A Chat With…Manor

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Vocalist Caitlin Duff and producer Nathaniel Morse make up Manor. The unique duo recently dropped their debut EP. Ahead of the launch this coming Thursday, we had a chat to Caitlin.

In a recent interview you referenced your self-imposed hibernation/developmental phase. What sparked this phase? And what are some of the benefits that has resulted from it? Having played a number of shows straight out of the gate, and becoming increasingly frustrated by the limitations we had imposed on ourselves (not having the right gear, not being super happy with the songs we were performing at the time and generally wanting to put something together that we could be really proud of) we decided that we needed to take some time to work out what we were trying to do with Manor. There’s so much pressure in music to be out and social all the time but that’s not really us as people. We prefer to consider and perfect things before anyone hears them, let alone sees us play them live. The benefit so far has been putting together a show that we’re really proud of, that we know is true to what we’re trying to do.

You recently released your debut EP. Described as showcase EP, the three tracks give a really nice introduction to the band. What was the decision process around choosing three tracks? And when are we likely to hear more music? These songs were written quite early on in the piece, they are important because it was the first time we started to use our recording studio and really looking at how we were writing and where we wanted to take our music. They tell our origin story; we knew that if no one ever heard them it would seem like a huge leap from our very first few singles to our upcoming album. You’re likely to hear new music very soon, we’re working on a few things as we speak!

Last year you both headed to Tokyo for a writing stint – did you co-write with anyone? Or was it purely a chance to get away and focus on your own songs? The Tokyo sessions were part holiday / part shaking things up with our writing formula. I was really keen to break in a new camera and Nathaniel ended up spending most of his time vinyl hunting. As we were limited to a laptop and we couldn’t record vocals or live instruments properly we did some experimenting with what we had to hand. It forced us to spend time working on structure, ideas, themes and all that stuff that gets overlooked when you can just go straight to recording.

Your debut EP was mixed by one-time Grizzly Bear & Nick Cave producer Gareth Jones in London. How did that come about? We were fans of Gareth’s work and sort of reached out expecting that he’d be too busy or not keen, but he replied straight away and said he would love to! He was so lovely and really on board with what we were trying to do that we just kept going back to him.

Can you tell us about some of your favourite Melbourne acts? Over the past year I think we’ve seen Marlon Williams maybe four times (yes, he’s from New Zealand but he lives here… still counts) he’s brilliant live. I caught a band called ‘Belove’ last week too, those guys are going to be huge.

And Melbourne venues? We’ve always loved playing the Toff and Shebeen. We’re hearing great things about the Gasometer lately too.

You’re returning to the live circuit this May to launch your EP. How does it feel to be preparing your live show after an extended break? And what can you tell us about your live set up? We’ve been preparing our show for what seems like an eternity, so it feels really good to finally be able to play it live. We’ll be joined by bass player, Rory O’Connor, and drummer, Ryan Manolakis, who are both amazing musicians. There’s also a visual element to the show. I’ve cut together some found Super 8 footage from the family vault; sand and surf from the other side of the South Australian coastline.

What’s in store for the remainder of the year? We’ve got a couple of releases up our sleeves, we’re planning to play some more shows and find our touring feet again. We’re also working with a film maker, doing the soundtrack for a short film about the dessert. Little bits and pieces!

Manor launch their EP this Thursday May 5th at Shebeen with Counsin Tony’s Brand New Firebird and JP Klipspringer. Facebook event here.

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