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I Am The Manic Whale interview

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    Posted: May 25 2016 at 06:08
I have managed to secure an exclusive interview with up and coming British prog band I Am The Manic Whale, who will hopefully be added to PA soon.
Thanks to David and Michael for their detailed and interesting answers.
  1. I Am The Manic Whale Interview May 2016

    1. Background to the band

How did the band come to be formed?

You recently published a photo of the band in the same room for the first time. How did you all meet and was the album recorded?

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Michael: David and I met at secondary school and have been making music together in various guises since then. We met Ben a couple of years later through my sister. Then I met John via email and facebook through a very unlikely set of circumstances in about 2008 and eventually met him in real life at a wedding in 2014.


David: Actually Mike and I met before that… While in primary school a mutual friend introduced us and we spent the day (all 3 of us) playing in my parents’ back garden in Reading. We must have been about 7 or 8 years old. I seem to remember we had some kind of disagreement and argued about what we would play on the computer, and I turned it off in a moment of uncharacteristic rage. Since that dark day (‘Black Sunday’ we call it), we have never had even so much as a heated debate, for fear of repeating those tumultuous events.


Michael: We recorded a lot of the album by remote control. David, John and myself all have home-recording facilities, so I can throw together a demo of song and send it to them. They can then add all the shredding, twiddles, bells and whistles in their own time and send the files back to me. At some point during the process Ben comes around to my studio and smashes out some hard-rockin’ drums. Quite often David and John are working independently on the same material and I have to make some hard decisions when the parts come back as they don’t all work together, or the textures are just too full!


Then all the separate files are sent off to Rob Aubrey at Aubitt studios, who promtply tells me to re-do half of them as they’re not up to scratch! Rob has an excellent ear for detail and is a stickler for accuracy and our album is better as a consequence!


Where did the band name come from? Why is the whale manic?


There is a secret hidden meaning behind the band’s name, which is unlikely to be revealed in the near future as a way of maintaining a sense of awe and mystery around the band.


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    1. Future Plans

Are there any plans for gigs/tours in the near future? Can you play somewhere near my house (please)?

Are there any plans for more albums? Will they take less than 10 years?

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Michael: We have begun rehearsals for live shows and they have been extremely enjoyable. We have about an hour’s repertoire ready to go, but no confirmed gig dates in the diary yet. If any readers are looking for a prog band for an event please do get in touch!

We have begun work on writing songs for Manic Whale II, and it is confidently expected to be released by the summer of 2026.

David: I think it’s important to set realistic deadlines. So let’s say 2036 for now and consider moving the date forward when we start recording backing vocals.

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    1. Musical influences

I hear bits of modern prog bands such as Spocks Beard and IZZ in your music. Who are your main musical influences?

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Michael: I don’t think I’ve ever heard of IZZ! Some have said we sound like ACT, who I’ve also never really listened to.

I really like, Genesis, Queen, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Genesis, Yes, Big Big Train, The Flower Kings, Genesis, Neal Morse, Spock’s Beard, Genesis, Moon Safari, Transatlantic, Genesis, ELO, ELP, ELQ, Genesis, Supertramp, Steven Wilson, Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, The Alan Parsons Project, Genesis, Tin Spirits and others.

David: I’m a big Spock’s Beard (and Neal Morse) fan, love Dream Theater (the old stuff), and the guitar heroes like Joe Satriani, Van Halen, Paul Gilbert, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Tommy Emmanuel.

    1. The songs

The track “Princess Strange” is about cyber bullying – is this a subject close to your heart(s)?

Michael: The song is inspired by some of my experience in teaching. Every time a student gets into trouble for bullying the immediate response is “it was a joke”, which is always a very flimsy excuse for some pretty unpleasant behaviour towards another person. It made me cross, so I wrote a song about it.

What's the story behind the 10,000 year clock in “Clock of the Long Now”?

Michael: I read about the Long Now project in an online article and was inspired by this idea of building an all-mechanical clock that could keep perfect time without human intervention for 10,000 years as a way of promoting long-term thinking. We were very fortunate in being given permission to use some images of the clock in our album artwork. The image on the CD itself is the face of the protoype clock, which you can visit in the Science Museum, London.

If readers would like to know more about the Long Now foundation they are encouraged to visit www.longnow.org

David: I envision the tour guide video when you visit The Clock of the Long Now with us on the soundtrack, and I really hope that comes to fruition.

And for the record I asked Mike several times to include a reprise of “Ceramic Ball Bearings” at the end of Derelict. It was recorded but strangely didn’t turn up in the final mix & master of the song.

Is “Derelict” the first prog song about a disused swimming pool?

Michael: As far as I know! And we certainly hope so. Lyric writing is something that I’ve not always found easy in the 15 years or so I’ve been writing songs. It was listening to a song called “East Coast Racer” by Big Big Train, which is about the steam locomotive Mallard, that made me realise I could write songs about stuff I’m genuinely interested in rather than trying to fit into an existing lyrical mould. As a child I loved Mallard and the story about the world speed record for steam, but I would never have considered writing a song about it. Derelict is a tale about an urban explorer who breaks into an abandoned swimming pool to take pictures and finds himself strangely moved by what he finds there.

David: Er, it’s all a big metaphor isn’t it? Isn’t it?? Is it really about a swimming pool?

    1. And finally...

Will you getting new scarves for the next album?

David: So far we have raised over £4.50 in album sales so I confidently believe we will have enough money to buy new scarves, possibly in time for Winter.

Michael: John and David will. I will be sticking with my existing scarf as it is 14’ long, which is long enough for at least two albums. Ben doesn’t believe in scarves.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 25 2016 at 06:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 29 2016 at 05:21
Nice work AlanClap
“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

- Douglas Adams
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 01 2016 at 04:51
Originally posted by Guldbamsen Guldbamsen wrote:

Nice work AlanClap


Thanks David. Check this band out if you haven't already!
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