Berlin-based, Irish-born Mano Le Tough returns with his breathtaking new EP, 'Stories', marking his debut release on Ben Watt's Buzzin' Fly label. Whilst working the Berlin scene with a residency at basement club Kleine Reise, he's also long been crafting fine pieces of lush disco, house, and electronica sounds gracing the likes of labels such as Mirau, Prins Thomas' Internasjonal, and Dirt Crew. Having been more focused on instrumentals in the past, he is now taking on songwriting with his dreamy new EP, featuring his own vocals and softly layered twinkling pianos. So impressed, Buzzin' Fly have already commissioned his debut album, set for release on Buzzin' Fly in early 2012.
Dazed Digital: Your tracks tend to have quite romantic titles and themes, is this a conscious motion? Is it reflective of yourself as a person?
Mano Le Tough: It's not really a conscious decision to make my songs romantic, I write music about things and people that are important to me. I guess I approach music in a more traditional songwriting way rather than making dance tracks. It's important for me to make music that is honest and somehow carries across a feeling or emotion. I want my music to be a reflection of my life and my view of the world and if that happens to be romantic then so be it.
DD: What is your new release all about?
Mano Le Tough: My new release is thematically about human relationships. I guess I use my personal experiences and try to make them general so other people can relate to them. From the musical side I tried to challenge myself and avoid cliches which can be hard in electronic music. Also, I sang on two of the tracks which is something I am doing more and more. Recording my voice has kind of opened up another world for me in terms of making music and changed my processes and how I think about songs. I am really excited about it.
DD: How does living in Berlin compare to Ireland in terms of direct influences on your music making? Or does the internet change all that now?
Mano Le Tough: With the internet you have access to every kind of music form everywhere but living somewhere is totally different. I guess Berlin is a real centre of electronic music and you can go and listen to it every night of the week, but to be honest I kind of have a feeling that I've moved away from being influenced by what is going on in the clubs, and am more influenced by other things in my life. Berlin has been a great place to live and develop as a musician, and it is great to have so many friends here doing the same thing, but I think it's important to find your own way and not really care about what other people are doing so much.
DD: What's the story behind the name?
Mano Le Tough: Mano is an abbreviation of my surname that stuck in Secondary School, Le Tough came from a very short-lived band I had with some friends in Ireland many moons ago called Hang Tough. I am not really that tough, although I got stung by a wasp the other day and it didn't hurt that much.
DD: Who would be your dream collaborators?
Mano Le Tough: Collaborations are a funny thing, there are many variables such as if there is creative chemistry, if people are in the right mood, if the people have complementary skill sets etc, so I can't really say. But working with really good musicians is something I want to do more and more, and at some stage perform my songs live with a band.
DD: What are you most excited about next?
Mano Le Tough: I am very excited about my debut album on Buzzin' Fly early next year, more touring around the world, and of course developing more as an artist.
Mano Le Tough plays The Nest, Dalston, London on September 9th: Buzzin' Fly showcase with Lee Jones, Flowers and Sea Creatures (live), and Chris Woodward.
Mano Le Tough - Stories