Fences, a Seattle alt-pop band helmed by Christopher Mansfield, is gearing up to release a new album in October, and Tuesday, July 29, they’ll premiere the project’s lead single “Arrows” on the Seattle radio station KEXP. The band has an established underground following, but the song could thrust them into Hot 100 territory: It’s catchy, packed with emotion, and features Grammy award-winners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
This isn’t the first time Mansfield and Macklemore have worked together. The duo met years ago while gigging around Seattle, and Mansfield co-wrote a song on Macklemore’s 2012 album The Heist (“10,000 Hours”), and was featured on 2011’s “Otherside Remix,” which he co-wrote.
“Fences is a good friend,” said Macklemore. “He’s fu—d up in the same way that I’m f—-d up. Because of that, our lives relate beyond the music. I’ve always admired his talent for illustrating with words and evoking imagery. We’ve made a bunch of stuff together over the years and this here song about Arrows is my favorite one we’ve done.”
“We have the kind of relationship where we call each other up and the answer is always just, sure, whatever you need,” Mansfield said. Once Macklemore was added to the track, he said Lewis was the obvious choice for production. “He was by far the best person to wrap it up and put the bow on it,” he said.
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Fences is known for tortured love songs and emo anthems, but “Arrows” has a slightly lighter touch than the songs on its self-titled debut album from 2010. It’s largely about empathy, he said, and trying to let go of control in the search for your identity.
“Part of the reason I wanted Macklelmore on the song is because he speaks his mind about the fact that he doesn’t always feel like he has control over his story,” Mansfield said. “But he also understands that sometimes, it’s okay to go with it.”
Mansfield signed to Atlantic’s Elektra Records imprint last year, and was connected to Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla and Of Monsters and Men’s Jacquire King. Both Walla and King are listed as producers on “Lesser Oceans,” along with Ryan Lewis.
“When I heard Chris Mansfield’s demos for this album, I knew I had to work with him,” said Elektra president Jeff Castelaz. “The songs he and Fences cohort Benjamin Greenspan created for Lesser Oceans capture those moments that pass most of us by in our hectic lives.”
The album is available for pre-order tomorrow and will be out Oct. 14. Pre-orders include “Arrows” and “Songs About Angels,” which he uploaded to YouTube earlier this month.