Manics are a duo that have been making strides in making their dream of producing limitless music a reality. As founders of Popgang Records, they’ve been on an adventure that has forced them to take on an all around executive perspective, which has evolved their creativity to new heights. Letting go of the common obsession to produce a “perfect” record, Manics made sure to let soul drive their most recent record, Pastel Palace to fruition. Sonically and visually exploring the disco, punk, and dance universes has resulted in a liberating and undeniably groovy record. Read on as the humble duo speak with SPIN about their proudest song on the album, how graphic design influences their musical career, what they have coming up and more. Stream Pastel Palace here.
Who are Manics and what do you stand for?
We’re a production duo currently based out of Los Angeles, composed of Baby J (Jordan Deherrera) and Tygrbyt (Chris Sanders). We started out DJing together and working on remixes, then moved into original production and eventually live performances. The project is an ever evolving sculpture of our vast range of dance music influences. We’re also the founding artists of Popgang Records, where we aim to support and release underground artists from a variety genres, subcultures and identities.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
Our sound pulls influence from classic disco, house, modern electronic music and new wave/post punk. We’re both graphic designers and the visual language of Post Punk and Straight Edge Hardcore have had a huge impact on the branding of our project and record label. Xerox is god. The DIY aspect of punk as well as its stance for open mindedness and equality has always had an impact on our art and music.
Talk to us about a pivotal learning moment in your career.
The pandemic was a huge learning moment. We got to slow down and refocus on what we wanted to do as artists and as a label. We were producing a lot of events prior to COVID and then everything stopped. We relocated to LA, built our dream studio and started working on what we wanted to, rather than what we had to. It also gave us a new appreciation for live events and the community that comes with them. With things coming back, we’re so grateful to be back producing events and releasing music that we’re excited about.
In what ways have you pushed yourself beyond existing self-imposed limitations?
Our album was a big push for us. We’ve released 2 EPs and countless singles since we started this project but an album always felt daunting. We were coming up on the 150th release for Popgang and wanted to make it special so we decided to hunker down and finish up the WIPs we had started over the last year. Giving ourselves that self-imposed due date though was really helpful in making it happen.
Your most recent release, Pastel Palace, is rooted within a “bass disco” universe – Tell us about the conceptual creation of this project. What made you decide this was the right direction to take for your debut?
The direction for this album felt very natural for us. We wrote these songs over the course of a year which gave us time to write in different styles and pull from our favorite influences. When we decided to finalize the album these 8 songs felt cohesive but still hit all of the corners of dance music we love. We also wanted to make sure some of these songs could fit into DJ sets, which means having the bass front and center.
Which track are you most proud of? Which was the most difficult to complete?
We’re most proud of “Golden Teacher”, It was challenging yet fluid and we kid you not was almost a 48 hour session of nonstop recording and experimenting. The goal to create an instrumental track that takes the listener on a journey and the creation of such was quite the journey of its own.
As we’re integrating ourselves back into an open world, do you have any other exciting ventures besides music you have your sights set on?
All of our ventures are in music right now haha. Running the label is a full time job for both of us and we’re starting to produce events again!
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
We’re gonna be releasing new music in the fall so stay tuned for that!
What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
We hope to see more genre bending, it’s always exciting to see what less experienced and new producers are doing. There’s an open minded purity in creatives who are not confined by knowing too much about how things are “supposed” to be done.
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us an keep an eye out for our family of misfits on Popgang Records. Everyone we have the pleasure of working with right now are truly creating some of the funnest dance tracks we’ve heard. We are releasing new music every week, so make sure to follow @popgangrecords to keep up with those as well as our upcoming events.
Party it up with Manics’ Session below! For more SPIN Sessions, head over to SPIN TV.