Q: With all the different sounds, rhythms and styles seeping through your music, who would you say your (3) biggest influences (musical acts or otherwise) – on your sound are?
BAD MANORS: Radiohead has probably had the biggest effect on our artistic identity, being a band that has managed to simultaneously innovate and maintain popularity, and one that did so from an unlikely starting point of grunge rock. Nirvana is another big influence, especially on the drum lines and on the overall style in the heavier parts. Lastly, we’d say Blur, for their distinctly ‘London’ take on alternative, their unpredictable chord sequences, witty lyrics and adventurous melodic songwriting.
Q: What kind of influence has your home city of London had on your music making?
BAD MANORS: The sheer sprawl of the place has often left us feeling pretty insignificant – I think a lot of our subject matter reflects on personal obsolescence, and how the sense of being 3 in over 10 million ultimately breeds dissatisfaction. The concept of travel as escape from the bustling city and the expectations of conformity is a common theme in Rob’s lyrics. All that said, we’re still enamoured with London – its music, art and limitless opportunities keep us here regardless of our gripes.
Q: Was there a pivotal moment in your lives when you decided to follow your paths as musicians?
BAD MANORS: I think it was more of a gradual process – we got out of the school system and music was a way of figuring out what matters. The worlds of commerce and public services didn’t appeal to us, so we stalled our lives out playing and writing songs for years. It was all we could think to do, maybe because it was the place where we felt like we had agency, the place to be off the leash and not have to care about what anyone else is doing.
Q: Can you speak to the creative process behind writing and recording your EP ‘One Year Plan’?
BAD MANORS: It all starts with Rob – he writes a guitar sequence and comes up with a broad song concept first. Then we play through it a few times and Fin and I spin the directions around between lighter and heavier to add variety. For One Year Plan and our forthcoming LP Fontalba we went down to the South of France to record over a 3-week period of remote sessions. We built up a lot of our song structures while we were there, often trying to complete tracks in individual days for the sake of it.
Q: You can only listen to (3) albums for the next year. In no particular order, what would they be?
BAD MANORS: We’re gonna have to come at this one from varied angles, so we’re each covering genres. Rob’s pick is Hiatus Kaiyote’s album Tawk Tomahawk, taking it easy for the rest of us with the nu-jazz vibes. Fin’s pick is Chon’s 2019 self-titled, for the prog … the prog … THE PROG. My pick would have to be Black Midi’s new record Cavalcade. It ain’t out yet but it’s gonna be lit innit.
Q: What do you guys like to do when you’re not making music?
BAD MANORS: Rob’s always working on some home DIY or fixing a bike or something useful like that. Fin has the tech know-how and can code and edit all sorts of media with ease. I like to write non-sequiturs in my notebook. In Summertime you can find us in Brockwell Park sipping tins and smoking our heads.
Q: What can your fans expect to see and hear from Bad Manors in the near future?
BAD MANORS: We have an entire LP of material that we have been tweaking and adding to over the past year, so there will be plenty more tunes coming out; perhaps in the form of an EP before an album. We have a bunch of video performances we filmed over Easter that we’re gonna be putting up and promoting on YouTube, which we’re super excited to share. Finally, this coming year we’re moving up to Leeds to work on this project full-time and play live as much as humanly possible, so they can expect much more consistent content on our socials and some killer shows coming up, with some fun new players (you can never have too many guitarists).
Interviewed by Kevin JP Hulihan