Precarity At The Wine Lodge: Manni Dee Interviewed By Tonka
, February 21st, 2017 10:14
In which effervescent young soul and dance music blogger Tonka ties one on with techno DJ Manni Dee for this website aka "Mojo for the industrial techno generation". At a Yate's Wine Lodge
I think the only reason the Quietus asked me to interview Manni Dee is because he uses words that most DJs (with the exception of Judge Jules – he’s a fucking judge – and Jackmaster – he’s got four GCSEs at grade C and over) would have to Google to make any sense of. He’s not your average DJ. When you spend time with Manni Dee, you’re just as likely to hear words like, precarity, didactic and incredibly, as you are, mash-up, beats and mash-up. I also suspect that I’ve been dispatched to interview Manni Dee for some more reasons: 1) I’m from the Midlands, so I’ll understand the lingo, 2) I absolutely adore industrial techno, and 3) I’m the best fucking dance writer on the Internet.
By a mile.
I telephoned Manni Dee from the dancefloor at Jaded/Corsica Studios during his gig last Sunday. He didn’t answer, so I waited for him to finish, revealed my secret identity to him, warmly embraced the top half of his body, and whisked him off in a black taxi to my favourite central London wine lodge; Yates’s Wine Lodge in central London. “What a coincidence”, I gushed as we crossed Waterloo bridge, “I’ve got a pair of Dr. Martens on, too”. The obese, middle-aged taxi driver spat his lager all over Page 3 and wheezed an incredulous laugh whilst at the same time asking me how I knew what fackin’ shoes he had on. I said, “One, you shouldn’t be reading The Sun and drinking lager whilst you’re driving and, two, I was talking to Manni Dee. I’m about to interview him for a website called The Quietus.” He told me that he’d never heard of The Quietus. I leaned in close to the cunt’s Perspex window, told him it was Mojo for the industrial techno generation and ordered him to pull over. We’d arrived at Yates’s.
In we went and the interview began. Manni Dee remarked that I should really be framing the interview around his brilliant new EP on Perc Trax, Throbs Of Discontent, his upcoming gigs in Berlin and Amsterdam, and how I shouldn’t have wasted time making notes about the journey from Elephant and Castle to Yates’s. I told him that I’m a fucking professional and that I don’t tell him how to play his fucking records. I immediately apologised and complemented him on his hairstyle; “my fringe sweeps to the right, too”, I simpered.
“Let’s just do an excellent interview, mate, and we can get home early doors. I’m fucking knackered”, we both thought in unison.
Drinks one, two, three, four, five, six and seven: Tonka: lager, Manni Dee: lager.
For any Quietus readers who are unfamiliar with Manni Dee, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
Manni Dee: I'm Manni, I make techno under the name Manni Dee and ambient music under my Nuances alias. After being refused a place at music GCSE due to bad behaviour, I studied Music Practice at Dudley College and Creative Music Production and Brighton University. I do it for the solitude, precarity and creative lulls.
Why did you choose the moniker, Manni Dee, as a DJ and production name? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with DJ, like a proper DJ (DJ Manni Dee), or suffixing it with something more exciting like Kameron Killa (DJ Kameron Killa) or Beat Master Y2K (DJ Beat Master Y2K)?
MD: Manni's my first name and Dee is (sort of) half of my last name. Kameron Killa would have been a possibility if it wasn't so similar to Killa Cam, aka Cam'ron from Dipset. Maybe Manni Deejay would have worked. I could do a Com Truise and start calling myself Danni Mee.
Throbs of Discontent is out in the shops on Perc Trax. I've listened to the EP as a whole about nine times now, and I've got no idea why you've called it Throbs of Discontent. Can you explain yourself?
MD: I must say the EP's at its zenith on listen number ten, so hang in there. To be candid, if just for a moment, I was on a train on the way to a protest. I heard an ominous throb emanating from the distance which seemed to encapsulate, in a sound, the collective discontent I was due to become immersed in. It was an unusual disruption of the expected noise, in alignment with the event I was attending. What I read and think informs what I make, so I thought the name was apt. The throb is also a priapic reference. I used to think Sartre was important, now I think satire's far more worthwhile.
How long did it take you to make Throbs Of Discontent, and what equipment did you use? Any plans for an LP this year?
MD: About two months. I'm not entirely sure. It's usual for me to measure these things in terms of progress and productivity rather than time. The final track 'Adorable Disorder' was made using my Korg MS-20 and guitar. I also used the MS-20 for some of the stab sounds on the A1 and A2. I used a Sherman Filterbank and a few pedals for additional textural grit, the rest was in the box. There might be an LP on the cards this year, but I won't be revealing my hand just yet.
How long have you been associated with Perc Trax, and what are the benefits?
MD: I contributed to a Perc Trax vs Pole Group compilation released in December 2013. The release also features Forward Strategy Group, Exium and Oscar Mulero. The perks of a Perc Trax association include working closely with Ali. He's kept me informed about every aspect of the release. I attended the mastering session with the magnificent Mr. Colton and selected the artwork from photographs provided by Perc's photographer James Guppy. Perc and a few of the artists on the label are London based, which adds to the sense of community which is incredibly important, especially in these austere times. Also the infrequent conversations with Ali about Wolverhampton Wanderers, who he supports, are a benefit. I don't follow football so it's refreshing to receive occasional updates about my hometown team who I obviously have a fondness for.
Why do you hate the Conservative Party so much?
MD: Oh so many reasons, but brevity is the soul of wit, so for now lets just say they often stand with their legs too far apart and wear t-shirts displaying slogans diametrically opposed to their policies and actions. By the way, it's not the responsibility of the artist to be didactic. No one wants to listen to an artist telling them how to vote. I can express my preference and people can make up their own mind.
Growing up in Wolverhampton, were there any local influences, club nights, DJs or promoters that made you consider what you do now an option? Or did you look beyond the Molineux for inspiration?
MD: I didn't really look beyond the Molineux till I was 19. There was a studio I used to attend called Sam Sharpe near the Molineux actually. The engineer who used to work there was called Keith Dilworth, but everyone called him Spock because of his big ears. He was also a youth worker, a staple in the community. I don't know where he is now but I owe a lot to him. He also informed me of the origins of the studio's name.
You made your debut at the legendary (and fucking brilliant) House of God last year after Blawan had to pull out with a groin injury. How was it, and do you reckon you'll ever go back as a punter if you're not asked to play there again?
MD: House of God was one of the most enjoyable gigs I've played. The audience was as diverse as the music across the three rooms. There's a certain self-assurance and assertiveness that exists in the West Midlands. No upward inflections at the end of sentences. That shines through at HOG. Hedonism without the pretense, indulgence without the bravado. And yes, I'm planning to attend the 24th birthday party on Friday 10 March with Surgeon, Regis, Terry Donovan, Sir Real etc. etc.
Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
MD: Somewhere in-between.
What are your hopes and ambitions for 2017? Playing any Croatian party boats? Ibiza? Boutique woodland festivals? Or are you sticking with the shitholes where normal people go to dance?
MD: I'm open to all of the above, normal and abnormal. More live shows, that's for sure.
What was your favourite celebrity death of 2016?
MD: Most of them lived well and died old, so judging by that criteria the majority were pretty favourable.
Which celebrity do you hope will die in 2017?
MD: I can't bring myself to wish death on anyone, but Katie Hopkins and Ann Coulter can fuck right off and fade in to obscurity, never to be seen or heard again.
At which point, I went for a piss and never came back…
Throbs Of Discontent is out now on Perc Trax