ManCub explains its transition from guitars to drum machines
No one can accuse the members of ManCub — Danny Stillman and Alex Anderson — of not being original. Their respective musical backgrounds are both centered around traditional music styles, from metal to mathy indie rock, but with ManCub, the pair decided to do away with the traditional format of electric guitars and drums in favor of stockpiling drum machines, noise pedals and percussive loops to create noisy dance punk that is anything but typical. Even the pair's approach to CD packaging shows originality: Their latest two-song EP is being packaged in denim jackets, handmade by the band themselves. We caught up with Alex Anderson and asked him about the new sound and the band's DIY approach to promotion.
Westword: Traditionally, you and Danny played in rock bands. Why did you decide to start a band completely different from anything you had done before?
Alex Anderson: We had to find another creative outlet. He had always known about analog synthesis, and I was just getting into it, so we started buying a bunch of gear. I think it was just trying something new. We had both been playing in bands that were emulating certain styles, and we wanted to find new ways to express ourselves and stop imitating people and start creating something that was our own.
How did you even know how to create this type of music, based on the music you've played in the past?
A lot of experimentation. We knew how to use the gear; we've both been doing multi-track recording our whole lives, so that's what we started with. Unlike our old bands, who would practice the same part over and over again, we would try and go straight to a final draft. We would experiment with different drum machines to get different beats together and figure out different grooves.
Do you feel that taking the time to put out an artistic physical copy of an album is important considering the age we are in, when most people don't even see physical copies of albums anymore?
Yeah, I do. I've seen people who have missed our set still want to take home a copy of the CD just based on how it looks. In this case, you can put the CD on your computer and still have the bag to do whatever you want with it. I know one guy who uses it as an oven mitt. Every time he bakes a Totino's pizza, he has to see our name.
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