age) along with Tyler Parkford and Zach Dawes, form Mini Mansions; a band that sound nothing like you would expect them too. What they ask you to do is to expect the unexpected, and thankfully that strange mix works.

The band are heading our way for the first time this August to play the Reading/Leeds festival, so we decided to catch up with Shuman to find out more about this curious band.

You're band is based in LA - is that where you all grew up?

Yes. Zach and I grew together in the San Fernando Valley and Tyler grew up in Long Beach, CA.

Did your childhood have much affect on your music today? Did your parents have a big influence over your music taste?

The first records I listened to were from my Dad. When you're in elementary school you really don't have any other sources for music than what your parents like. So 60's and 70's tunes was what I was first introduced to. That still has an impact in my life today. Then I found out about punk rock from my friends. And that sure is lingering in my loins, as well.

When did you start going to shows and playing in bands? What was the music scene like where you grew up?

I first started playing in a band when I was 11. We were so excited about playing music that we immediately recorded a demo and started playing shows. My first club show was when I was 12. We made flyers, passed them out at school, and probably got almost 100 kids to have their parents drop them off at our local venue.

When I was 15 I started my first "real" band, Wires On Fire. We were embraced and supported by the older bands in the LA scene, and were given really cool opportunities to record at great studios and play with bands we looked up to. I am super appreciative of that support. I think people liked that we were these young kids going off and playing weird punk music.

Do you think the music industry is much different now to when you first started out?

It's completely different. Like I said, I remember making flyers for every show and passing them out at school and standing outside shows passing them out to all the people leaving the venue. Now you just post things on your facebook, myspace, twitter, and see what happens. It's a much quicker way to reach more people. Also, I remember buying records. Nobody really does that anymore.

Michael, Mini Mansions' music is a lot more chilled than QUOTSA. How did you guys come to write these styles of songs?

Ha. I guess you could say that, but there's nothing to really compare it to. It's just a completely different band than Queens. We like all kinds of music and this is just a different outlet. This record seemed like a very natural expression of the music we wanted to be making and the music we were influenced by. Sometimes you write a country song, sometimes a rock riff. This is a collection of our pop influenced material.

What was the writing/recording process like making the album?

The record is mostly based off of Tyler's demos, which also sparked new ideas that rounded out the completion of the songs. Tyler and I went back and forth with our personal demos, and then we would collaborate between the 3 of us to make it a Mini Mansions song. Recording was scattered over about 2 months, as we were also touring at the time. It was a little too scattered for my taste, but we had a specific vision which I think came across in the end. We spent a good amount of time rehearsing these songs before going into the studio, so there wasn't much writing while in the studio.

Your videos, like for 'Monk' and 'Kiddie Hypnagogia', are great and really well-made. Do you come up with the ideas for your videos or have any say in the content and how they were shot?

Yes. Videos, and other visuals, are very important to us. They are an extension of our music so we feel that they must be somewhat cohesive. The directors for all our videos have been friends of Tyler's, so he and them would collaborate on the themes and direction of the video together. We stay part of the process from the first idea to the last edit.

Is the aesthetic counterpart to your music - album artwork, videos, live performance- important to you as a band? Why/why not?

Totally. I mean, songs should be able to stand on their own, but all those other aspects help make a band. We are very involved and interactive when it comes to art. Our album artwork was all done by Tyler, and as I mentioned, so are the videos. I guess we try creating a world surrounding the music. A Mini Mansions world. Our music affects our album art, which in turn affects our videos, and now has started to affect our live shows, as well.

What is a Mini Mansions live show like?

More fun than you would think. There is a lot more energy and sound coming from us 3 than you would expect. It's a much different experience than listening to our record in your room.

You're playing the Festival Republic stage at Reading at Leeds this year- you excited? How do you think- or hope- QOTSA fans will react?

We're very excited to be playing Reading and Leeds. This will be our first time in the UK and we can't wait. I really hope the Queens fans come out and support, because they are such great and loyal fans. But I'm not so concerned about their reaction. By first listen they probably love us or hate us. I'm more looking forward to playing in front of new people and converting people into MM fans.

What else have you got coming up over the few months?

We have been playing almost everyday together working on material for our second record. I can't wait to record and share these new songs.



Their debut self-titled release is out now.