1- Where did you grow up?
Cambridge, in the UK. A fun, loving but unremarkable childhood - a house and life full of music, but not musical if you see what I mean? We listened to music all the time, but no-one in the house every played any instruments or anything like that. Lived there for 28(ish) years before relocating to Portsmouth in the UK, which is where my music creation / production really kicked off.
2- What is one of the first songs you remember liking as a kid?
I remember listening to Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds" on vinyl a lot. And a lot of Mowtown and Northern Soul. And the soundtrack to the original production of Phantom of the Opera (Michael Crawford and all) that my dad, to this very day, still absolutely loves. One group that stood out to me from the time though were the Pet Shop Boys. "West End Girls" is still one of my favourite songs, ever.
3- What influenced you to get into music?
I think I just enjoyed listening to music so much, it was a natural next step. I had an urge to create but was never sure what. Tried lots and music just stuck and I found out I wasn't too bad at it. Plus, I spent a lot of my late teens / early 20's high as hell, so I could spend hours and hours just messing around.
4- At what age did you start playing/singing?
Well, I'm pretty much forty, and I'm not sure I've ever started... No formal musical education or understanding, no music lessons as a kid etc. I've been trying to play the bass guitar for years, and I've got a lot better at playing keys / synth over time - but not to the extent that I'd be willingly in a situation where I was actually playing for / in front of people. I've been playing around with, creating, writing and producing music for 20 years now, so yeah... about 20 years old when I really started. Bought a crappy keyboard, got knock off copies of Cubase (forget which version) and Fruity Loops (back when it was Fruity Loops as opposed to FL Studio) and off I went.
5- If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself after finishing school?
"You're creative - do some bloody creating!". I never knew, or ever felt, it was an option. We didn't have the greatest art or music program at school, so it wasn't until I went to Sixth Form College (16+ in the UK) that I really started to mix with people who took art etc. seriously. Came a bit too late for me from an education point of view, but it opened my eyes to the possibilities.
6- What are some of your favorite songs at the moment?
I'd find it hard to name specific tracks - I still tend to listen to albums / EPs over singles, but there are plenty of bands / artists I've been listening to. Been listening to Donor Lens a lot, Duett too... and Hallan (a local band from my city, Portsmouth). Been able to get back out to more gigs of late (since the UK live music scene has started back up after lockdown) so I've just enjoyed going to see whatever bands / artists are passing through - saw a band from Leeds called, English Teacher not long ago - I'd look them up too, they've got a great sound. There are a few artists / groups / bands I always tend to go back too. Joy Division, BoC, Tool, Aphex Twin, Bjork, Portishead, The Cure (to name some) that I find I always go back to and have done constantly over the years.
7- Do you listen to your own music?
I'm my number one fan. But yeah, I do. Obviously as part of the writing/creating/production process, but I do like to come back to released works - re-evaluate, hear with fresh ears and just enjoy all the hard work that went into creating it. More than once I've heard parts of a track I've written that I swear I didn't do.
8- Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
Never really think about it - happy to see whatever turns up and who comes along in the future... I've got a couple of collaborative tracks in the works (which I'm very excited about) for the next record - watch this space. I suppose my "dream collaboration" would probably be with Peter Hook. Such a huge fan of Joy Division and New Order (before he left). Listening to Joy Division was the reason I started to play the Bass guitar so to write a song with him would be such an amazing thing to do.
9- What is one of your favorite memories so far in your music career?
In terms of a "career", it's not been going that long (and career might be a bit of a stretch), but... I reckon when Future80's records said they wanted to put a record of my music out is right up there. That was a huge thing for me. Also, my work with the soundtrack for an online comic; Half-life: A Place in the West (by Neon Remedy Studios). That's a partnership that's been ongoing for a number of years now. Also, just meeting (generally virtually) loads of cool people, some of whom make music, some of whom make art and some of whom just love to listen.
10- What advice would you give to someone that is just starting to get into music?
Challenge yourself. Ultimately you need to do your own thing, but mess around with your take on other people's sound too. I always find inspiration if I try to write a song that sounds like one I have heard (maybe it's the style, the genre, a riff in it or all / none of the above) ... It never ends up sounding like the inspiration track, but I find that's always a great place to start from. It must be doing something right if it's caused me to pay attention to it... so I try to learn what that "thing" is and see if I can incorporate it into my own ideas.
Be sure to check out more of Manhattan's music on his social media and links below:
2nd / Latest Album "Can We Talk..."
Debut Album "Blue Sky Girl"
Bandcamp (Non Future80's Releases)
Campsite Bio (all links)