Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.”
International rock artist Manafest knows the saying well. His uphill climb began at age five when his father committed suicide. Years of childhood insecurity and fear gave way to a promising skateboarding career, but then an injury took that away too. Music soon filled the void, and it would prove to be a perfect fit. Putting words to driving rhythms gave him a way to be a visible light for other people wrestling with their own junk: strained relationships, betrayals, loss, broken dreams. He knew plenty about getting through the past and working toward the future. “I’m always there to give you the don’t-give-up message,” he says in a quiet offstage voice that balances out his amped up live presence. Since 2001, Manafest has battled his way into the business—playing a thousand shows in nine countries, winning an armload of industry awards, and gaining recent victories like his first No. 1 hit, “Bring the Ruckus.” 2010’s The Chase blew up in Japan, quadrupling sales of previous efforts, but it looks like Fighter, released in April 10th 2012, is the real knockout. Fighter is a solid release with the stand out songs being “Fighter”, ”Prison Break”, and ”Human”. Manafest combines rap and rock in a way not unlike others, but what sets him apart is how personal the songs are to him and his way of connecting that with fans. I had the opportunity to chat Manafest up and here is what he had to say.
Interview with Manafest:
Jase: Hey man! How’s it going? I hear you have a show tonight in San Antonio, TX.
Manafest: Yeah man. I just got done doing sound check. Our drummer didn’t make it from Canada. We are using another drummer tonight so it went over a little bit.
Jase: I understand that you traveled a pretty hard road to get to the place you are today. Are those experiences something you have made peace with and do you feel like it was something you had to go through to get to where you are today?
Manafest: It is definitely one of those things that you build on. I grew for sure. It definitely helps me.
Jase: What were some of your musical influences growing up?
Jase: There are not many artists that can hold true to their original sound and manage to enhance it without deviating to far from where they started out. With six studio albums out how do you think that you were able to achieve that?
Manafest: You know what, you definitely learn a lot with six albums and traveling all over. I started talking to myself. I had to slap myself a couple times.
Jase: All the songs on Fighter have a great message, reminder or encouragement to them. How does the process go in writing such songs for you?
Manafest: I write them myself first then take them to the producer. The producer takes it to the next level. I don’t even record anything. I do demo’s but that is about it. I don’t record something until it is approved by the producer.
Manafest: Seth pushed me vocally big time on singing and on trying things I had never tried. He only knew me as a rapper and not as a singer. With Adam, I have to say production; absolutely insane. He is Grammy nominated and has worked with so many artists like Chris Brown and Justin Bieber. It was a pleasure working with him.
Jase: The song “Never Let You Go” is a bit of a departure from your sound. How did that song come about?
Manafest: You know what? Seth wrote that and I changed some things. It was a big stretch. I don’t know if people will hear another song like that from me, it’s so different.
Jase: Thinking back over your entire catalog, which song would you say is the most personal that you have ever written?
Manafest: Probably ”Where Are You” because it was about my dad.
Jase: I know most of your songs are personal in nature. Are there any songs that you have had to stop performing because reliving them was just too hard?
Manafest: No, No, No, No. I get over stuff pretty easy.
Manafest: We are starting our tour tonight actually in San Antonio TX. Next we are heading to Houston then we have several dates after that scheduled.
Jase: To someone that does not know you as an artist yet, Give me three words to describe you.
Manafest: Hard. Melodic. Catchy.
Jase: I read that you were heading to the studio a few days ago to write and record. Can you elaborate on that?
Manafest: I was on the way to Texas and it was half way there. I stopped to record a video blog and to just hang out really.
Jase: In closing, what message would you like to put out there for your supporters and fans?
Manafest: Never stop. Quit procrastinating and chase your dreams.
Manafest. Though a man of few words the underlying message is to stay positive, keep fighting and chase your dreams. While you are out chasing them, stop by and pick up his latest release Fighter and check out his Facebook page ( 94,699 likes can’t be wrong.) You may just find some new music to groove on.
~Jase Speagul, Journalist with RockRevolt™ Magazine
Buy Fighter on Amazon HERE.
Buy Fighter on iTunes HERE.