Local watch: I, a Man
Written by Alana Mazurke
It’s not all that often you find a band as humble in both sound and personality as I, a Man. The local four piece hailing from Melbourne have blown me away with their ability to mould comprehensible lyricism into charming yet almost melancholic melodies illuminating each piece perfectly and doing so whilst seemingly not giving the slightest undertone of a fuck; it’s effortless. So far the band has released two EP’s and are currently in the process of recording their first album set to be unleashed onto the public later this year. Ridiculously talented vocalist and guitarist Daniel Moss answers a few of my queries about the up and coming debut record and continues on to elaborate on the band and their latest commitment.
I, a man have previously released two EP’s the first being Fifty Thirty Three followed by the commendable You’re Boring Us All. With the latter of the two having been released just over a year ago; what accelerated the decision for your next release to be an album, rather than another EP?
I think we may have even questioned the idea of recording an album last time around. But seeing we were still relatively new we settled on another EP as the first one we recorded within about six months of our existence. I guess recording an album this time around didn’t really seem like an accelerated decision as we’ve been playing together for almost three years now so it seems like an appropriate time to have a crack at a full length.
How do you feel the new record will differ from previous releases; with some pretty admirable reviews from critics and clear adulation from fans – is it harder to push the boundaries creatively with writing new songs when your current sound is already becoming largely recognisable?
As a band you always strive to create a unique and recognisable sound so that’s really nice of you to say that. I suppose we don’t really think about what kind of song we have to or should write when writing songs. You kind of just have to let the songs happen in the first instance and then take it from there. We’re always trying to make sure we’re not repeating what we’ve done in the past but at the same time there have probably been five or six songs that we’ve written for this album that we’ve cut because we didn’t think it sounded like us. I think this album will definitely differ from last time. I feel like all the songs are quite different to anything we’ve done before but it still sounds like us. I guess it always becomes more challenging to push your own boundaries the more songs you write but that’s what’s exciting and rewarding from playing in a band.
The band has previously worked with producers Tim O’Halloran and Dave Williamson on You’re Boring Us All. Will you opt to use the same producers for the new album or will it be the case of searching around to find the perfect match? In saying that, just how hard is it to find someone to interpret your work exactly the way the band wants?
I’m actually answering these questions as we’re in the studio with Tim and Dave! I think the mindset we have when working with producers or mixers and what not is that you invite them into the creative process to be extra members of the band for a period of time. I don’t think we’re necessarily looking for people to interpret exactly what we want as much as understand where we are coming from and be able to translate that and add to the overall picture. Having said that it is really important that you find people that do really understand where you are coming from and also that you trust. When they’re sitting there turning dials and pushing buttons you have to assume that they’re doing it for the better of the song. We’re good friends with both Tim and Dave outside of playing in a band so we’ve got a good level of trust that everything they’re doing is for our benefit and they don’t have a vendetta against us.
You have been showcasing a few of your newest tracks at some recent gigs. What has the response been to those songs particularly as of yet?
Our showcasing of new songs has been reasonably limited due to my lack of finishing lyrics. I hadn’t been writing lyrics for a while and you kind of forget how to do it until you get back into the swing of things. We’ve probably played maybe four or five new ones so far and the response seems pretty good I think. People always comment on them, but people always comment on new songs. We’ve got another handful to start playing though so they’ll be getting a run in some upcoming shows.
Who has been the main influence to the band thus far in regard to both creating music and wrapping your head around the music industry?
It’s hard to say really, especially to narrow it down to one band. I think as far as wrapping your head around the music industry we’d probably have to look at more local bands than anyone overseas. Being an Australian band I think your whole operation is quite different to anyone in North America or Europe. They can go on tour for months on end and not play the same place whereas an Australian band can tour in two weekends at that’s your whole tour. There’s also such a larger population overseas so if you’re working within a certain niche there’s a lot bigger audience. I guess we all have a lot of respect for The Drones and how they go about their business. They’ve got a completely identifiable sound that is uniquely their own and void of any current trends and fads and they consistently release great albums and can continue to do so. That’s all you could ever ask for in making music really.
I’m always curious to hear from local Melbourne bands their opinions on Melbourne’s live music scene; do you feel the copious amounts of new bands emerging locally have made it even harder to get recognition and or patrons to attend shows?
Melbourne’s music scene is really great I think. I’d much rather be in a band and live in a city where there are plenty of great bands and venues than somewhere where there are never any bands to see. I suppose it might make it harder to get people to shows but at the same time it also offers lots of great bands to play shows with.
The band consists of your usual outfit; two guitarists, a bassist and drummer. Has there ever been a desire to collaborate with other musicians or instruments on a record?
Yeah definitely; as of late last year we’ve got a new bass player Simon. He’s pretty handy at jumping around onto different instruments and what not so he’s playing quite a bit of keys and organ on some of the new stuff. There’s talk at the moment as well of maybe having a female vocalist for some BV’s and that kind of thing but it’s still all hearsay at the moment. In the studio as well we’re pretty open when it comes to instrumentation so what might be a drum kit live might be a suitcase or door or something on record. There’s lots of little knicks’ and knacks going on the margins of songs that are a purely recorded thing.
Can you give away any information of the new release such as a title or even a rough date of the release?
Still not sure as we’ve got a bit of recording to go; we’d like to release it in August/September but it may be released a little later. We still don’t have a title at the moment hopefully something will reveal itself soon enough. I could give you working titles that we’ve been throwing around in the studio but it’s all in jokes that no one would get. It would just make us look like even bigger idiots than we normally are.