It has always been our mission to bring you the best new music, so with that in mind I am introducing you to Manumit, an enigmatic, hugely talented, multi-instrumentalist artist who deals in music that spans many genre’s.
Manumit will be releasing his long awaited EP ‘ F**k Genre’s, Love Music’ on May 3rd and it promises to be a hell of a ride.
We spoke to the mysterious Manumit, who proved to be both interesting and intelligent, enjoy.
Introduce yourself to our readers? My name is Manumit. Who I am under this mask isn’t really important, but what I do is. I am a singer/song writer and producer in rock/metal/dupstep/drumstep/punk/drumnbass/electro
Where did the name come from? When I started toying around with the idea of producing electronic based music as a solo artist way back in 2005, I came across the name through a random internet search. Manumit means ‘to free from slavery’. It seemed to fit with what I was trying to do musically.
How did you get started? I started experimenting with drum sequencing and synth building way back at the start of 2000 and tried introducing those elements into the rock band I had formed around the time. It did and didn’t work as the tech we were using at the time wasn’t really up to scratch and was often unreliable. When the band ended in 2005, I started producing demos with a more electronic edge but then left it go dormant for a very long time. In that time, acts like Pendulum erupted onto the scene making me remember what I was trying to do way back then. Then dubstep broke the mainstream with acts like Skrillex, Modestep, Excision, Nero, Knife Party etc and I knew it was time to get back into creating electronic music. So it wasn’t until the end of 2011 that I started finding my feet again and producing electronic music.
What have you got going on at the moment? At the moment, I’m putting the final touches to my first EP and have already began serious work on my second EP which has a lot more of a rock electronic mashup compared to the first. I’ve started playing live shows also with a live band (drums, guitars, singing and MC) trying to bring a different flavour to the live performance rather than just dj and mix my tunes. On top of that, I’m planning my first music video for my track ‘Walk Away’ with Drew Hamley at Unit 15 Productions with a release in a few months hopefully. Also, I have a remix available on beatport as part of Man Without Country’s digital single bundle for ‘Migrating Clay Pigeon’. I’ve also written and developed a track with Jayce Lewis for his second upcoming album. But at the moment, there is doubt as to whether it will see the light of day this time round which is a shame to both of us as we both really like what came out. So a lot is going on at the moment you could say!
Favourite music and why? It’s tough to say a specific genre as I like a lot of things from NIN, A Perfect Circle, Tool to Alexisonfire, Paramore, Foo Fighters to Pendulum, Skrillex, Knife Party, Nero, Monsta, Sub Focus, Deadmau5. I like everything… Apart from Gabba…
Favourite book and why? I’m a massive Stephen King fan so I’m going to say The Stand. One of the most epic books I have ever read. But I do like reading a lot of classic literature as well like Shakespeare, Charles Dickens etc
Favourite film and why? A lot of films spring to mind but from recent history, it would have to be The Dark Knight. The tension is perfect, the suspense is spot on, the acting is impeccable. There’s not a moment in that film where I wasn’t glued to it wondering what was going to happen next. Wonderful.
Best experience in the business? One of the best experiences always for me is seeing an audience appreciating what you’re doing musically. All the time and effort and sacrifices you make doing what you do is always justified when you have people coming to you afterwards telling you how much they loved what you did. It’s empowering and gives you fuel for the fire. Other than that, I have had the privilege of knowing a number of signed acts personally over the years and the opportunity to meet a number of acolytes of the industry. So best experience from the industry in that respect is knowing that there are some genuine decent people out there who do this for a living who never lose sight of themselves no matter how famous they become.
Why should Soundscape readers care? I’m not about to start sprouting how incredibly original Manumit is because this has been done before in a number of similar ways. I just like to think there’s a level of uniqueness to it that you won’t get anywhere at the moment and the music is good. But as a broader question as to why people should care at all about new music, well, without support for rising acts, you’ll just end up getting stuck with the rubbish you often find in the charts or the factory line, industry created tragedies that get thrown at you by X Factor. Without you, the people, getting behind these acts, going to their shows, buying their merch and cds, these acts won’t be able to survive. Make an effort and get involved. Keep the scene alive.
Tell our readers an interesting fact about yourself? The most interesting thing about Manumit both as a producer and as a live act is we strive to preserve our anonymity. When you come to see us perform live, we all wear masks and hoodies. People often ask, why the mask? Why is it so important. I always refer back to a line Bruce Wayne says in Batman Begins ‘People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne, as a man I’m flesh and blood. I can be ignored I can be destroyed but as a symbol, as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.’ Now before people start thinking we’re a pack of nuts who walk around in the dead of night fighting corruption, let me explain. The music industry is over crowded with egos, fake personalities, and self proclaimed Rock Gods. With the invention of Music Television came a plethora of disastrous people like Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown who young kids look up to as role models. The same goes for certain people in the rock and metal world as well. I wanted to create something that doesn’t detract from the music, where attention isn’t put on the individual but rather on the mask and the music.
What’s the best and worst things about touring? The best thing about touring is being able to see different parts of a country and meeting a new group of fans at every show. The worst thing about touring is trying to sleep in a moving vehicle. Have you ever tried sleeping on a bed in a tour bus when it’s in transition? Nightmare.
Most embarrassing thing to happen to you while in the band? My first ever live performance as Manumit, I did a sort of dj set/showcase in support of Man Without Country. I came on and realised the table I had my laptop set up on was way too low. I’m quite a tall personal. The set was only about 25 minutes long but it was long enough to put some serious pain in my back while constantly leaning over my laptop. Eventually, I placed my hands on my back and arched myself backwards with my head in the air in front of a lot of people. A friend came up to me after the show and said ‘That’s the oldest you’ve ever looked on stage…’ Won’t be doing that again!
What’s your writing and recording process? As nearly everything I do is digital, I don’t take anything to the practice room to try out. but every track is different. It can sometimes stem from a vocal melody in my head, to a guitar riff I’ve been tinkering around with to just mapping out some drums and designing a few synths. It changes every track. But once I have something, I develop it more, start putting some structure to it and then engineer the sound and work in more beats, synths and melodies until I have a good working track.
What inspires you? Inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere at anytime. When it comes to lyrics, I draw from life and past experiences. Failed relationships, politics. Basically anything that can work in the structure of a song.
Best thing about coming from Wales? I’ve visited a number of cities in my life and I’m always happy when I leave them. I’m just not for the hustle and bustle of city life. Give me beautiful greenery and countryside anytime. Community is also a massive thing for me as well.
Who are your role models or idols? My tops ones are probably David Lynch (visual/audio genius. The textures to his sounds in his films are out of this world) Trent Reznor (the man can create the most powerful and moving pieces of music. Sometimes incredibly simplistic, sometimes incredibly intricate) David Bowie (so glad he’s back on the scene. His musical history speaks for itself) Eddie Vedder (incredible musician and songwriter) Layne Staley (he taught me everything there is to know about creating harmonies, may he rest in peace) Maynard James Keenan (the voice of an Angel. Enough said).
Hardest thing about the current business? Where to begin? Long gone are the days where a label would come and see you perform, sign you up and create a story for you. These days they expect you to come with a story already written. Labels aren’t readily throwing money at bands anymore. They expect you to work hard and create a great fan base for yourselves first. So self releasing, touring everywhere all the time, constantly self promoting all the time. The industry has changed massively in the last 10 years. The digital age has moved everything along rapidly and the music industry hasn’t really got up to speed with it yet. This is why we’re seeing companies like HMV and Virgin going under. Refusal to see the writing on the wall and doing something about it. The toughest thing for any act currently is trying to hold down a 9 – 5 job while actively touring, promoting, recording, writing and constantly pushing for that all elusive record deal. My hat goes off to bands like Revoker for doing this.
Favourite Batman actor? Adam West was hysterical in the 60s, Michael Keaton played the part really well, George Clooney and Val Kilmer never really suited the role so I’m going to say Christian Bale. More because Christopher Nolan has done such an amazing job of re-invigorating the franchise. Can’t wait for Man Of Steel…
The EP ‘F**k Genre’s, Love Music’ is released on May 3rd with a big release show at Hobos in Bridgend. https://www.facebook.com/events/144433992392330/
Photo credits – Chris Allan from Lionheart Studios