Back in May, Dustin Adams and I got the opportunity to go to one of the best music festivals in the Pacific Northwest. Sasquatch! Festival is a three-day festival located at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George/Quincy, Washington. Thanks to Sasquatch! had the amazing opportunity to interview The Manatee Commune, an artist from Bellingham, Washington.
Thanks to Sasquatch!, we had the amazing opportunity to interview The Manatee Commune, an artist from Bellingham, Washington. Check out the convo below!
RMR: What has been your favorite experience as an artist so far?
The Manatee Commune: That’s a good question. I think, so far, what’s been my favorite is the shows. I really do love playing live. A lot of audience members aren’t prepared to see an electronic musician take on a more “live” sort of show. So it’s really fun to kind of see the shift of people thinking “Oh he’s a DJ” to “Oh this guy plays instruments and the visuals are really cool” and it turns into this beautiful experience. For me, the whole reason why I make music is so I can share experiences with people, and being able to do that with random strangers is such a privilege. It’s really awesome. So I’d say shows and touring are my favorite part of being an artist.
RMR: What’s the farthest you’ve been from home while touring?
TMC: I was just in Florida, and that was really brutal, because I drove there, so it was pretty crazy. I went in a circle around the country, just touring for the last month and a half. That was pretty nuts. And with different music and show culture it was very diverse.
RMR: What inspired you to play music?
TMC: I kind of just fell into it, because I was playing violin when I was a kid. I think I’ve always been a sensitive person, so I knew I was gonna get into some sort of artwork in one way or another. The original inspiration came from how excited my music teachers were when I was a kid, and how excited they were about me making music, and about how much they thought that I have the passion. That was my initial motivation. Beyond that, it was creating something completely beautiful out of something completely random. It’s the easiest way for people to feel things. I rarely see people break down crying from seeing a painting or eating a really good meal.
RMR: That’s me.
TMC: Yeah, me too. *group laugh*, But I see many people crying while listening to music all the time, that’s why I think it’s a great medium to work with. That’s what’s really inspiring for me.
RMR: Okay, what is your favorite food, now that we’re on the subject of food?
TMC: Haha, I’ve got to say dulmas, it’s a Mediterranean dish. It’s rice wrapped in grape leaves, soaked in olive oil and vinegar, and it’s really delicious. I highly recommend them.
RMR: What is your least favorite food?
TMC: Candy corn. Absolutely disgusting. If you like candy corn, I’m so sorry for you. By far my least favorite food.
RMR: What are your pregame rituals?
TMC: Yes. I do. I have this Spotify playlist that I always listen to before I go on stage. It has 6 songs on it. Jumper by Third Eye Blind, Take On Me by a-ha, Dancing Queen by ABBA, You Can Call Me Out by Paul Simon, and You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates. I just listen to that playlist until I’m right about to go onstage, and that usually gives me the energy to do it. Those songs make me feel like a little kid again, and that’s the aesthetic I wanna give on stage, and they also make me feel like my ego just goes out the window. That’s what I want people to feel at my shows.
RMR: How long have you been producing?
TMC: About 4 years. I didn’t get really serious into production until about 3 years ago, and it really became my passion.
RMR: What song has taken you the longest to make?
TMC: Oh man, it’s gotta be the song I did for NPR’s Tiny Desk competition. The song is called “Wake”. I wrote the song in really random situations, so it was kind of this garbled mess of a song that I needed to organize in order to get something beautiful out of it. And it was so bad because over the course of a year I just kept telling people I was gonna release it and I never did because I kept getting close to the point where I wanted to release it, but then I’d be like “no it’s not good enough yet, I know it could be better”. I realize now that the more I spend time on something, I don’t necessarily make it better, I just make it different.
Listen to his remix of God Only Knows by Flint Eastwood: