By Ashley Birch

Although the name Bipolar Sunshine is new to the music scene, Manchester’s Adio Marchant has lived in recording studios for the last seven years. After an unrewarding two-year stint studying media at university, the 26-year-old redirected his focus back to what he considered to be his first calling: music.

He became one sixth of Kid British, who he classified as melodic rap, but the group struggled to shed the ska genre that they were branded with and as they didn’t want to make niche music, they agreed to split.

After this, Adio intended to just write songs for other artists and admits to not knowing he could actually sing until about three years ago. His producer and close friend Jazz Purple noticed his rhythmic tone and told him to pursue music himself.

Since 2013, his career has taken on new life. He’s made two EPs and has been touring alongside Haim, Bastille, and Rudimental. So with 2014 set to be a defining year for Bipolar Sunshine, we talked to eclectic singer about the rebirth of Manchester’s sound, his approach to music videos, Kanye West, and much more.

Do you identify with the musical heritage of Manchester?
I think you either have it or you don’t and I’m just one of those guys that has that Manchester vibe—it just carries on through me. I think Manchester’s going through a period where the older groups, that became such a strong part of the city, are almost making way for the new generation that’s coming up. I’m just trying to be one of the spearheads for that movement. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the guys who have been there beforehand, I just think everyone needs that new generation offering something different.

Speaking of different, can you explain the meaning behind your stage name?
I felt like if I went by my actual name I would be seen as another singer/songwriter and I wasn’t trying to be that guy. I wanted to create something that as soon as you saw the name, it created a whole world that you could get into. I wanted to basically be able to write from the highest to the lowest spectrum of topics without being questioned. I didn’t want people to say, “Oh you can’t write that type of track because you’re not in that category.” I wanted to stand alone as an artist and convey any sentiment. The sunshine part is saying that whatever situation you are in, there can be some sort of light at the end of tunnel.

Well, it was the first thing that grabbed my attention.
[Laughs] I guess that’s a good thing then.

Your image is another unique element, is it something that you’ve specifically thought about or is just simply your style?
That’s just me being me. My whole image is just the way I’ve always been. I have a particular style and I don’t really think about it too much.

So if you weren’t a music artist, you’d still be wearing the same stuff?
I would still have wild shirts—my hair might not be as wild though [Laughs]. It’s just me, I like eccentric and out there shit. I find that when other artists do something a little bit crazy, I enjoy that they were fully prepared to show their soul and I just get down with that.

Is it true that you and Jazz Purple have your own record label?
Yeah, we do have our own label, which we put the EPs out through, called Aesthetic Records and then the singles run in conjunction with Polydor. Maybe by the end of next year I will start bringing in one or two other artists that I’m looking to work with but only once I’ve got myself set up.

Do you already have an idea of who you’d like to sign?
When a person comes along that I feel is right and that I could help in the right direction, then we will do that.

You seem to have knack for creating catchy, almost therapeutic choruses—I personally had “Love More Worry Less” stuck in my head for days—is it just natural or is that something you strive for?
It’s a bit of both, really. At first I just tried to write songs and when I heard that people were finding them very infectious, I allowed that vibe to happen a lot more naturally. I usually have the whole song mapped out without music, so I’m focused on how I can make the lyrics more melodic, so when we put the music on top it becomes an added element. I think that’s why my music might come across very hook-based, as I’m just writing from the top of my head without music.

Your lyrics are very honest, like they could be a diary entry.
It’s just the way I write. The artists that I like always come through with pure honesty. That honesty will cut a lot deeper than a fabricated story. I always emphasize with other artists and people who share similar sentiments—whether it’s their goals or failures—so I’m always trying to think of what I would do in a situation.

I was down with the black kids but no black kids listened to Oasis—that was just not the thing. I was one of them kids but I just didn’t give a shit, I would listen to them and then go listen to garage.

I’ve read that you’re a massive Morrissey fan and that’s essentially what he’s always done.
100%. I think you could say that about most people coming from Manchester really. I grew up with kids playing Morrissey on one street and acid house on the other while somewhere else people were playing Oasis. I was down with the black kids but no black kids listened to Oasis—that was just not the thing. I was one of them kids but I just didn’t give a shit, I would listen to them and then go listen to garage. That’s just the way I was but some people back then would say, “Errr why are you listening to Oasis? That’s some white boy music.” I’d just reply like “What the fuck! This is sick!” I would be trying to jam out in my house and people would be asking what the hell is this guy doing. But that’s just me.

I guess that diversity is why your delivery switches up so frequently, like in “Fire” you bring soul and then spoken word, it seems to stem from a complex background.
I need it because I still feel like there are many sounds that I haven’t tapped into yet and I want to try different things that I feel comfortable with so I can push myself to write songs unlike any before. I’m always trying to push myself further—push the topics, style, and delivery because that’s what it’s all about. I don’t want to feel comfortable with writing one way knowing everyone will be accepting that. I’d rather be pushing it because the artists who inspire me are always pushing.

You took a simple approach to your first video, was this just to fit the sentiments of the song?
My main focus for the first couple of videos was making sure people got what I was about. Obviously further down the line my videos can have more of a narrative but I really wanted to get the story across instead of having shit loads of gimmicks and things going on that have no context. That’s just not where I wanted to be at this moment of time.

It must be flattering for you to have artists, like FTSE for example, hearing your music and wanting to put their spin on it.
I hold guys like FTSE in such high esteem and I think he’s an incredible artist. We’ve made one song together already and I really enjoyed it—his work rate is amazing. In general though it’s just good to see that my songs can still be reworked and become something else.

How important do you think it is to perform live and have that physical connection with people while you’re still building your fanbase?
I think you need to put yourself out there for people to see who you are and to be fully captivated by your movement because people like to put a face to the music. When I see people at my shows loving it and really going for it, that’s the best feeling for me. Making that connection so people can go get the music from the EPs and feel like they are part of this whole movement that is pushing music into a new direction.

What do you hope 2014 has in store for you? Obviously you’ve announced a headline tour and there’s talk about an album.
I’m just in the mix of finishing it off now, so I’m thinking it will be released at the back end of the year. I just want to keep building though and keep putting great music out because people will come back and hopefully when the album does drop, it will be well-received. People can gather and see that full body of work but I just want to enjoy myself, you know? I want to put as much music out as I can and enjoy the moment with the people around me.

I think I wrote my album last year, to be honest. It was just a matter of getting into the studio to finish it all off. Before I presented any songs to anyone, I had already written about 15 songs that I was comfortable with.

So album is pretty much done?
I think I wrote my album last year, to be honest. It was just a matter of getting into the studio to finish it all off. Before I presented any songs to anyone, I had already written about 15 songs that I was comfortable with.

It’s like you said before: you never stop writing.
I’m always writing and constantly trying to think of ideas for other people as well because I would love to have some good writing sessions with other artists. I understand that I need to build myself as big as possible and then try to get some of those artists I’d love to work with in the studio—there’s a time and a place, but it will come.

Are there artists that you really want to work with?
I think King Krule stands out a lot, and there’s a singer called Sinead Harnett but there are not many. Obviously you’ve got your big artists that everyone wants to work with like Kanye or Pharrell but I’m trying to think in a realistic terms. [Laughs] I haven’t really got that type of power yet. That comes in a couple years. “Yo ‘Ye, come round, I’ve got this tune that I need you to get on.”

“Yo Kim’s going to have to wait tonight, you’re coming to the studio and we’re making Yeezus 2.”
“Leave Kim man, come round here and lets go make a couple of tunes” [Laughs] Seriously though, that’s the end goal, to be able to tell Kanye to leave Kim and let’s go make a tune.