We met up with Man Made’s lead singer Nile Marr when they played at The Forum in London together with Johnny Marr. Their new video is out now – check out ‘Bring Some’ right here.
Alright, so, you guys have been on tour with Johnny for a while now. How’s it going?
Good, it’s been long. But it’s been great. Highlight of the tour was the day before yesterday, when we got to play this beautiful old theatre in Dublin. That was the one everyone was like ‘Oh yeah’!
Your new EP just came out, can you tell us a bit about it?
Yeah, the main single of it, I’ve had for a long, long time. I think I wrote it when I was 15? I used to play it and then I kinda forgot about it. And then when we got together playing with the guys, we kinda changed the song and made it into a new one so it didn’t feel so much like an older tune. That was great, it was fun getting to put that out.
The front cover is a photo of my friend that I loved. We’ve not done that before where we’ve put something like someone on a cover so that was nice. The new video for ‘Bring Some’ is also out now!
We just filmed that at the soundcheck at one of the shows. Everything’s been about the tour. Like, the release has been about the tour, the video’s been about the tour. Y’know, it’s good when you’re on tour. You feel like you’re working.
Yeah, is there a headline tour planned already?
In-between a lot of this we do a lot of headline shows anyway. So after this tour we finish and we put on a lot of party shows. Usually, most of them are all for charity. They’re our favourite shows anyway cause we get to hang out with our friends, we play records, we decorate the rooms, we pick whatever venues we want, we pick the bands we play with… so we’ve got a few of those lined up. We’re playing with a band, ‘Menace Beach’ who are our friends and we’re playing a Halloween party that we’ve organised. A Halloween party to end the tour with them so everyone’s gonna get all dressed up and um… yeah and be a bit silly and have Halloween movies and stuff on and then we get to just hang out and play the tunes and we play the show. After this tour we’ve got like a few of those parties dotted around, some more charity gigs and then I think we’ll be touring properly again in January.
What was the first record you bought with your own money?
First record… we were talking about this a while ago… what was the first record? Ahhh…
Just name a cool one if you don’t remember.
All the records I buy are cool, I’ve never bought a not cool record, haha! No, it was ‘Desire’ by Bob Dylan. Well, that was the record I had when I was a kid but I didn’t buy it with my own money. But when I was a kid I listened to it non-stop. That was like the first record I had and it was like, I’m talking really young. And then the first record I bought was probably ‘See Change’, you know that Beck album? His like, break-up acoustic one. It’s beautiful, so beautiful. When I was really young those are the records I played non-stop ‘cause I liked acoustic music when I was younger.
What 3 songs should be part of every road trip soundtrack?
Every road trip soundtrack… Do you know the Modest Mouse song ‘Dramamine’? So good… I think it’s the best opening track of a record ever, and it’s about the road. It’s from the album ‘This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About’. So that, Modest Mouse – ‘Dramamine’ has to be on there.
What else road trip songs, any suggestions? Cal? Scott?
(The rest of Man Made, who just walked in)
Nile: Nah, I’m not having that.
Callum: You asked me.
Nile: Yeah, you picked wrong. Any road trip songs?
Nile: Again, bit wrong.
Scott: That’s not wrong.
Nile: Our driving tracks are all kinda… late night. I think it’s cause we do a lot of driving late at night, so for us a lot of driving songs are late night.
So I would say you’ve got Modest Mouse with ‘Dramamine’, ‘Twilight At Carbon Lake’ by Deerhunter and ‘Lover’s Spit’ by Broken Social Scene. But the version that Feist sings. It’s off an album ‘Beehives’. It’s so good, these are all really long and late night. You need long songs when you’re driving.
What advice would you give to young artists who are just starting out in music?
Be serious. You’re totally allowed to just be in it for fun, it is loads of fun, but for me and all of us in the band, the best bit is being in a band that’s as serious as we are, because you feel like you’re doing something, you feel like you’re working and you feel like you’ll accomplish it. If you’re serious, all the stuff that’s a drag, y’know, that comes with being a band, you get pretty insular, especially if it’s just 3 of you. If it’s a small band, it’s a small gang of you. If you’re serious, all the stuff that comes with it like the long drives, the sleeping on the floor, the losing touch with all your friends and just being on tour, you’re kind of removed from… and everyone else’s lives sort of carry on around you. Your lives just kind of stay together and it can feel quite alienating for some people, but if you’re serious about what you do, none of that is gonna bother you. You’ve got a goal, you’ve got like an end game that you’re looking towards. So, I’d say that, be serious and then be not too serious. That’s the way we do it anyway.
What are your biggest influences and does Sonic Youth play a special part?
Yeah, well we all really, really like Sonic Youth. I remember the first time I heard a Sonic Youth record was on a ‘Toy Machine’ skate video called ‘Welcome To Hell’ and I think its titanium exposé I think, I might be wrong here but if memory serves, I think it’s that song off goo is playing over Ed Templeton’s skate park and that video’s amazing. As a kid growing up in England, I saw so much of American culture in that video and in the early skate videos like this one that I used to watch and obsess over and people like Ed Templeton, you were like right, here’s a guy who doesn’t drink, who’s part of the straight edge movement, who’s a skater, who’s really cool and does everything he can with whatever art he can get a hold of. He’s an amazing painter, he’s an amazing photographer, he’s been with his wife since they were kids and they do everything together, and they’re a real influence for a lot of people and a lot of artists. I got into Sonic Youth through Ed Templeton, he did the eye t-shirt that I wear on stage every day. We like Sonic Youth, we really like Fugazi because that’s where we get the serious vibe from, that’s where we learn the work ethic, to us, the right way to approach being in a band, the right ethos, the right state of mind.
And then Modest Mouse, they played a real big part of me growing up because I got to grow up around my favourite band and I’ve seen some amazing things that I’d never have seen before. I’ve seen music and the outdoors paired in a way that I didn’t think before. With Fugazi and Modest Mouse, they’re pretty much everything the way I think about music.
Will you ever play a Rory Gallagher cover on stage?
Uuuhm, I dunno, maybe. I play ‘Secret Agent’, that song’s got a great riff. I play that song in-between songs at practice. The guys are all just like, learn a new riff! So yeah, maybe if I’m feeling particularly per petulant I could do that just to wind them up.
What shoes are you wearing on stage?
Oh right, now this is a real question. I could talk about shoes forever, shoes are a very important part of Man Made. I have a pair of Red Wing boots that I’ve had for 4 years now and I wear them every day and I just get them re-souled and re-built. It was because for touring you need a pair of shoes that aren’t gonna fall apart, y’know, they’ve got to look rock, you can’t have something silly. You’ve got to have something that can hold up to the riggers of modern touring and stuff like that I learned from growing up around Modest Mouse cause they did more miles than any band I’ve known. I clocked what they were wearing and they all had amazing boots on and I was like ‘okay, that’s what you have to do’.
Because you know, stuff lands on your feet, I do a lot with my pedals, with boots you’ve got to make sure they’re heavy enough to hold up to touring and the amount of walking we do, in the cold, in the snow and the wet. They’ve got to do all these things, you can’t be in trainers, you can’t be in moccasins. You’ve got to have that down, and if you look after them, they’ll look after you as well. The boots, like the van, are part of the band. They get you to where you’re going and if you don’t look after them, you won’t get there. So, shoes are important. So whoever asked that, good question. I can’t remember it, I used to know the product code for my boots, they’ve been discontinued and when I heard they were getting discontinued I bought a spare one. I reckon I’ll get 6 years out these before they totally fall apart, then I won’t need to worry about picking up another pair of shoes, I’ll just pick up my fresh pair that I’ve got. I’m kind of cartooney on stage, I’ll wear the same thing all the time.
Is it just practical or is it just good luck or…?
It’s practical, I needed a pair of boots that I can just look after and that’ll look after me. I literally wake up, put them on and they’re the last thing I take off before I go to bed. I should definitely get some free ones, I’ve given them such an endorsement.
Are there any newcomer bands you’ve got to recommend?
Do you know a band called Kagoule? They’re really good… We played with them. They got on one of our parties and we made the party cause we wanted an excuse for them to come and play with us. We were like ‘Yeah yeah, do you wanna play our party?’ and they were like ‘Yeah! When is it?’ and we were like ‘When can you do it?’ and they’re great. And our friends Menace Beach are really fun, they’re a good band too. They’ve been around a while, same with Kagoule. Kagoule have just put their album out. Lucy, their bass player, she’s really good. She moves really well on stage, y’know she’s got it down… and then Laurence, the drummer, he’s also really good and he’s kind of like our Scott, they have facial hair and things… so the two hang out together a lot. And the guitar player, Cai, who I really like… he writes a lot of interesting words, we have a lot of the same references. When we met each other we were like ‘Wow, we like a lot of the same stuff’ so, I would say those guys, those are who I’d recommend just now.