Interview: Nile Marr
Exposed Magazine meet Nile Marr of Man Made
Man Made are busy lads right now, with a full UK tour lined up in the next few weeks, and their debut album due for release April 15th, it is undoubtedly exciting times for the young Manchester based band. During a hectic week of tour prep, Callum Hay caught up with frontman Nile Marr, son of The Smith’s legendary guitarist Johnny Marr, for a quick chat about all things Man Made.
So, Nile, what are you up to this week?
I’ve been running around servicing the van, getting the windscreen replaced, new brake lights, and rehearsals obviously; basically all that boring stuff you need to do before you go on the road. We’re catching a break from it on Wednesday night by putting on a show supporting refugee charities Manchester 2 Calais, and Save the Children ,which is important to us.
Nice! So you did a session for us a few years back when it was just a solo project. Was it just a case of waiting until the right band came along, or was there another reason for getting Callum Rogers and Scott Strange on board?
It was shortly after I did the Exposed session that we got the full band together. It was a case of waiting until the songs were ready, and definitely waiting for the right line-up. It was always going to be a band right from the start –I always wrote songs with a band in mind, and to be honest being in a band is just more fun! When I was starting out it was way easier to gig as one person: I’d just turn up and ask if I could open, and being one guy they’d normally throw me on at the start. I learnt a lot from that.
Was it an easy transition?
There is definitely a big difference in the live experience now, but I’d say the transition felt very natural, once we had the right guys it was easy. The three of us create a big sound, and I think that is due to the songs being there and the natural sound of the band – the drumming is busy and the bass fits perfectly with the guitar. It was just a case of allowing us to express ourselves in more ways.
So I suppose we should chat about the forthcoming album, which comes out on April 15th. Is it all finished and ready to go?
Yeah, I’ve been working on this record for 8 years, and I’m only 24, so this is pretty much my life’s work up until now. I’m so proud of it and so ready for it to exist! People who have followed me for a while will know a lot of the songs, and will have seen a few of them change and progress into what they have finally become on the record.
What sort of influences and sounds can we expect to hear on the record?
Most of our influences come from American bands like Fugazi, Built to Spill and Modest Mouse. When I found out about these bands whilst living in America I was so excited by what they were doing. Musically we draw a lot of influence from the likes of Modest Mouse, and my work ethos I’d definitely say is influenced by the likes of Fugazi; I heard the whole hardcore DC punk thing, and I thought, ‘why would you do anything else?’ Being a kid who didn’t drink in the UK, I felt uncomfortable, and it seemed strange not wanting to do something but not judging others for it, and that still being seen as antagonistic. It was then when I found out about straight edge that I realised, wait, this is an actual thing that I can feel a part of. Though I wouldn’t class myself as straight edge as I think labels can mess the message up, I was inspired by that scene and it completely resonates with me.
With it being your debut, where are you hoping TV Broke My Brain is going to take Man Made?
I’d like it to take us to places we’ve never been before – that’s the incredible part of being a musician: you can travel to so many places and play shows. We just want people to hear the album; the album is a sort of menu to us, this is what we do, it’s recorded for you, now come and see the real thing – that’s the way I’ve always seen it.
You definitely put in a lot of hours touring, and it seems like it’s currently hard work for bands in the music industry, especially guitar bands, what’s your opinion on the state of the industry?
We don’t consider ourselves part of the industry; they have their own problems, but there is no doubt it’s in a sorry state. Sheffield is a great example of not being part of the industry. I used to live in Sheffield for two years, there is no doubt it is a DIY town, and I really like the feel there – people in Sheffield make art for arts’ sake. Some of my dearest friends live in Sheffield, and a lot of the album was written there, so it’s very much a Sheffield record. The way that music is now made allows you to be more independent; like, we do have a label, but that hasn’t changed us. The label to us just means that someone believes in you and is willing to facilitate our art.
And what can we expect from your Sheffield gig?
We take over the place really, all sparkles and glitter which is very us. We play a high intensity show; we draw inspiration for our live performances from the punk scene, even if I’m not screaming in your face. It’s intimate, so any fakery will get called out, people see straight through it, so we prefer to keep it true to ourselves and authentic.
Are there any current bands that Exposed readers should watch out for?
Seize the Chair are a Sheffield band and we’ve got a few shows with them coming up and I think they’re great. Also an American band called Mimicking Birds – we play them all the time in the van!
Thanks very much! Any parting words, Nile?
I guess I should put the word out there early that the end goal is an honorary degree from Sheffield; when all my mates were off getting degrees I was here playing in bands, so if anybody is listening, I’m here!
Man Made play The Rocking Chair of Friday 18th May. Head to www.rockingchairbar.co.uk for more info.