Meet James Mannion...
Earlier this year we launched four three six with our first wearable release, the music was provided by James Mannion, a young bass music producer based in Bristol. We sent a few questions his way to find out more about him, his influences and being flown to Las Vegas on four days notice...
You’re sound is very Bristol, but originally you’re from Cambridge, how has moving to Bristol influenced your sound and your production style?
I had been producing since the age of 14 back in Cambridge but I never really took it too seriously until I moved to Bristol, but I grew up mostly listening to tech house and techno tracks from my Dad’s obsession with the scene, which I think has a strong presence especially when it comes to my production style. I would say everything about Bristol and the experiences I’ve had here are the main influence to the sound that I’ve been pushing under my own name. It also had a big impact on my production style being here as I’ve had a much bigger look into the nightlife of one of the UK’s leading cities when it comes to new music, pushing me to produce tracks that would suit the atmosphere of the nights being put on around me.
If there was one producer who is your biggest influence who would that be, what’s the story behind this?
Thats a really tricky question as a lot of my musical influence comes from lots of different places, bands, capturing atmospheres from different styles of music, experiences, friends as well as of course producers in the scene. But I think if I was able to put it down to just a few producers I would have to say for my early stuff it would be techno producers such as Spektre and Paul Lyman, also King Roc who unfortunately passed away back in 2012 but I believe these guys were way ahead of their time when it came to production and track writing in general. Producers that influence me the most in the scene right now would have to be guys like Woz, Doctor Jeep, Chris Lorenzo and Bot. These guys mainly because of their dedication to the scene and the awesome projects they’re involved in on the side. Plus all these guys have been the main source of music for me since I began producing seriously too.
How do you go about writing a track? What comes first, a hook, a bassline, or a beat, or does it vary? And for the tech heads what setup do you use?
Usually it varies quite a bit, but there’s a lot of different ways I go about doing it. Sometimes I’ll start with an idea in my head which I then have to transfer into the computer in some way (this usually starts in the form of a voice recording on my phone). Other times I’ll come up with a hook or bassline whilst creating bass sounds, which is another way that feels most natural to me as I can develop a whole track starting with the most prominent part, kind of gives you the ability to think about how to introduce the listener into the main section in the best way. I use Logic 9 to make all my tracks and for my bass sounds I mostly use Massive. My tech set up is different for writing and producing, as I like to write all my stuff using headphones (Sennheiser HD205’s) which is useful for when I’m on the move and also for referencing when it comes to the mix down. As for mixing down and making final tweaks to tracks I use my Macbook into a Focusrite 2i2 sound card with KRK Rokit 6’s for monitors.
Recently Diamonds was featured in an independent film KOBODO, and the producers flew you out to Las Vegas to not only play at a party but also play a part in the film, how did that go?
It was probably one of the most surreal things to happen to me. It was a really amazing experience and I met some awesome people out there with some ideas that I can see changing a few things in the industry in the near future! It was great to see other artists from around the world play sets also to get an insight into their backgrounds and the different styles that work for them. There is a lot of hype around UK Bass music over there and in European countries also such as France which I learnt from conversing with people and watching them play their sets. The filming part was even more surreal, but such a cool insight into an amazing project and I was honoured to be a part of it all and work with such inspirational and driven individuals. I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished project in 2016.
What direction do you see your sound taking in 2016?
I have a lot of exciting things lined up already for 2016 which I’m looking forward to get out there including some new projects and collaborations with some awesome artists. One of the projects that I’ve already released a track with is a new alias called “Rural” in which me and a close friend of mine are writing and releasing guitar based electronic style chilled tracks, with a 4 track EP ready for release early next year. In 2016 you can expect to see me playing a lot more shows in cities around the UK as James Mannion and also a new name which will be announced shortly with the release of an EP that I think a lot of bass heads and my current fans will like a lot!
We've just restocked all sizes of James' wearable release, you can find them all in the store section of the website...