It’s been over two years since Mister Goodnite last surfaced online - the bittersweet tune ‘Old Enough’ was their last release until earlier this year, but it offered a look into the future of the Los Angeles duo (made up of Mini Mansions’ Tyler Parkford and Drab Majesty’s Alex Nicolaou), who are now on the brink of releasing a brand new mixtape in the form of ‘Nite In The Attic’. The tape is an ode to Light In The Attic Records, with each track on the tape sampling a different song from the label’s enormous back-catalogue, which houses the likes of D’Angelo, Francoise Hardy, Marcos Valle, and many, many more.
We’re excited to premiere a brand new song from the mixtape today - ‘Adulteress’, a cloak-and-dagger-esque tale of “the both sides of paradise,” which also happens to be Parkford’s favourite song on the mixtape. Plus, it samples Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons' song ‘The Night’.
We spoke to Tyler Parkford about the new mixtape, as well as the status on Mini Mansions Album #3, and more…
COUP DE MAIN: When we last interviewed you in 2015 you’d been working on the new mixtape for two years at that point. What was it about now that felt like the right time to finally release it?
MISTER GOODNITE - TYLER PARKFORD: I think it was a series of things. #1, I was putting it off for a while because of touring. I didn’t think I could promote it, or release it on tour in a way that I wanted to. Alex [Nicolaou] was touring too, and it became this never-ending story, that one of us was always gone. I wanted at least, to have a special series of shows, if I was going to put it out. I can’t believe it’s been four years!
CDM: Is the new mixtape going to be released on cassette?
TYLER: I can’t really say. I listened to the Jeff Sessions under oath thing today, and I just felt like I was under oath all of a sudden. <laughs> This is all stuff from Light In The Attic Records, everything that they’ve put out and their subsidiary labels, and they only have certain rights in terms of promoting it. It’ll mainly be a digital release. They’re really stoked on it though.
CDM: Are you gonna play any shows around the mixtape’s release?
TYLER: Yeah. That’s also to be announced. Definitely within the next few months we’re going to have a series of shows that will be fun to do, because it’s been a while.
CDM: The mixtape features some previous work from Mister Goodnite (‘Old Enough’, ‘Sucker Free’, ‘Bottom Line’, ‘One Against Five’ etc) - what was the decision process for using those older cuts?
TYLER: I originally put those songs in a compilation mixtape that I did for a friend’s vlog, that I feel like a lot of people-- because it was long-form, it was just A and B-sides, you couldn’t skip to the next track. I felt like I could easily re-use those tracks since they were using material from Light In The Attic anyway. I re-recorded them and mixed them. I felt like it’d be a nice way of re-introducing them to people who hadn’t heard them. Good call though.
HOW I FEEL ABOUT ‘NITE IN THE ATTIC’…
CDM: What was the time-frame of recording/working on the mixtape?
TYLER: That’s why it also took four years. I started in late 2013, unless you’re remembering it wrong, but I trust your memory. I started it not knowing what I was getting into, because it was initially a way to put out a mixtape using samples, but if you centralise all the samples on one reissue label like Light In The Attic, you can have a co-operative release. They’ll be stoked because you’re promoting their label, and also cross-promote. Instead of being like, ‘Yeah, I didn’t license any of this stuff!’
CDM: How do you manage to multi-task everything on your plate - between Mister Goodnite, Mini Mansions, and your touring last year with The Last Shadow Puppets?
TYLER: We’ve been really blessed, with Mini Mansions, to have conflicting schedules, but somehow it’s aligned perfectly with when we want to release something. We’ve had this next record-- we wrote it while we were all on tour, somehow we’re able to still make the pieces fit. When it comes to my own personal stuff, weaving that into going on tour with The Last Shadow Puppets, or Mini Mansions, or Sparks, it’s really easy for me to do that kind of stuff, because I just need myself, for the most part. And I depend on other people to record it in a way that sounds good, later on. But… I don’t meditate. I probably should develop some sort of a system, I definitely need more balance in my life.
CDM: Do you still do wedding stuff (shooting/editing) and mid-century furniture rental stuff? (The Internet says these are what you used to do).
TYLER: <laughs> I’m still in cahoots with those people; the events world. It depends on the event, but it’s always fun. I actually did a fun party for the Pride Parade, that was a lot of fun. Pretty hectic, pretty lively. But I still do that. I pride myself on doing odd jobs. It depends on the time of year, if it’s needed or not. For the most part, I just need to work. If I’m just chilling in L.A., partying and writing, it’s not enough for me. Maybe I’m just subservient, I just like to work for someone. It gets it out of my system.
CDM: You also worked on your sister’s film ‘Kate Can’t Swim’ doing composition - what was that process like?
TYLER: A lot of fun! It was her first full-length feature, and most of what I wrote was before I saw anything. I didn’t write anything to picture. It allowed me to develop a scene by myself. It was great seeing how she and her boyfriend Josh [Helman] put it together, how the editors really sculpted it.
MY FAVOURITE SONG ON ‘NITE IN THE ATTIC’ IS…
CDM: How does the Mister Goodnite songwriting process work between you and Alex? Do you tend to sing the lines that you each wrote yourselves?
TYLER: It kind of depends on the sample. The reason why I keep doing it, and the reason why it doesn’t bother me as much that I spent four years on this and still haven’t released it, is that it’s cathartic for us to get together and make up shit over a band that recorded something 40 years ago. Sometimes it’s premeditated and I’ll have the melody, then we’ll develop the words and lines together, or vice versa. But on this particular mixtape, I really wanted to showcase him more than he really was on the old. On the old stuff, he only sings on a couple of things, whereas this one has a whole song with just him. I like having him in that world, as another entity.
CDM: How long does it take to finish a Mister Goodnite song? It sounds like there's so many different components when you listen back to them.
TYLER: I guess this took longer… but I can crank ‘em out. Some of these songs I could do in a few hours, it’s just really a matter of cracking the whip on myself after I sing over it. With this mixtape I was interested in playing with the old idea where I just sing over a track, and cut the track up a little bit. But I’m not trying to be a DJ or something. With this mixtape I wanted to take a step forward and utilise, and play over it, and layer as many things as I could, to make it as eccentric as possible. I just didn’t know what was too much, so that’s why a song that I would write in a couple of hours would turn into a couple of weeks or months.
CDM: How did choosing the samples for each song work?
TYLER: I literally listened to the whole catalogue. And there’s still always more. I kept thinking, ‘There’s gotta be one extra song that I haven’t heard yet, that could be the amazing, hit track.’ So when I choose, I’m really quick. I don’t even listen to the whole song sometimes, I skip in like 20 second intervals to see if there’s a hook that really grabs me.
CDM: I think my favourite is the radio sample at the beginning of ‘Every Man’.
TYLER: That’s Alex! It’s literally Alex. He’s a DJ for KXLU, so he kind of has that persona already.
CDM: What can you tell us about any new Mister Goodnite music videos?
TYLER: There’s a music video for a couple of tracks. It’s kind of funny, because both videos for this mixtape are all in New York, it’s just me chilling in New York, and weird things happening.
CDM: If you could re-write a soundtrack to any movie of your choosing, what would it be?
TYLER: Probably ‘Legend’ with Tom Cruise. Actually, I think it was re-written. I could do it a third time. This is hard. ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ could use a less loony score, if I just banked on the drama. I think any movie I’m attracted to, I already inherently like the score… Maybe ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, just because I felt like whoever played piano was just falling asleep the whole time. <laughs>
CDM: Is there any update on a new Mini Mansions album?
TYLER: The update is that it’s finished - as of a couple of weeks ago, basically finished. We’re working it out, but basically so far... we sealed the deal, the contract with Fiction, the label that we worked with on the last record. We’re just waiting for them, they have a series of labels that they’ve worked with in the past for the U.S.. It’s really more a question of if we’ll release them as a slew of singles in the next year, or as just one thing.
CDM: Are you guys self-managing still?
TYLER: We are, and that’s going well.
CDM: Will Mini Mansions tour again?
TYLER: We are going to tour. When, is more of the question. I think it’s more about planning out towards the end of the year, especially possibly releasing a single by the end of the year, and we’ll see. I do know, that very very soon, we will go on tour.
MY #1 FAVOURITE LOVE SONG IS…
CDM: You more recently went to the UK with Sparks to play the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival - do you guys have any further plans to play live with them?
TYLER: Yeah, we’re gonna be their band for the August tour. I think that’s a lot of Europe.
CDM: What’s it like playing with them?
TYLER: It’s different. It’s very fun. They’re our superiors in a way, and very calm. We’re all dorks about their music, and at the same time they turned out to be sweethearts. It’s going to be fun.
CDM: When the Golden Voyager was sent into space, there were musical selections included that defined the human race. If you were to send a new Golden Voyager into space, and could choose five songs to be on it, what would they be?
TYLER: For another potential life-form? To be indicative of the human race? Oh wow. If I were forced to do it… I’d open with ‘We Are The World’, you have to, it’s literally saying, "We are the world." ‘All You Need Is Love’, 'Benny And The Jets’, ‘Homosapiens’ by Pete Shelley - he’s from the Buzzcocks, and he came out with a solo record back in the day, that song is one of the best songs. The fifth one, probably ‘Freakout!’ by Mini Mansions, just to promote ourselves to another planet.
CDM: I’m not sure if you’ve ever been asked, but where did the name Mister Goodnite come from?
TYLER: I wanted it to be Mister something. I think I passed by-- there’s a small chain of motels called Good Nite Inns, and I just liked the way it looked, and it kinda made sense as a croony, old Vegas lounge name. There are a lot of other Misters that I had, but they all sounded too much like it was a graffiti artist. Plus, I like to sleep, it’s a hobby of mine.
Mister Goodnite’s new mixtape ‘Nite In The Attic’ is due out soon - take another listen to the new song ‘Adulteress’ below…