Rising Manchester three-piece Man Made will release their exceptional debut album TV Broke My Brain on Soul Kitchen via through Kobalt Label Services on April 15, 2016. Following on its radio premiere on Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show, the current single from the album, ‘Raining In My Head’, will be available as an instant grat on the album pre-order beginning on February 4th.
Growing up, you've got two choices: rebel against your parents and their way of life, or embrace it. Nile Marr, Man Made singer and guitarist (and son of indie hero Johnny), chose the latter. Initially inspired by the likes of Nick Drake and John Martyn, Nile began writing songs when he was 14. A move to Portland, Oregon would provide more inspiration still, with Nile in what he calls his "sponge years”. Taken from the English music culture he'd grown up in and being planted in the Pacific Northwest opened him up to not only new bands and new sounds, but a whole new work ethic.
"[Moving to Portland] changed completely how I wanted to work and how I wanted to make music," Nile says. "From that point on we needed to be running everything with American work ethic and approach to guitar music." That meant taking the notion from American punk rock and bands like Fugazi and Black Flag that you "get in the van and you do it, and you drive and just keep driving."
Nile met drummer Scott Griffiths via a mutual friend at a practice room. After playing together a couple of times, Nile gave Scott "all the Fugazi records and all the Modest Mouse records" and told him to come back and play like a combination of the bands' drummers. After a year of playing together, the pair began the hunt for a bassist, eventually picking Callum Rogers.
Passionate about not denying "someone in their formative years the chance to experience a band on a very intimate level", the trio started booking their own shows so they could make sure people under 18 could attend. They've also hooked up with activists and charities in Sheffield and Manchester to play refugee benefits or find conservation projects to donate their merch money to. In Manchester, they're at the heart of a new scene of artists and creatives made up of other musicians, filmmakers, promoters, photographers and more. It's a collaborative community with a lot of those involved also involved in the band's shows. Nile describes them as events where "you can help a good cause, you're supporting an independent venue, kids can go in and you get to appreciate art."
Titled TV Broke My Brain, the central theme of the album is the state of technology and it's role in life. The band aren't anti-technology, but Nile says he wanted to "stop and think about how quickly we embrace new technology [and promises that it'll] make your life easier." "It's not a judgement, it's just asking the questions about your relationship with technology," he explains. "For me, the most valuable experiences in my life have been face-to-face, real, analogue interactions."
You can hear Nile's thinking in the jagged title track, or the jangly shuffle of 'Hi Tech Low Life', which features lyrics like "We still sleep plugged in" and "We don't seem to notice/Now it's hard to focus". Elsewhere, there's also comment on advertising and capitalism - 'Plastic Key To Living' is about a credit card and finds Nile sighing "We turn on, we log off/This is not enough."
Produced by Ray Man and mixed by Nick Launay (Kate Bush, Lou Reed, Arcade Fire), it was recorded at the trio's shared house over a year and a half. Every time they gigged and the songs changed, they'd re-record them. The record to them, after all, is meant to be "the menu of the live experience." "[The songs change every night] and that depends on the audience, the room and the atmosphere," Nile explains. "It shouldn't be 'we have an album, let us play it for you'. It's 'we are a band and we have recorded us playing for you'."
TV Broke My Brain certainly captures the energy and passion that goes into the band, and presents it with its American alt-rock influences (you can hear everything from Sonic Youth to The Shins in its 11 tracks) firmly on its sleeve. Unplug yourself from the matrix of gadgets in your life and connect with Man Made instead.
- Carsick Cars
- Hi Tech Low Life
- You Never Know How It Feels
- Raining In My Head
- Plastic Key To Living
- Everything We Miss
- Bring Some
- Nobody’s Dreaming
- All Mine
- TV Broke My Brain
Man Made tour dates:
March 7 Oxford, Bullingdon
March 8 London, Birthdays
March 10 Birmingham, The Oobleck
March 11 Leicester, The Cookie
March 12 North Shields, Surf Cafe
March 14 York, The Duchess
March 15 Hull, Aldelphi
March 16 Leeds, Oporto
March 17 Derby, The Venue
March 18 Sheffield, The Rocking Chair
March 20 St Alban’s, The Horn
March 21 Southampton, the Joiners
March 22 Bristol, The Crofters Rights
March 23 Norwich, The Waterfront Studio
March 24 Manchester, Aatma
April 12 Cardiff, The Moon Club
April 13 Nottingham, Bodega Red Room
April 14 Reading, Oakford Social Club
April 15 Bedford, Esquires
April 16 Manchester, Gullivers
April 22 Barnsley, Opium
April 23 Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire
April 24 Inverness, Mad Hatters
April 25 Aberdeen, The Tunnels
April 26 Irvine, Harbour Arts Centre