Craig Manga is the driving force behind a myriad of musical projects, primarily the perfect musical perversity that is Mangabros. Along with a crew of willing accomplices, he journeys through electronica like a buccaneer, showing scant regard for conventions as he follows his very unique and sometimes uncompromising musical vision. With the recent release of three retrospective albums, we caught up with him to find out more.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What’s the story behind Mangabros and how would you describe your sound?
As Craig Manga, I’ve been cursed with a sense of plurality and anonymity. Mangabros (pronounced Manga brothers) is, to all intents and purposes, a solo project, absurd person singular, as it were, albeit augmented by a plethora of my favourite cohorts and collaborative artists. I remain singer-songsmith and programmer with lofty aspirations.
‘We’ (there I go again) have been described as “Ballardian electro-psycho bluesmen” and “wonky post-prog”. The catalogue is heavily infused with narrative weave and weft and conceptual experimentation. We flit everywhere – drawing on electronica, avant garde, illbience, glitch-psyche, dance, broken balladry and post-rock – but fit nowhere.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
The deeper darker headspace of Mangabros musik is a flitting by-product of my A.D.D-addled brain. I absorb all kinds of genre like a musical sponge. My heroes are Beefheart, Hammill, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno and Napalm Death. Lyrically, (in a similar manner to Chris Morris) I often delve into taboo subject matter.
You recently released three albums on the same day – the relaunch of the 3 Colours Trilogy in fact – how did that come about?
It’s the complete body of work of the band (up to date) but serves as a further exploration of the Mangabros songbook with extra remixes, alternate versions and rewires. Slowburnblue (includes the skintune cycle Porno Karaoke with tall tales from the sex trade) is our erotic debut: Shivacrowblack, our sophomore effort, remains our exploration of my darkest fears. A difficult listen, but, hopefully, worthwhile and cathartic. Deepfleshred was a huge scrapbook of songs of love, loss & longing (and maybe a little lust).
Are there any particular bands or artists to identify with musically? Who would you rate as influences or compatriots?
I tend to be influenced by prose and poetry and moving images rather than music: Burroughs, Ballard, Plath, ee cumings. And conceptual artists too: Cage, Altman, Hirst, Inarritu.
Do you find it easy to write and record material? Is it a spontaneous or gradual process?
Mangamusik is almost viral in its creative flow, led by various generative processes (dice, cards, random methodology).
Any upcoming gigs, more new releases on the horizon, other projects?
We are in an evolutionary state presently. There are some loose ends need tying off with Mangabros (Nadayadayeller) then the inevitable mutation into something much darker, as MUTHAS OF THE HEADFUCK (more guitars), MODWUMP (modular synthesis), NASTY CHIP (industrial 8bit chiptune) and MILF BROTHERS (just out there crazy). Our output threatens to remain fidgety, more about fluidity and flux than fixed ideas.