Spotlight On: MANIK
Since coming on the scene in 2011, MANIK has completely disregarded the line between house and techno with the utmost style and grace. His weapons of choice: releases on labels like Ovum, Hot Creations, and Culprit – soon to be releasing more on Poker Flat and BPitch Control – and appearances at some of the world’s most esteemed clubs and festivals. His ear is impeccable and in one listen to any of his well-crafted tracks, you can get a feel for his warm analog style. Although still a relative newcomer, he’s found himself among the elite for the right reasons. We look forward to the future of this New York-bred, LA-based DJ/producer. We got to catch up with him ahead of the release of his Weights & Measures EP about recent gigs, production, and one of our other favorite things – food.
RP: Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. You’re fresh off of playing at the Desert Hearts festival – how’d it go?
MANIK: No doubt! Yeah Desert Hearts was great – truly an awesome experience. It was my first time playing the festival and I had a wonderful time. The guys do a great job of really bringing this intimate feeling to a pretty large sized festival. The one stage is great too since everyone is there at the same time. Lots of whiskey was had.
You recently released Recourse with Cari Golden – such a great track – how was it working with her? Did she write the lyrics?
Yeah I was really happy with how this release was received! I have been playing it in every set basically since we made it in October 2015, and the feedback was wild then too. I love working with Cari because she is the best of both worlds. She is super professional when working with her and can still hang whenever and where ever. She wrote the lyrics to a beat I had and the rest is history. We are currently working on a follow up too.
Tell us about your upcoming EPs on Poker Flat & Bpitch – any specific themes or things you were trying to express with them?
My next EP is coming soon on Poker Flat on both Vinyl and Digital. I’ve done some compilation work with them over the years but not a full EP. I’ve known Steve since 2011. Weights & Measures is the title, and it’s just me having fun in the studio with my Moog and drum machines. And Bpitch Control has become sort of my European home label, and I am currently finishing up my next EP for them. I respect Ellen so much. Not only is she a great DJ, but she has a phenomenal ear for good music. So the next EP with them is my usual classic approach with grooves and deep NY/Chicago/Detroit vibes thrown in. Some acid house flavors too.
You’ve put out music on a lot of awesome labels! What other ones are you aiming to release on? Do you have one you’d consider home?
I would definitely say Ovum is my home label. I’ve been with them since 2010 and I did my first album with them. Right now I am just sticking to my main affiliates, but I do have some things up my sleeves.
How do you think your production style has changed over the years?
I think being someone that truly loves a lot of different styles of music from Acid House to Soul/Funk to 90s Hip Hop and real New Jersey/east Coast Deep House to indie rock, I have floated around a bit over the years. My true roots have always been classic sounding house/techno, and going forward, that’s where my head is at. Just getting back to basics and my roots. I feel better now than I ever have before as far as making music. I said this in a recent interview, but I’m just trying to make music that I would want to buy on vinyl. Shit that lasts a long time.
Do you make music in one location or mobile?
I have a studio out here in California which is my main lab with proper monitors and some hardware gear. However, I do produce on my laptop as well, where I run Ableton in conjunction with my personal sample library that I have built up since 2009 and some smaller Korg hardware.
How do you think your New York background has influenced your sound? Any home town heroes that stand out in your mind?
It’s just kept me hungry. I think it’s kept me grinding even when I think I’m not. Like, although I don’t DJ vinyl, I buy vinyl all the time, and collect tracks for my sets. I’m not content playing stuff I think everyone else will. Hometown heroes for me include Henry Maldonado aka Son Of Sound aka House2House. He has been doing his thing for a long while via Strictly days, and I have much respect for him. He has some new Son Of Sound dropping on Freerange that is dope. I also love Eli Escobar and what him and NightPeople NYC have been doing for a long time. Eli is one of the best in my book.
Tell us a bit about your 909 Til Infinity project. Do you like producing with someone else?
909 Til Infinity is an outlet for both Brennen (option4) and myself to do stuff we wouldn’t normally do under our solo names. It’s basically just party music for the floor that’s not to be taken too seriously. Sesne of humor house music. We both don’t usually dig working with others so, it’s been a great thing so far. It’s cool seeing how many people dig the project.
DJ-wise, you made a big splash at BPM. How was that experience for you? What about WMC?
BPM was a lot of fun. Got to spin with Bpitch Control crew and hang out a bit with friends- which is one of the best parts of this job. And WMC was great. Same thing there. I played the annual Ovum party at WMC and it was a really fun time.
Lastly – we can tell you love food as much as we do. What would you choose as your last meal and why?
Man, this is a tough choice, but it might have to be a whole entire pizza pie from of my favorite NY joints. You just can’t fuck with that.