February 01 2016

Man Power, The Blank Page

New York-Le Bain
Friday, February 19th, the crazy-talented Man Power shows what he's got on Le Bain's rooftop alongside the boys of A Running Melody. They sat down for a chat.
A RUNNING MELODY: As Man Power has developed from mystery man to pumping out a full album on Correspondant, we've heard a bit of everything from techno to house to balearic tunes. What would you say is the biggest influence on this project?
MAN POWER: I thought about Dummy by Portishead a lot when I was making the album. I mean, my album sounds nothing like that record, but there's a certain unabashed approach to jamming in their influences that I really admire about that collection. Other than that I can't really point to a lot of influences. Even the influences I've quoted since making the record have really only been obvious to me after they actually made their way in there. I didn't sit down and say "Lets do a piano line that reminds me of Steve Reich." Influences always seem to be something subconscious to me, but I prefer that as it stops me being intentionally guilty of plagiarism.
Man Power Inside (Correspondant)
As an Englishman living in Mexico by way of Berlin, how has being exposed to such different cultures and scenes impacted your sound?
The most profound impact it's had on me has been freeing me from one fixed way of thinking. Now that I've been fortunate enough to sample different attitudes and approaches from around the world, I feel less beholden to coming from a Northern English-centric standpoint when creating anything. In fact, I think that freedom has just filtered into my attitude towards life in general. I'm definitely a lot more open minded person these days, and I'm finding it quite thrilling suddenly being in a world where everything I once held as being sacrosanct is actually entirely transmutable.

It gives you more freedom...
I'm learning that assuredness is the enemy of experimentation, and experimentation is something that I really rely on for my own creative processes. It kind of feels like I'm starting with a blank page these days, which is a wonderful place to begin creating something.

Geoff Kirkwood aka Man Power

Geoff Kirkwood aka Man Power

We've been over to Tisno in Croatia for the Garden Festival the last few years. Looks like you're playing the next iteration, Love International, as Man Power and your other project Last Waltz. How do you prepare for one versus the other? 
That's easy. With Last Waltz there is absolutely no element of preparation. We're three guys and we know the areas where we can fit together and gel musically. So we all just pack a bag of stuff that we feel will work, and then play one song each until we finally get drunk enough to play stuff that will piss the other two off. It sounds pretty negative when I describe it like that, but the tension between the three of us can often turn into something quite magical - if we don't end up coming to blows in the process. 

And how do you get ready for Man Power? 
For my own project, it's a very personalized approach. I spend a lot of time getting to know the music I play, and while I'm still entirely reactive when I play, I'm capable of at least bringing music with me that I can graft into some kind of longer, extended narrative. I find both approaches really stimulating creatively, for very different reasons.

Man Power Forget To Remember (Correspondant)

Lastly, tying back to the whole Englishman in Mexico via Berlin thing. We're personally curious, what city has the best food?

Tel Aviv. There is no competition. I actually got into a conversation about this the other day and I think my findings were:
1 - Tel Aviv
2 - Tokyo
3 - Napoli / The Amalfi Coast
Joint 4th Mexico - Berlin - London 
There also has to be an honourable mention for whatever the spot was that I was taken to in Barcelona before playing with the Hivern Crew at Nitsa. Wherever that was, it was mind blowing. It got to the point that Fernando (Talabot's manager) was almost crying with laughter at my increasingly excited responses to each new dish we were served. You'd think I hadn't eaten in ten years.

Friday, February 19th, Le Bain presents Man Power playing alongside Alan and Andrew Blancato (A Running Melody). Doors 10pm. The Standard, High Line.