By Kevin Zimmerman
MNDR: Dance Diva On The Rise
Dance diva on the rise Amanda Warner – better known by her nom de pop MNDR – finds herself running out of breath a lot these days. Not just because of her splenetic, frenetic shows, which have quickly made her a club favorite, but also due to the relentless pace she’s set for herself. Working closely with producer Peter Wade, MNDR is in the midst of putting together her first album, following on the huge club hit she’s had with a ghettotech/IDM tune called “C.L.U.B.”
The reason for such purposefulness is a dogged determination to, in her words, “make every single track sound like a single. I don’t want to put out an album that sounds like a bunch of weaker versions of ‘C.L.U.B.’ which was finished a year ago. So there’s going to be a very slow song, an epic song, straight-up pop… just a wider base all around.”
The album, with an eye towards a spring release, will be the culmination of a journey that began in her native North Dakota. “Not the biggest music scene there is,” she laughs. Still, thanks to her father’s membership in a local r&b cover band, a young Warner was able to familiarize herself with recording studios and what live venues there were.
Graduating from a Minneapolis college, Warner headed for California’s Bay Area, forming the experimental pop band Triangle, which worked its way up the ladder and eventually landed opening spots for name acts like The Shins and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. But the pull of experimental electronic music found her branching out on her own.
At the same time, Warner began honing her craft as a songwriter and musician; invited to play keyboards onstage with old friends the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, she ended up instead designing a keyboard setup “that looked more interesting than a laptop” and showing former Slint guitarist David Pajo how to run it – a thrilling experience for her, she enthuses.
Now living in New York, Warner relishes her life as songwriter and artist.
“I make music every day, even if it doesn’t lead anywhere,” she says. “Peter and I will start making sketches in the studio, and things will start to develop. The only rule is that I want to avoid the ‘I want to make a song that sounds like this’ trap. The lyrics come along as the song gets built – I’ll usually have a picture or a story in my head, and together we’ll just kind of let it take us where it will.”