Splash: Hi, Mandi. How long has your band, “of Verona” been playing together?
Mandi Perkins: We've been a band for about 2 years now.
Splash: Where is everyone from and how did you guys connect?
Mandi: I’m from Toronto and the other band members are from New York and LA. We are now based in LA though. I began writing with Dillon Pace for other projects in early 2010 (after he moved from NY to LA) and then we realized that the music we were creating together didn't sound like it could belong to anyone else. It was uniquely ours. And that is how of Verona began. Then in June of 2010, we met Jeff Sojka, saw him drum and asked him to join us. Luckily, he agreed.
Splash: You’ve certainly managed to gather momentum rather quickly with both KROQ and Hits Magazine calling you one of the top 5 acts to watch for and MTV about to start airing your brand new video. How difficult has it been to get where you are now?
Mandi: To be truthful it’s been a grind, but I think that’s life for every artist in the modern music industry. Although we quickly gained recognition from just a few demos that we put up, we also have a sound that is both commercial and indie. Meaning we aren't creating a sound that fits into any one specific scene, which can sometimes be tricky. But that often seems to be the case with many big bands like MGMT, Muse, Florence +Machine and others, so hopefully we can follow that trend. Fortunately, we have already garnered some great support from a few big industry players and radio stations. We also made the entire record ourselves, which takes a long time, but it's been well worth it.
Splash: How would you describe your sound?
Mandi: futuristic rock or maybe electro indie pop.
Splah: Tell us about your new album, THE WHITE APPLE. Who is putting it out and what does the title mean?
Mandi: We put it out in partnership with HYPE MUSIC. To understand what the actual title “The White Apple” means, you have to really listen to that particular song. But as a whole, the album is a collection of songs about realizing what is real and what is an illusion and learning to tell the difference; It's about letting go of the things we cannot change.
Splash: Is there a single off the album?
Mandi: CASTLES is the album's first single, with DARK IN MY IMAGINATION to be released next. We also released a more viral video for our song MATCH.
Splash: You’ve had a sold-out residency at THE VIPER ROOM here in L.A. and have played some great venues such as the EL REY and the TROUBADOUR. What’s next for of Verona as far as live performances?
Mandi: We are working on our Fall tour plans right now. We are looking forward to really playing this album out live. We have some very cool visual elements as part of our live show to really bring the songs to life.
Spash: Who are some of your songwriting collaborators?
Mandi: This album was written almost entirely by the band. I have so much to say and the band helped make worlds for me to say it in. We also produced and mixed it ourselves. Dillon handled the production and then mixed it along with Jeff.
Splash: What’s been the best or most exciting thing to happen to you personally in the music business?
Mandi: Singing with ROGER DALTRY at a benefit was awesome and surreal. We're all big fans of "THE WHO" Also the support of Hype and Converse has been really great for us. We are fortunate to have some really great sponsors in Sennheiser, Mac Makeup, Westone, D’Addario, Paiste and Swing House Studios.
Splash: And the worst or the most disappointing?
Mandi: We've been literally in the middle of 3 or 4 different label deals this past year when either the A&R or label head has gotten let go. Every time someone flew us out or sent over paperwork, there would inevitably be a problem a few weeks later. It was almost curse-like. We even had a situation where we went to meet with a label and a month later the entire label was shut down. That's why we decided to make the record ourselves and release it independently. We couldn’t rely on a volatile industry any longer.
Splash: What would you say is the biggest challenge you face as a female artist?
Mandi: You get put into categories a lot when you are a woman in the music industry. They like to think of you as either a pop artist or as a singer/songwriter. You just have to be who you are and hope people get it--because we are all made up of a thousand and nine things, and trying to pigeon hole an artist is a terrible idea.
Splash: Who are your musical heros? Who would you like to have lunch with and pick their brains if you could?
Mandi: Bjork, Bowie, Stevie Nicks, Leonard Cohen, anyone from Pink Floyd or Zeppelin. Dillon would probably also say Garbage and Jeff is really into dance now, so I’m sure he would love to chat with guys like Avicci and Skrillex.
Mandi: If there was one thing you could change about your career so far, what would it be? What would you have done different?
Splash: I wouldn't have had any shows until things were completely ready. With the sheer abundance of acts out there and with social media the way it is, people are quick to judge. Particularly in LA. And one bad show could take years to overcome. You can’t really play out and build things slowly like you could a few years ago. But patience and tenacity are key and just because things aren't happening for you right now doesn't mean they never will.
Splash: Describe your perfect L.A. weekend.
Mandi: Hanging with my nephew, hiking, and then sushi. Sushi is perfect anytime.
Splash: Where can people buy your album?
Mandi: Any digital site worldwide.
Mandi: And is there a website for of Verona?
Mandi: http://ofVerona.com and people can also find us on Facebook and Twitter: http://facebook.com/ofVerona & http://twitter.com/ofVerona
Splash: Thanks, Mandi. Best of luck with the CD and your upcoming gigs.