Anders Manga broke into the scene in April of 2005 with his debut solo release, "One Up for the Dying" on Vampture Records. Described as darkwave, goth rock, gothtronica, etc... Anders Manga has developed a quick following in many genres. He became the all-time most downloaded goth artist at download.com with over 40,000 downloads in 2005. Songs such as "Solitary Heaven", "Shiver", "Heart of Black" and more have been turning up on DJ's playlists worldwide while "We Won't Stay Dead" is quickly becoming a Goth/Industrial night staple.
Also in 2005, Anders Manga co-headlined Goth Stock in Hartford, CT, a two day festival featuring other goth/industrial artists such as The Cruxshadows, Bella Morte, Genitorturers, and many more. Two months prior he played "Dracula's Ball" in Philadelphia, the largest event of it's type in America before heading to Atlanta for a special show during the extremely popular fantasy arts convention, Dragoncon.
Now in February 2006, Grave Concerns E-zine has finally caught up with Anders Manga to talk about their new CD and their journey since last April, 2005 when they firs broke into the scene. Can you believe they have only been around less then a year?
GC: How is the New Year treating you as we are now in February 2006?
AM: Very good! "Left of an All-Time Low" was just released on January 13th and the support has been extremely nice.
GC: Can you tell us more about who you are and how your idea to introduce Anders Manga to the world happened?
AM: I've been playing in bands for years... traditional bass, drums, guitar kinda bands. I never really found anything that stuck so I took a few years off to work in film. One day while I was editing a movie, I took a break and started messing around with my keyboard and wrote what is now known as the song, "Solitary Heaven". Some friends of mine took the demo one night to a local goth/fetish party here in Charlotte. The DJ loved it and started playing it on a regular basis. Suddenly I had lots of people asking me when the whole album was coming out and I was like.... ummm I don't know? Luckily, I had several songs written over the last few months... "Heart of Black", "The Source", etc. so it wasn't long before I released "One Up for the Dying" which spread from DJ to DJ, city to city. It was quite a viral beast.
GC: How did you work out working with Sco, and how did his involvement change things?
Well... after the spread of "One Up for the Dying", I was getting requests to play live. Patrick Collins from Dancing Ferret offered me a show at Dracula's Ball in Philadelphia which was definitely something I didn't want to turn down. I had to put together a band quick and I had known for a couple of years about this guy named Sco who lived in town who had like 18 synths all tricked out. I was finally put in touch with him and got him a copy of the record. He loved it and we soon after started rehearsing and here we are today.Sco definitely brings another layer of atmosphere to Anders Manga, first live and now on "Left of an All-Time Low". Definitely glad to have him and his talents on board.
GC: Who is Gargirl?
AM: Gargirl is a dear friend and has joined us on stage helping out with Backing vocals and some synth work. I'm hoping to work this summer on a GarGirl EP that would be due out in fall more than likely. She's got an awesome voice.
This interview also marks the first official announcement that Psychopsis, who is known mostly for her modeling will be joining us as well running all the programming on stage. She is the girl on the cover of "Left of an All-Time Low" and has done lots of print work. We have been best friends for a long time and just recently upgraded to lovers which was inevitable.It's funny, I got two friend request on myspace just tonight from her... only neither were her. People are always taking her pictures and claiming that they are her... it's funny yet disturbing at the same time. :-)
GC: Do a lot of people know that Anders Manga is really the singer's name?
AM: Most do. Some people however do think it's a band name... the first name, "Anders" just isn't very popular in the states so...
GC: Approaching almost two years in the music scene in April 2006, can you describe your journey over the past two years?
AM: Actually this is my first year. "One Up" was released in April 2005... I know it seems longer right? There are some typos out there that read 2004 though. It has been an extremely eventful year and I hope it only goes up from here. I'm coming up on my first year anniversary and will be celebrating with a show at Convergence 12 down in New Orleans so I hope everyone will be there to hang out!
GC: Obviously the internet has helped develop your following with over 40,000 download in 2005 s, how this helped your overall sales of the albums at the end?I'm not really sure. Posting my music last year for download was my effort to get some people to listen and trade... just generally spread the word. I'm sure there were some sales associated with that but I can't really tell statistically. I really don't care if people download or trade my stuff as long as if they really like it, they show some support and go to a show, buy a t-shirt, or something. As you know Julie, we are a small scene and being tagged "goth" is nearly the kiss of death when it comes to mainstream support. We have to all pitch in a little to keep the scene undead.
GC: What is your plan and target for on-line promotion of your music, because what ever you are doing it is working?
AM: Well, I like to think it's good songwriting but beyond that it's making sure I'm everywhere an artist can possibly be online so that potential new fans can easily find it. The internet has definitely opened up lines of communication between artist and listener.
GC: Going back to 2005, can you tell us more about your experience at Goth Stock and what that has done for you as a band?
AM: Goth Stock was lots of fun and quite successful for it's first year. There were I believe about 46 bands throughout that 2 day festival. I headlined one stage while Cruxshadows headlined the other. I believe if they move it to a new city and if they were to stagger the bands so that they aren't playing at the same time on different stages, Goth Stock will definitely be a key festival from now on. Best of luck to those guys!
GC: Again, when you were at Goth Stock you were playing with notable bands like The Cruxshadows and Belle Morte, how did you prepare for this show knowing maybe you were playing your music to many people for the first time live?
AM: Well... I was cool with playing to new faces. I was however a bit weirded out about playing last. The promoter was an Anders Manga fan and booked us last which meant Bella Morte and Ego Likeness played before us. Those are two excellent bands who have much more time in the scene on me and I just really didn't want to follow them... haha... but it all worked out ok I guess.
GC: Now that you have played a major festival, and several other big gothic and industrial shows do you find your self a new top contender in the scene?
AM: I really have no idea. It's really hard to tell when you're living it. I know I get more and more e-mail everyday and find myself on playlists in different parts of the world so I definitely see growth. I'm just going to stay humble about it and just ride it out.
GC: You have done several videos for songs such as "Shiver" and "Solitary Heaven". How do you go about shooting your videos? How do you come up with a video idea? How do you work with on your videos?
AM: I have shot, directed and edited all the video so far. II get lots of creative input from friends like GarGirl in the strange little catsuit in the "Shiver" video... that was her idea. Psychopsis had lots of influence on the "Empire On the Sun" video and shot all my parts. She's pretty good with the camera. They just start with some way over budget idea and I work my way back from there ;-)Anders Manga - "Empire On the Sun" Video provided by AndersManga.com
GC: On your new release, "Left of an All Time Low", you did a cover of Mercyful Fate's "Gypsy, why was this song chosen for a cover?
AM:It's just one of those songs I always wanted to do. I saw King Diamond live years ago and he happened to play that song and it just stuck with me. My version is quite different but the vibe is still there I believe. I was quite a metal head in my younger years and Mercyful Fate was definitely cranked many-a-day.
GC: So far you have done two CD's, one in 2005, and now for 2006. Did the success and buzz of the first CD push for new music in early 2006?
AM:I have been writing songs for lots of years and I intend on releasing all of it. I probably have about 60 songs that are unreleased and I'm still writing. Granted some of it is a bit crap but I promise not release any of that ;-)
GC: Will we hear new material as well in 2007 or will there be something new like remixes etc later this year?
AM:Yes. I have started on the next album which will be titled, "Lovely Sort of Death". The plan is to release that in 2007 and a DVD collection of live footage and videos should come first or after.
GC: Can you tell us how you went about making "Left of an All Time Low", and how you wanted to change from the first album, "One up for the Dying"?
AM:I didn't intend on changing, it was quite natural. I did want to do something a bit thicker and heavier and I think I achieved that. I love the sound of "Left of an All-Time Low"... I spent many hours on that one and it was great to have Sco lay down tracks on everything.
GC: Musically, how is "Heart of Black" from One Up for the Dying" and "Surrender" from "Left of an All Time Low", compare to each other?
AM:Well they're both ballads. I have a soft side, I admit it. I get overwhelmed by the e-mail's I get about "Heart of Black". I see it on so many people's profiles on myspace, etc. and I'm so glad I could reach out to so many people. Folks could relate to that song and they really latched on to it. "Surrender" on the other hand is a bit more abstract lyrically and open to interpretation.
GC: Your music has the best of both worlds, Goth and EBM, but what do you think makes your sound so appealing?
AM:Ummmm... If I may be so bold, I believe that it's probably simply because the albums are a collection of songs... I'm from Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Nick Cave, Gary Numan... I was never really interested in the rave scene so I missed all of that. I definitely respect lots of new bands who are kicking ass producing incredible synth-sick dance floor grooves but that's not really me... I like writing songs first. Luckily though, I guess it's oouncie enough for some DJ's because I'm seeing some play... thanks BTW ;-)
GC: I feel that the music on "Left of an All Time Low", has taken on a heavier side with some more distortion. So, I was wondering how did the two of you come up with your melodies to fit the lyrics on your latest album?
AM:I write all the songs and melodies on an acoustic guitar first, then transcribe them to electronic. That's just my formula that works for me. After I lay down drums, bass, strings and a few synths, etc. Sco comes in and brings the noise and thick analog synths. I do more the melody synth stuff while he does more of the experimental grooves and noises. We work well together."One Up for the Dying" album was all me and it's nice now to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
GC: For me, I feel "Bad Girls Go to Hell", is one of the best tracks on the new CD, what song do you feel will be the most successful on Left of An All-time Low".
AM:Thanks. So far, "Bloodletting On the Kiss" seems to be getting lots of interest while "Glamour" and "Character in Charm" are turning up on Dance floors. It's only been out a few weeks so it's hard to tell right now. I'll get Nancy Drew on it though.
GC: Knowing which songs did well on "One up for the Dying", how did those songs prepare you for writing news song for the new album?
AM:ll the songs on "Left of an All-Time Low" were actually written before "One Up for the Dying" with the exception of "Bad Girls Go to Hell", "What's that Hell in Your Heaven" & "Innocence End". I'm very backwards the way I do things. Mustabeen how I was raised?
GC: Any exciting news to report about Anders Manga?
AM:Yes. Hope to see everyone at Convergence 12 in New Orleans! I'll be playing on the 13th and I'll also have a booth there. I'll also be speaking on the music panels at DragonCon this year in Atlanta as well as a possible gig... kinda too early to tell about the show. I played last year and it was lots of fun.I'll also be doing some touring this year. Gonna try to get out there and see everyone! In between I'll be recording "Lovely Sort of Death" so it looks quite busy this year!
GC: It was nice to see you on one of 2005' top ten lists!
AM: Yeah... thanks. My name above Depeche Mode and Skinny Puppy is just weird though. I demand a recount... hahaVisit Anders Manga on-line: www.andermanga.com
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