It’s been an amazing year or two for Manikin and we’re fortunate to have a producer and DJ of his calibre down for Roller Easter Thursday – Rosemount Hotel. We sat down for a chat to learn a little more about his name and what makes him tick in the studio.
ROLLER: We’d love for our roller fam to get to know you a bit more, can you tell us about your new production name “Manikin”, why the switch and how did you choose that?
MANIKIN: Most people know me socially as Fendi. It became my alias because I thought when playing gigs at Big Ape, Dorcia, Prestige, Animal House and the rest of them that it would make me more identifiable. In 2016, however, I felt that Fendi did not express the emotion and meaning of my music. Manikin is a gesture to The Manikins, who were one of Perth’s first ever punk bands from the late ‘70s; and arguably the G.O.A.T. of Perth punk rock (sorry Miles Away). The band has some incredible alumni, including Kim Salmon (The Scientists), Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus) and most importantly, Neil Fernandes (my Dad). Neil is an incredibly gifted musician and imparted his love for and knowledge of music to my sister and I from a young age. We both owe a lot to him and I thought he would enjoy this small gesture.
M: Thank you! To be honest, working with Matty was a fair bit of luck and good timing to slot into his schedule. Believe it or not, Daydream started as a liquid tune (which I expect will see a release…). Then it morphed into a stripped back stepper, which changed many times again (some of which will also see a release…). The final form was Daydream. The lads at Terra Firma and I felt that a vocal would help take the tune to the next level. When Warren (Terra Firma) told me that Matty Sense was keen to collaborate I was stoked. His words were, verbatim: “Shesus Christ that third drop… This tune is naughty it’d be kind of rude not to. F***ing hell, I’m hell impressed can’t lie”. We worked over a couple of weeks back and forth to get the most out of Matty’s vocal and ended up landing on what we released. I would love to work with Matty again hopefully this year.
R: We’ve heard some rumours of some more releases on the way in 2019, any you could tell us about? Could it be a big year for Manikin? What should we expect?
M: I want to know who is spreading rumours about me… But yes! There is more music on the way. My tune Octopus is making the promo rounds and is forthcoming on a Delta9 Recordings compilation in April (check Skankandbass radio). I have maybe 6-8 tunes sitting across a range of labels for 2019 release touching on a few different vibes. My studio whiteboard has a list of works in progress that I will also eventually work through. In terms of what to expect, while not all my tunes adhere to this (absolutely the first to admit…), I am determined from this point to only release music that will hold its relevance and does not adhere to current trends. That’s a key driver as to why my inputs is relatively low. For me quality is infinitely more important than quantity.
R: Though the name Manikin is relatively new, you have been producing for quite a while now, can you let people know a bit about your production journey, have you nailed down a process in the studio? Are there any mentors you’ve had that you’d like to mention?
M: I learned to make electronic music by watching and reading a lot of content, sitting in on studio sessions with friends and harnessing my song writing background for creative process. I spent a long time remaking tunes to be able to identify and break down the elements of a tune piece by piece, so I would be able to then build a track with a similar structure; reverse engineering I guess. I also used to download the stems to every remix competition I could possibly find; even if the originals were not to my taste. I rarely ever entered the competition, but this was really useful as a training tool and again, building a creative mindset. I lack a set process, though I have definitely nailed down my ‘go to’ tools in the studio. I know exactly what I like, and I know exactly how to use it and use it well. For me that is key. Know a couple of things better than anyone else rather than many things generally. In terms of mentors; Jeff and Jono Hansen (Ekko & Sidetrack) and Tony (Gran Calavera) have always provided great guidance. They are also some of my best friends so they could never hate me for asking advice. My other ‘mentors’; every single Computer Music tutorial; Sub Focus Chase & Status, Rusko… These tutorials showed me timeless techniques and principles on software and hardware that you can only find in museums now.
R: What’s the best thing about being in the studio?
M: The best thing about being in the studio is that moment when it clicks and you know it has clicked. To be honest, my output has been low (released three songs in 2018) because I find the studio incredibly discouraging most of the time. When you are trying to create something that you are proud of and truly original (as I eluded to above), it is hard to be satisfied with your output. Having said that, when you find momentum and enjoy yourself the studio is one of the best places to be.
R: Who are your producers that you watch who constantly inspire you to make new sounds?
M: Every Gran Calavera release inspires me for starters. I’m also inspired by Jeff, Jono and Daddy Karl’s (SHOCKONE) work ethic. They are always pushing themselves to be better and hold themselves to a higher standard. In terms of the big dogs, Break, S.P.Y and DLR come to mind. What I love about them is their unwavering stature and relevance. I would argue, with all due respect, that their latest output is not game changing from a sound design perspective, but always solid, moves the floor and will be played for years to come. New sounds and trends come and go, but strong drums and vibe are timeless. I also find myself drawn back to Total Science Enei and Dawn Wall
R: Have you got a current top 5?
M: Would you believe me if I said not really? Output is so extensive at the moment I’m finding it difficult to keep up. I was impressed by Buunshin’s ‘Presence EP’ on Dividid, and Daddy Karl’s ‘Underloved’ is a banger. Break’s recent flourish of tunes are incredibly tight. I saw Rufus Du Sol a few weeks ago and loved their latest record. This last weekend I listened to Jimmy Eat World’s ‘Bleed American’ again… that’s my current #1. My missus also makes me listen to a lot of Ariana Grande in the car. She has some belters.
R: Where can we hear and buy some of your production work?
Awesome! Thanks for the chat and we can’t wait to catch you on the big stage at the Rosemount Hotel on the 18th!!