Cooljunkie recently caught up with New York City's up and coming DJ-producer MANIK, who's been cranking out hits on OVUM and will soon release his highly anticipated artist album. Here's what he had to say about his forthcoming artist album, his stint in Miami during Ultra week, and what the state of EDM is in the states today.
You're set to release your first full-length album, Armies of the Night, this year. Going into the studio for this effort, what was your thought process as far as establishing the tracks?
It's been an amazing process overall. I basically wanted to tell a story for my record, and I wanted to have fun with it as well. Armies Of The Night
is a combination of my vision of The Warriors
film, their journey home, and combining it into where I grew up - NYC. Highlighting that relationship was the key to my album. It's always been my favorite film/book and NYC has been such a big part of my life, so everything from the cover art and track titles is part of this joint story of NYC and The Warriors
. That's also why the sound has a 'nocturnal flavor' to it.
It’s being released on Ovum, an iconic label. Did that affect the creative process? Did you tailor the music to make it an ‘Ovum album?'
I'm very honored to release my first album on a label like Ovum. Even from all the quality full length's Josh has done for them, it's definitely special. As far as the creative process goes, not at all. In fact, I just made the music I thought would fit my album's story. Ovum is an open minded label - so it worked out well.
As a DJ-producer, do you think you have an edge coming from a market like New York City?
I think having an 'edge' is a state of mind. It's like going onto the court and being confident you'll win. At the end of the day it comes down to how you approach your craft. Are you going to try your best and figure out how to be successful in your industry or you going to half ass it? There are no coincidences in any business - music or not, and it's all in your game-plan.
You've got quite the touring schedule set up for the coming months. What dates are you looking forward to the most?
To be honest, I am really looking forward to all of them. I'm like a kid in a candy store right now. Can't wait for Rex Club in Paris and also playing with Lee Foss in Antwerp at Cafe d'Anvers. I am also excited to play my next hometown NYC date in a few weeks. Always fun playing for my closest friends. So yeah a lot of them!
You're set to play Miami at the end of the month during the now infamous Ultra Music week. What are you looking forward to most from this week of musical debauchery?
I am playing at the Electric Pickle for the first time and I'm so excited about that. The Ovum party is special this year as I'm playing it with my Culprit brosefs in the side room. I'm just looking forward to hanging out a few days with some friends and seeing people I only see during this time. My birthday is the 25th so that should be cool too. Getting some sun in will be glorious. Need to get my legs a bit more tan.
What are some of your favorite clubs to play in the U.S.?
There are a couple. I enjoy playing with the Verboten Flawless crew in NYC. Then my top favorite U.S. party thus far has been the Culprit Sessions on the LA Standard Rooftop. Their vibe is from another planet. Looking forward to playing there again this July.
Outside of dance music, who are some of your musical influences?
I could go on for days. I like a lot of stuff. I mean I'm a big real hip hop fan - Mobb Deep, Biggie Smalls - that entire era was what I grew up on. Being from Queens too, that was you. I also love classical and romantic period composers. Movie score music like Hans Zimmer and Jesper Kyd are some of my favorites. Trent Reznor is amazing too. One of my future goals is to soundtrack films and do some feature film scoring. That has always been a passion of mine and I have every intention on doing that. Trent has really jumped right into that world, which is great.
What are your thoughts on the state of dance music stateside today?
There's a huge spotlight on the stateside scene at the moment. At the end of the day it will always be a micro-niche of a micro niche. But it's good to see some of the mainstream picking up a few of the producers and "renting" them on big scale projects. On the underground end of it, yeah there is some healthy excitement on our scene. Artists like Lee Foss, Wolf & Lamb, Droog, and myself are making noise on a global scale, which is great. USA is really representing at the moment. Fans and club goers are generally interested in our flavor!
What can we look forward to from you for the remainder of the year?
My debut album, Armies Of The Night
, is out May 23rd on Ovum. I'll also be touring Europe in April and May for the first time. I'm playing some amazing shows, like at Rex Club Paris and Cafe D' Anvers in Antwerp, and also playing gigs in cities, such as Milan, Manchester, and Barcelona. I'm really looking forward to all of them. This summer I'll be at Sonar Barcelona and Tomorrowland festivals for the first time. Then later this year, I have my debut EP on Hot Creations and second 12'' release on Culprit. There's going to be a lot of other amazing stuff in the works. Those that know me well understand that I am always thinking 10 steps ahead.