Artist Spotlight: Manuel the Band

Alexs Bar, Allen Morris, Baby Robot, Bad Suns, Di Piazza's, farm animals, Jazz Cat Studios, Jonny Bell, Manuel The Band, Prospector, Young The Giant -

Artist Spotlight: Manuel the Band

 Above: Manuel the Band, photo by Cesar Sanchez

I can put together how the band name came to be, but you guys have quite the stacked line-up. How did the line-up come to be what it is now?
I’ve seen you do little small two person shows, and there’s been times where I swear there are 10 people on stage…  

So, the original idea of the band was to be a band with people sort of coming and going. We for sure have different players, but we have also permanent players who have been in the group since 2017/2018. Crazy to think! So, how did we meet? Well, Brandon (drums) had classes together at LBCC and have played in several bands before this one. George (pedal steel) and I met back in 2010 when I started recording music with a mutual friend of ours. Richard and Kevin actually joined the band after meeting Brandon at CSUDH, in their jazz program. Lastly, Matt, we met him at a show when he came up and asked if we needed some sax. The rest is history!

-What’s the process like from idea to Finished song Is there a set process? Or does it change from song to song?

I'd say, overall, we do have a sort of "formula" with a few exceptions. Usually I'll have a song written out, both lyrically and melodically and I'll bring it to rehearsal. If the guys are into it, we'll start building the instrumentation together with each guy sort of putting their part on the bones of the song. 


Things That Can't Be Seen LP Album Cover Long Beach Music Manuel The Band

- You guys  just put out your third album, “Things That Can’t Be Seen”. Who did you work with on the album and what was that process like?

Yes! And I'm so stoked for this album! So dope. We worked at Jazz Cats studios with Jonny Bell. We worked with our producer, Allen Morris and our PR team, Baby Robot, primarily with Bobby Clevland. There was also a chicken and a lot of cats at the studio, which made me the happiest of campers. 



- Was the process any different on this album than previous albums? I know the pandemic couldn’t have made it any easier.

Oddly enough.... I think the pandemic actually did make it a bit easier. It's weird saying that, but it allotted us time, helped us save money to put towards it, and it also allowed us to be a bit more creative and really hash out ideas. All in all, the process, I think, was a much more creative and thorough one. 

- Most dreaded question every band has to answer, how would you describe your sound?

Hahaha. Our sound. I'd say it's eclectic with a little bit of everything thrown in there. But in  a few words? Jam pop.

 -What two bands /artists would you love to go on a tour with?

Ohhhh. I think Bad Suns would be fun and Young the Giant. 

-What advice would you give to young artists trying to make their way through the local scene?

Umm, I mean, I think I'm still trying to get good advice myself! But I'd say, as cliche as it sounds, just keep playing...I think there's a period of time, when a band is first starting out, where you just have to play anything and everything. Just to get out there, you know? I think it builds the band's character and the musicianship. It's an important phase. So, advice: just play whatever you can.

Gear/ band gear list:
Manuel's guitar: TC-Electronic pedals, Ibanez tube screamer, Boss Blues Driver, Full Tune octave fuzz.
Drums: Yamaha set with Zildjian cymbals.

Pedal Steel:  Goodrich volume pedal, Tube Screamer, Boss DD6, Stacks FX Native Lung Reverb

- Is there any piece of gear that you feel is part of the "MTB" sound?
Hmmm, I think George's pedal steel is a massive part of the sound. It's so dreamy!

- How often are you guys swapping things out and trying new sounds?
Individually we are always messing around with new pedals and gear looking for new sounds but the overall sound of the band stays pretty consistent.

- How close do you guys get live to recreating the recordings? is that even a goal? How do you view the relationship between Recorded Vs. Live?
It really depends on the song. Some songs are pretty much recorded live, so those are sonically close when we play shows. We tend to extend sections and improvise solos live though, that keeps it fresh for us. 

-There's always a wish list...Is there anything that you have your eye on, (new / used / vintage) that would be really fun to use on the next record?

It would be nice to try tape.

Manuel The Band Long Beach Music

 Above: Manuel the Band, photo by Cesar Sanchez

Big Picture:
What plans do you have to support the new Album?

We are going to keep playing as many shows as we can and do a little bit of traveling. Of course writing more songs and recording them is always the biggest goal.

Do you want to shout out to anyone special In the community?
We love the Long Beach community but especially The Arts Council, the various Business Association's, venue owners, bookers, other bands and musicians; it really takes a lot of people's hard work that allows bands like us to keep doing what we are doing.

Current favorites:

- Album
Still Woozy's last record
- local band(s)
Fellow Robot, Jupiter's Heat, The Hi-lo Hi Flyers, there's really so many great artists

- local restaurant(s)
Spicy Sugar, The Ordinarie, Flaming Curry

- local bar(s)
Prospector, Bamboo Club, Di Piazzas, The Pike Bar, Alex's Bar

- spot to play

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