Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
Every so often a record comes along which makes you stop what you are doing, prick up your ears, and pay rapt attention. One such album is the thoroughly excellent Truth by fast rising Polish producer MANOID. Out now on the always fresh Hafendisko imprint, Truth is a record which only needs a few moments to convince you that you and it are going to be good friends. By JOHN BITTLES
A new name to many, MANOID has been turning heads these last few years with some well received live sets, while his remix of Pastel Clouds by ticktock was a stand out on the excellent Best Of hfn Music 2017 comp released at the end of last year. Truth sees the producer on top form, tackling the album concept with a maturity sure to be the envy of those with years in the game. With tracks featuring the cellist from Atom String Quartet, brass by Jedrzej Kupiec and the vocals of former Trentemøller collaborator Josephine Philip, Truth is a thoughtful, emotion heavy epic full of melody and soul.
The album opens with the lush, jazz-tinged ambiance of No Time, a track whose deep atmosphere acts as a stimulant for both heart and mind. Next up, To Grieve ups the pace slightly, an eerie harmony and an almost dubstep wobble lending the song a sense of depth which will work wonders on both headphones and warm up sets. Other gems include the rich melodies and warm, enchanted air of For Roses, the Sven Väth style techno crunch of Forests, the haunted playground swoon of Are Burning, and the goth-tinged electronica of Take Me, which utilizes the vocals of Josephine Philip to stunning effect. Everything to be found here works together superbly though, making Truth an LP you really will want to listen to from beginning to end.
With the record a firm favourite over the last few weeks, I decided to find out more about the creator of these lush house beats. In the following interview MANOID discusses the new album, writing lullabies, meeting up with Hafendisko, playing live, and lots more.
So, pop on your headphones, have a listen here, and let us begin…
By way of introduction, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Hi! I’m MANOID. I’m a producer, sound designer and sound engineer. I work in Warsaw. I create electronic music set to emotionally engage the listener.
Your new record, Truth, came out on the 10th of October (26th for digital). For those who haven’t heard it yet, what can they expect?
I hope that it will take you on an interesting journey through various worlds of sounds. There will be various landscapes, and unexpected twists and turns, so pack your backpack ;)
If someone only had time to listen to one track from the LP, which should it be, and why?
Forests would be my pick. I feel it’s a strong, yet simple song that shows contrasts in my music.
No Time makes for a gorgeously evocative opener. Was this always going to be the album’s first track?
Yes, this song was the first one I wrote for this album. When I finished it, I decided that I was ready to make a proper LP. I had the sound that I needed and thought that this track would be the perfect beginning.
The atmospheric melodies and fairy tale chants of For Roses are an early highlight for me. Can you talk us through the creative process for this song?
It’s actually quite an interesting story. I decided to write a lullaby for my niece who celebrated her first birthday. I made some sketches and recorded them on the phone. I chose one which I made a lullaby from. After a month, while travelling, I decided to listen to the others, and one of them was the For Roses melody. I didn’t chose it for the lullaby because it seemed too dark for a small kid. But during that trip the melody just stuck in my head. I came home and quickly made a song.
Another personal fave is the deep dance floor groove of Forests. Are there any plans for an extended version of this?
Yeah, the track works very well on the dance floor. I’m playing it live in the extended version:) I’m not sure if I’m going to release it though. We’ll see.
The excellent Take Me features the vocal talents of Josephine Philip. How did you meet, and what made you decide to work together?
I created a sketch of this song and started singing for it myself. I’m not a vocalist, but I’ve recorded a few tunes. At the beginning, I did not plan vocal performances on the album. However, I felt that this song needed it. I’ve been a fan of Josephine’s voice since I heard her in the song Even Though You’re With Another Girl by Trentemøller. I contacted her through hfn Music. Josephine liked my idea. We gave ourselves total creative freedom, and that’s how we made the song.
The album has been released on Hamburg label Hafendisko. How did you first hook up with the good people there?
I quite often visit Hamburg because my family lives there. I knew the label before and I really liked the music that they released. I sent a demo and soon after we met at their headquarters in Hamburg. I remember that I was a bit stressed ;)
How well do you think Truth sits within the traditional Hafendisko sound?
I think that Truth is a combination of what is happening at hfn and Hafendisko. On one hand, it is music to listen to at home, and on the other to dance in a club.
Are you planning on touring the album at all? If so, where and when can we see you play?
I have many concerts in Poland planned till the end of the year. You can see me at the Mayday festival in Katowice and some of the biggest Polish clubs. Outside of our borders I will be playing in Oslo and Prague. Other events are coming soon.
For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing your live show yet, what can they expect?
Eclectic sets in which I change the tempos and moods. I develop songs from the album, I improvise and dance a lot. People can expect energy and a nice journey :)
When did you first get into house music? And what is it about electronic music that keeps you excited today?
Electronic music absorbed me some six years ago. I discovered that it is music that still has something to discover. The forms of expression are virtually infinite. I really like new sounds. When I hear something fresh I think: ‚Wow, how did he come up with that?‘. I really like to look for new sounds and spaces!
What five records should everyone hear at least once in their life?
Fryderyk Chopin – Revolutionary Etude.
Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi.
Kraftwerk – The Robots.
Björk – All is Full of Love.
Massive Attack – Live With Me.
Do you have any final words for our readers?
Thank you for your attention. Check out my debut album! I hope we meet at my concerts.
Truth is available now from the MANOID’s bandcamp page, and all good download and record stores. You won’t regret tracking a copy down.
| JOHN BITTLES
Photos: KRYSTIAN GOTOWICKI, MARLENA MATUSZAK