The name "M A N I K" might spark a hint of familiarity. But if you haven’t heard him before, its probably because he’s been hiding for a few years in the confines of his “I’m Nice Like That Studios.’ “I [was] basically trying to avoid all scenarios of being seen until I felt it was the right time,” he said of his time glued to his fort of drum machines and synthesizers. Timing is everything and 2010 is his year. He’s already soaring ahead with debut releases coming out on Culprit, Ovum and Poker Flat – an impressive family of imprints for someone who is just getting started. We caught up with this promising talent at the cusp of his career catapulting to new heights and discovered a relentlessly driven man behind the mix...
What’s it like to get into the M A N I K music-making “zone”?
Inspiration hits at any time you know you can't force it or predict it…Sometimes when I get into the zone I can just keep going. But for me, getting into that music making zone I guess is sort of like eating an amazing slice of New York City pizza and drinking a cold beer next to it – just very satisfying. My approach to producing is that I try to make tracks with shelf life, material you can play in 5 years or 15 years.
Your career is really taking off – what are you aspiring for right now? Where were you career-wise a year ago?
Well bottom line is you crawl before you walk. A year ago? I was plotting my first 2010 releases and basically planning my next move. I try to stay on top of my stuff as I am always planning. I study this industry like a class, and for me, it’s the only way to be. I pay attention to everything. What people say, do, the music coming out, where we came from, and where we are going as an industry. When a hot record drops, I always think to myself ''wow, that’s dope. Really well done..." but I automatically want to run to my Studio to out do it. I take it as challenge. I give credit where credit is due, but I always say to myself, 'how can I take it to the next level?' Right now I am aspiring to be the best that I can possibly be, because I want to be one of the best.
What three records would you take with you if you were kidnapped and taken to a stranded island?
That’s a tough call but I would probably bring three different styles of music to help me through the moods I will be going through on this island. I would pick Adonis 'No Way Back' to remind me of my love affair with the 303 and 808. I would also bring Notorious BIG 'Juicy' to remind me of what its like to make something from nothing...and lastly a Mix CD of all of Hans Zimmer's compositions. He is a true musical genius.
If your music could be a color(s), what would it be and why?
I'm colorblind (which is true), and it fits the answer to your question perfectly. I see no colors and I keep an open mind.
Who or what inspires you? (This doesn’t necessarily have to be music related).
My parents. They came to this country with two suit cases in 1982 after leaving former Communist Hungary, and tried their hardest to make something for themselves in the "land of opportunity" we call the U.S.A. And you know what? I'm glad they came here to the US, because I grew up in a society where we learn early on. Immigrants from all over the world want to come here to this country. Why? Because anyone can come here and make something of themselves, so when I realized that, I said I want that to be something as well. I don't want to live in a fantasy. I want to live my dream.
What is considered “good” music and how would you describe “underground” music to someone who’s not immersed in the scene we’re in?
Good music is good music. House, Acid, Dub, Pop, Funk, 90s, 80s whatever really. It comes down to the individual. I would describe the underground scene as some of the best music you probably never even heard of. Shame because I think our music should be exploited more but a lot of people shun upon making money and making good things happen to those around you, all in the name of "underground." But I also learned a while ago that most of the people that are hating on those that are "too hyped” are the ones that got lost in the shuffle a decade ago.…I saw a great interview recently with Mike Dunn speaking about hating and how it hurts the scene and I could have not said it any better than him: "Stop all the fuckin hatin....if this person gonna produce on a record he was gonna produce it anyway...."
What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you?
Observe and study...Ask yourself, how bad you want it? Remind yourself, you may lose a lot before you make it. And also ask yourself, can you live broke for a while when others floss? Eventually you will too, but use that as motivation.