Interview With The Manic Shine - 22nd October 2010
Photo Of The Manic ShineJessica caught up with The Manic Shine back stage at the Barfly in London to talk about their time as a band so far and so much more.

Hello The Manic Shine! I hope you're all well. Can you give us a brief history of TMS and tell us how you got your unusual name?
Ozzie: I'm sure that's exactly how they put it to Steven Hawkins when they said can you give us abrief history of time?
And he did it in a book.
Ozzie: Shit! I've only got three seconds. Basically it started off with a collection of songs I'd written in my first year of uni. I met Hutch and Orren at music college, ICMP, and Tamir obviously through Orren seeing as they're brothers. We did a lot of jamming together and things really gelled and spent a year with the line up being myself, Tamir on drums and Hutch on bass. We had a keyboardist who fell through due to other interests. Orren stepped up to the role in January 2009 and the entire sound of the band changed for the better. We got tighter, the songs sounded better. The entire creative element of the band really started flowing a lot better.

Who came up with the name The Manic Shine?
Ozzie: A random band name generator.

I think there's an app for that!
Ozzie: Explaining how a band name works is a strange thing, a lot of people get a band name and it doesn't really matter what it means. I tried doing that and failed miserably. It was a long process, taking a couple of months but I came up with something I thought sounded good, had a nice ring to it.

Orren: There were a million before it.

Ozzie: The Manic Shine refers to

Orren: Crazy light!

Ozzie: Thanks Orren. Captain Obvious! It refers lightly to the best perpetrators of art. All in the arts have been hysterical, a bit crazy. A bit manic with areas of their personality that were warped, dysfunctional...

Orren: Shiny?

Ozzie: The point is these people have shone more brightly than others, people like Hendrix and Van Gogh. It's a reflection of people who are crazy. It's a reflection of us.

When did you first pick up an instrument and then decide to take music seriously?
Hutch: I've been playing instruments my whole life but I first decided to play bass when I was 12. And I decided that that was I wanted to do for the rest of my life when I was 14 because I figured it was an easy way to make money. I was wrong! I figured hey, this is alright, I could do this. I could do this for a living and get away with it without putting in too much effort. I've never worked so hard in my life! WRONG!

Orren: I've been playing music since I was 5 years old and I was about 12-13 when I picked up the guitar. I think from the age of about 8 I wanted to be a rock star, that was the ultimate goal.

Who did you idolise when you were that young to make you want to be a rock star?
Ozzie: Don't even lie! Hendrix, come on.

Orren: Yeah Hendrix. Everyone from 1968 to the late 70's. That was my big thing, 70's rock. I just decided to try and make a living out of it.

Tamir: I started playing music from a very early age and performing from about 4 or 5. I went through all sorts of different instruments and I'm not really helping the drummer cause in terms of jokes here. I went through violin, trumpet, woodwind instruments and then landed on the drums and haven't changed. I don't know what that says...

Ozzie: He couldn't play the other ones!

Tamir: Drums have been in my life since I was 13 but I had other priorities until I was 17 then I decided to take it seriously.

Ozzie: The first instrument I wanted to play was the saxophone when I was about 10 years old. My parents said it was too expensive, they wouldn't buy me a saxophone at age 10 because I still hadn't stopped playing with Action Man. So I thought hell, I want to play drums but that was too loud and I'd make too much of a racket. So I settled on guitar having my first lesson when I was 12 years old and immediately got really into it. I had lessons for about 4 years and taught myself for another 3. I did a higher diploma on guitar at the ICMP with Orren. I want to play guitar for the rest of my life because of the bands I was playing with when I was younger. At the age of 13 I was recording in professional studios and playing with bands. My first gig was when I was 13 years old playing infront of 2000 people which was crazy and one hell of a learning curve.

Where was your first gig?
Ozzie: It was in Dubai actually at the Tennis Stadium. They had a battle of the bands there and DC [Dubai College] had a couple of entries and we put our band in. It went miserably. I'm not building it up, it went absolutely terribly. My guitar died before I even got on stage. I ran off, stole someone elses, ran back on stage and started playing The Other Side by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Orren: He's got this epic photo in his room from the back [of the stage] of Ozzie with his foot on the monitor rocking out.

Ozzie: My first taste of actual true success was in Dubai with a band called Mannakind, playing shows to 8000 people was intense. From that point onwards I just felt there was nothing else to compare to this. This is it.

How has growing up in Dubai shaped the musician you are today?
Ozzie: Well, it certainly taught me what I'm not going to play anymore! The outfit I played with was an industrial metal band like Nine Inch Nails only shitter. It hasn't impacted on my style that much because frankly the person responsible for that is my Dad and his record collection. My entry into classic rock and all the good music was through my Dad and through all the things he's done. He was in a band in university that was almost picked up by a label so he instilled that urge to listen to crazy music to me.

Your self titled EP has been doing the rounds for a while now. For those who may not have heard it yet, can you describe it in three words?
Ozzie: It's. The. Shit.

Orren: I can do it in two. Mukul yiet.

Ozzie: Which translates to 'enormous good'. No, how about blues on crack?

Hutch: ROCK! One word. There we go.
You should probably say it three times.
Hutch: Rock rock rock!

Ozzie: Spelt r-a-w-k of course!

Hutch: RAWK!

Moving on, you have shows lined up in Birmingham and Edinburgh. How do you find playing so far from home?
Orren: The reason we play so far from home is to build up our fan base. London is one thing but if you want to reach a large amount of people you've got to get out there in the sticks and play wherever you can and promote yourself well. And that's what we're trying to do, to gain momentum by branching out.

What road rules do you live by when you're on tour?
Ozzie: What goes on tour stays on tour. Standard.

Tamir: A general don't be a fanny, just chill out.

Ozzie: That one's not just for the road but life in general. To be honest we're yet to do that serious, hardcore touring, show everyday in a different city partly because we don't have the means and partyl because we don't have the time at the moment. Everyone in the band is doing a music course at the moment so we're waiting to finished those next year before we hit the gigging hard.

Then we'll see you everywhere?
Orren: We're hoping to play some festivals next summer. We made a big list of about 60 to apply to.

Ozzie: It's all of them! We've emailed all of them!

Orren: Hopefully we'll get to do some of them.

Sorry Michael Eavis, you don't want U2.
Ozzie: No no no! The Manic Shine all the way!

I reckon TMS would rock harder than Bono and his tinted glasses. Anyway, moving on. Are there plans for a full length album in the pipeline?
Ozzie: Of course! And it's interesting that you say that because our EPs have literally disappeared everytime we play a show. All the EPs go instantly. We do give them out for free but the demand is there. People nick them or take them or just want them which is great. What the feedback has generally been is 'We have worn your CD into the ground! Give us more music!' So, yes, there are definitely plans for a full length album. What we are looking to do is either self release one or hopefully attract some label interest to have it funded in that way.

Orren: We're not against any interest really.

Ozzie: We've seen how well Paulo Nutini's done.

Orren: Heineken, Bacardi if you're listening...

The Manic Shine is Alternative Vision's Band Of The Month for November.
Ozzie: That is actually excellent! Amazing! Thank you!

You're welcome! As November is also MOvember and you are all already sporting cracking facial hair, what special facial barnets, if any, will you be sporting for Movember?
Orren: I saw some really good ones at the International Beard Competition, one was in the shape of a tear.

Ozzie: What about the hanging gardens of Babylon? Or Michaelangelo's David?

Hutch: You'd have to have a penis though.

Ozzie: True. You'd have a dick on your chin. To be honest with you, Movember is a great idea but when it gets freezing cold just having a beard keeps you warm anyway. It's kind of the reason we have them on at the moment. And the cause is good as well.

Orren: We'll just keep them up.

Ozzie: Keeping up the face-fro's!

Orren: We'll be like ZZ Top one day.
Ozzie: Incredible!

Orren: They got offered thousands and thousands of dollars by Gilette to shave them off but they wouldn't do it.

Ozzie: Of course they wouldn't do it, that's an entire lifetime of beard.

You already have the facial hair and seem pretty on board with Movember. How else do you think musicians can lend themselves to different causes and make a difference?
Ozzie: I've recently been getting a lot of emails about Oxjam in Kilburn, they do a big festival which we missed out on because we were busy applying to all the other ones. If you have a craft, if you make art in anyway, putting that towards a charitable cause is always a good thing to do especially if it's a cause that hits home with the band. Play for free, do charitable festivals, sell some EPs.

Orren: If you want too. It's about what resources you have. If you live in a small town or a more rural area and you can get hold of a village hall it's not hard to put on an event. Your resources get put to good use and all of a sudden you've got a charitable event where you can raise some money. Just do it. Why not?
On a slightly different note, how do you think social media like Myspace, Facebook and Spotify, is helping or hindering the modern music industry?
Orren: It makes it possible for you to communicate with a vast number of people on a regular basis, but don't rely on it. A lot of them are saturated now, where it used to be if you had a Myspace someone might genuinely find it and check it out and you might get a break out of it. Now you've got just as much chance being spotted busking the underground. But it definitely is a vital tool for bands.

Ozzie: Let's give it from our perspective. We as a band are often asked to print out guestlists, and those guestlists tend to come from the Facebook you've set up. Now Facebook event RSVP's where they clcik attending doesn't always translate to people actually being at your show. So there is something to be said for the promotional value of social media. You can be very creative with it especially when doing viral campaigns and online marketing it's brilliant. A lot of people use social networks as a great place for advertising. But those adverts you see on Facebook, whatever they might be for, only have a 0.1% recipocation rate. If your canvassing an entire population then, yes, it has value. Other than that you cannot rely on it as your sole source of marketing and promotion and as a band you have to be ubiquitous.

Hutch: It's useful from the other side of things, as a fan you can have instant access to your favourite bands and their music, what they're doing and all the information about them.

Orren: Bands can communicate directly with their fan base and vice versa.

Well guys, than you so much for your time but it's absolutely freezing out here so let's get back inside.

Interview By Jessica Acreman
 Band Members

Ozzie Rodgers - Vocals and guitar
Orren Karp - Guitar
James 'Hutch' Hutchison - Bass
Tamir Karp - Drums
 Latest Releases
The Manic Shine - The Manic Shine
Release Date - 2010
1. Pretend
2. The Escape
3. Burn Me On The Ceiling

 Band Related Links
The Manic Shine Myspace