We recently caught up with Manchester based trio, Man Made, who have just been taken under the wing by none other than Jake Bugg’s management. We headed over to the infamous Night & Day Cafe on Oldham Street and settled down for a little chat with front man Nile Marr.
I’m told that Man Made came up quite organically, as Niles explains, ‘the two words go together really well we thought. It originally started as a band name but then actually, it became more of a focus and a mission for the band’.
For anyone that isn’t familiar with who you are, how long have the band been together? Nile tells us ‘I’ve been playing music for years; the tracks have been a natural progression and have been written over so many years. I use to go to school with my guitar, as soon as school finished I’d run to the train station, and get the train down to London. I had residency at a venue in London for a while there, I’d get the latest train back, and go straight back to school the next morning. Sometimes I had to catch the longest train back id I’d missed the quicker ones. I’ve played with a lot of different bands and people, but this is the line-up. I’ve been playing with Scott the drummer, for around 18 months now; Callum joined us around February of this year, so really, since February.
Man Made have been fairly busy recently playing for BBC Introducing and at Lattitude Festival and they’ve also supported the liked of Badly Drawn Boy and The Lemonheads.
‘Yeah’, starts Nile ‘BBC Introducing happened quite recently. The track has been played on rotation 3 weeks in a row. We actually still use a tape deck in the car which is fun and have a radio in the car too. Being in a band and hearing your track on the radio is exciting. Lattitude Festival I played a few years ago when I was still a solo artist. I wanted to really experience being a solo artist, I wanted for the songs to be intense and was keen to stand up and perform alone, vetting the tracks prior to being in a band. It’s really important for the songs to be intense and speak for themselves. Supporting The Lemonheads support happened a while back. I managed to bag the support last minute. My best friend was supporting The Lemonheads too. She’s an amazing song writer’. The friend in question is
Meredith Sheldon, ‘She’s amazing. Check her out!’ states Niles and continues ‘the Badly Drawn Boy support was coincidence too. I think living in Manchester and being around the scene, it’s inevitable, you’ll end up supporting TBDB. We were on the same line-up at Deaf Institute – It kinda happened through there really’.
Jake Bugg’s management team have taken you under their wing recently haven’t they? Are you guys excited about working with them? Yeah we are really excited to be working with them. Our management team has been around since the punk scene happened, they’ve been around for years and we love the way they do business. Everything with the band is D.I.Y. They are really encouraging of doing things hands on and in-house. For example the band t-shirts are made at home, the tracks are recorded at home – we tour in a mini bus – it’s all encouraged by management, and we really love that.
It’s gotta be pretty exciting to work with the management that helped launch Jake Bugg’s career? Are you excited about where it could take you looking at Jake’s success? He went from playing at venues like The Castle here in Manchester and Ruby Lounge to of course where he is now.
Nile: Live shows are key for us – as long as the people who wish to see us live can see us, anywhere they want to. Then that’s all that matters. Any venue, any time, as long as the band are writing good songs and people want to hear our music and see us live, that’s what it’s about. That’s one of the great things about American bands. When I was around the age of 14/15 I spent a lot of time state side, around Pacific North West America. I was suddenly around different sounds and a whole different way of working. At the time, I wasn’t excited about the UK music scene; I suddenly got into all these bands where the sound was heavily driven by guitars. The ethics and ethos of how these bands were working and touring was something I hadn’t experienced in the UK. It got me really excited about music and how to do things. The band are heavily influenced by Fugazi and Modest Mouse amongst others.
Man Made’s single TV Broke My Brain is set to be released in September. Tell us more about the track and what it means for you guys.
Nile: The single was written in Sheffield. The song itself, I wanted for it to be as direct as possible. I love that about punk rock and how direct it is. The track is about having no organic experiences. As soon as you engage with a screen for example, it’s not real. The track is about technology. I think people engaging with technology should still question it at all times. Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone and technology and what it can do for me and what it offers me, but always question it even if you do use it.
In one sentence sum up the track for us.
Nile: TV Broke My Brain – The modern relationship with technology.
What are your thoughts on the Internet and Social Media?
Nile: The band use Facebook and Twitter to reach to our fans, the internet has made a huge impact on the music industry. It’s great that anyone can make music and share it but at the same time, anyone can make music and share it, so there are pros and cons. The music industry was cruising for a change, and they’re still reluctant for the change. Social media is great but older bands in the past had no social media, there was a sense of mystery and it’s more about the art as opposed to the content. It’s great to have the option to allow fans in on more.
You recently have been announced to play BBC Radio 1 Introducing stage at both Leeds & Reading Festival. How are you guys feeling about that? Looking forward to it? Do you guys go the Festival as a fan of music?
Nile: I haven’t been for the last few years as I’ve been busy with bands and playing shows. I think Festivals have changed a lot though from what they use to be about. It’s something we have been to, it’s one of them festivals you go to as a kid & grow up with. We are excited about playing though! It should be a really fun few days!
The XFM Xposure showcase is shortly after Leeds & Reading. That’s taking place here in Manchester, Ruby Lounge right? Tell us more!
Nile: Yeah it will be our first gig in Manchester for a while. It’ll be great to play an actual venue with a ceiling after Leeds & Reading, you know?
How’s the support been from XFM?
Nile: XFM played TV Broke My Brain on the exposure slot – it was John Kennedy’s slot. It’s exciting as a band to hear your tracks in context on the radio. The support has been great. Clint Boon also played my EP a few years ago, I went in to the studio and we played through it during the hour. It’s been so nice to have our own home town radio support us and be behind us.
What do you think about the music scene in Manchester? With its history and all that!
Nile: I don’t think Manchester has a scene anymore. The infrastructure is still there. Pay to Play started to happen. We had to pay the promoter to play the gig. The band or artist would have to sell all the tickets, and whatever tickets you don’t sell, you as the band or artists would have to pay for them. If you’re an unsigned band, which the unsigned scene is big in Manchester, the bands aren’t earning any money and it affects the infrastructure.
I think a lot of artists are tired of the stereotype. Manchester has a great history of music and its important and something to be very proud of, but we have to move forward from this. It’s not relevant anymore. A lot of bands are trying to break away from that right now.
Counterfeit: What else is on the cards for Man Made towards the back end of this year? It sounds like its all systems go!
Nile: The track is being released; the video is being put together as we speak. Reading and Leeds Festival is happening and XFM showcase. We are sat on a finished record & we have been busy writing for the next records. We want to be a touring band, if it was up
to me, we would be in a van all the time! So a lot of writing and gigging is part of the plan!
If you readers are heading to Leeds or Reading, keep an eye out for Man Made performing at the Radio 1 BBC Introducing Page. These boys are not to be missed!