Interview by: Monster
What’s the story behind Manicanparty?
Jess: We actually grew up together in Minnesota, and in high school we performed in several different music groups together. We went our separate ways in college, but would always reconnect during summer break. Our hang sessions eventually turned into us writing songs together. That’s the abridged version.
How would you describe your sound?
Pat: I think that’s for the listener to decide.
Jess: But if we have to answer, I think its generalness. When making music we focus more on what moves us rather than what to label it.
Walk us through your creative process. Do you each have a specific role when it comes to recording new material?
Pat: The process is different each time, but it varies. Anywhere from finding some weird sound from an instrument in the studio, to coming up with a simple chord progression on the piano.
Jess: After that moment, I will come up with the lyrical concept and vocal melody.
Pat: Then I jump in and essentially produce the song, usually by experimenting with several different percussive instruments. Once I find something I like I will record it and treat it as if it were a sample. In “Rebels,” for example, I found this 18-inch vintage Pearl Floor Tom that sounded like it came from a different planet, and I recorded myself hitting it three times; soft, medium, and loud for dynamics. I did the same thing to two other beat up drums we had in the studio, and then I chopped it up and layered the three drum sounds in Pro Tools. After that I basically start fleshing out the arrangement and layering it with analog synths and guitars sounds. A lot of our process is really about listening and reacting, you know a trial and error kinda thing.
Do you perform all of the instruments we hear in your music?
Pat: Hell yeah we perform everything! We stopped using software instruments a while ago.
“Rebels in the Light” and “Monarch” are both very powerful records. What was the inspiration behind them?
Jess: Thank you. It all started with me reading the Hunger Games series. Yes, I do read! One day Pat and I were messing around at the studio with a new synth we got, and it instantly hit me that the concept of the song we were working on should revolve around the theme of the series. I know some people think the Hunger Games is corny, but I feel the overall themes of community, determination, and overcoming struggle are very relevant no matter who you are or where you’re from. For “Monarch” we just purchased a Kalimba from our favorite music store, The Music Inn, in the Lower East Side. From the get go this instrument and I had a very special relationship. [Laughs]
Pat: Ok, weirdo.
Jess: I found myself playing that thing for several hours, coming up with different melodies until one struck me. The concept of the song was based off of a true event that occurred in my life. Bad shit happens to people, but I wanted to find the good in a bad situation. For me, I find the metamorphosis of a butterfly to represent change and renewal. A monarch butterfly seemed like the perfect symbol.
How did you come up with the theme for the “Rebels in the Light” video?
Pat: It was a collaborative effort between Jess and I, and our two friends Jarret Egan and Phillipe Grenade, who are film makers. We really admired their cinematic style and thought it would be perfect for the vibe of the video. After explaining the concept of the song, they came up with an abstract interpretation that we loved.
Your first live show is coming up (tomorrow) June 19th at Gramercy Theatre. Talk about the emotions you’re experiencing as that event approaches.
Jess: We’re Pumped! It was a big production to put together in a small amount of time, but we’re ready to kick some ass.
Pat: When I first heard about the opportunity, I think I sharted myself. It’s a huge honor to play that room for our first show. Nerves aside, I’m more than ready to show people who we are as performing artists.
What can fans expect from your live performances?
Pat: If you really want to find out, come see the show! I will tell you that our Tibetan singing bowl will be making an appearance.
Jess: Oh yeah!!!
Did it take you long to adjust to life in New York? That’s a major change from a small town in Minnesota.
Jess: Well Pat and I spent a lot of time in the Twin Cities, and I went to college in Minneapolis, which in my opinion is like a smaller New York. They have a very similar vibe. The only major difference is how fast-paced everything is here. It’s a little more chill in the Midwest, with a hell of a lot less hobos walking around.
You share a management team with rapper OnCue. How did the relationship with Atwork begin?
Pat: We randomly met OnCue through a friend and he played our music for Jason Salmon with Atowrk. The rest is history.
Jess: It’s really fun because we’ve all become a little family working out of the same company/studio.
Do you see more hip-hop or other genre production work in your future?
Pat: Totally. We look forward to collaborating with other artists no matter what type of music they make.
What other artists or bands are you big on right now?
Pat: tUnE-yArDs. Woodkid. The entire Gotye album is super dope too. Paul Simon of course. Haven’t stopped listening to the newest Bon Iver album since the day it came out.
Jess: Robyn. My Brightest Diamond. Of Monsters and Men. I’ve been on a recent Arcade Fire kick as well. Love James Blake. Always a fan of Lykke Li.
If given the opportunity, who would you most love to collaborate with?
Pat: I would kill to work with Gotye. I think Jess and I have been talking about that for a while now. Super innovative and very generous songwriter. His production is so intricate.
Outside of music, what else do you like to do with your time? Any other passions?
Jess: We don’t really have any free time. [Laughs] No, but really we literally work non-stop.
Pat: Ummm… eat, sleep, music. NBA.
Ok, now quickly choose one from each of the following;
Biggie or Tupac?
Adam Sandler or Andy Samberg?
Jess: Adam Sandler.
Pat: Vanilla Ice.
Pigeons or Planes?
Jess: Planes. Pigeons are gross. No offense!
Pat: Pigeons AND Planes. [Laughs]
[Laughs] That’s all right Jess, no offense taken.