Manteye

 Manteye

Sometimes all it takes to get a good sense of someone is just a little communication. If I manage to sleep at all, I wake up in the morning to fantastic conversations left behind only hours before and instantly continue the dialogue….

Mark Manthei of Manteye is one of those communicators. Whether it’s through his music or his correspondence – you not only get the point of what he’s saying – but you can actually hear the passion behind both the words he writes and the songs he sings. And though he might write some fairly up-tempo and catchy tunes – there’s a heavy weight of a world behind the scenes of that music.

Many musicians know about “Go time” or, “Make it or break it” – call it whatever you like – but every musician at some point has to make that decision to go after their dream and more than likely leave a world they knew before inside and out, entirely behind. And in the music world, as we all know – not all dreams come true. Quite often, as a result of that decision, things may even seem to get worse…often impossible. But I’ve heard it said and I’ve seen it proven myself – what you’re most passionate about is what will ultimately lead you to your successes in life, and if this is the case then our new friend Mark from Manteye will get there too.

I started my research on Manteye at the MySpace page. I clicked on a track called “Kill the Music” – let’s start the journey from there….

Interview with Manteye

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SBS: First off – I’ve had moments where I’ve decided to really sit down and listen to a bunch of new songs I’ve received or downloaded. My process for finding what I believe I would want to start with involves scanning thousands (Literally) of tracks for a certain quality. I want to say straight off Manteye – I would have immediately stopped on this track and put it on that list of something I would need to listen to a LOT MORE later, after my massive song draft. I think there’s a tremendous honesty and in your music on this track – what a great introduction to what you do and sound like. Tell me about this particular track…

Manteye: Kill the music is how I found glory and a righteousness in Hip Hop and Rap. I struggled with it for a while……but not anymore. I love the spirit of those artists that can flow and spit….and do it all for the love……..real kick ass lyrists, craftmanship, love… If the “fat cat do gooders” in government don’t like it…..then they should have provided musical instruments in schools and kept the programs that went with it… back in the day. With that gone in the inner cities….especially New York….folks like Grand Master Flash and so many others……made their own music…..without instruments…..now that’s some shit…..some real improvisational shit.

Kill The Music – Manteye

Kill the music…but don’t kill the song

Fire the singer…but don’t shoot ’em down

The love affair with the pounding drum

Has left me here without one word of wisdom

Kill the music….but don’t kill it dead

There’s so many notes..floating through my head

And I want to hear them sing..don’t wanna see them run

Into phrases made up without one word of wisdom

And if the song should disappear

And not come back for a hundred years

I could always eat these mp3’s or wave files in my head

or sing a song instead…..sing a song instead

Kill the music…..but don’t make a sound

Take the stage….and fire up the crowd

There’s a beautiful noise that been going on

And I believe, I think, I thought, I heard at least one word of wisdom

And if the song should disappear

And not come back for a hundred years

I could always eat these mp3’s or wave files in my head

or sing a song instead…..sing a song instead

Kill the music…but don’t kill the song

Word and Music by Mark Manthei copyright May 3 2012

SBS: Wow! “Sure Don’t Mind” really hit home with me. Reminds me of an updated Doug and the Slugs – I’m sure you know them if you’re from Canada like us! Also like the Getaway People in my opinion. Bottom line – is it’s fun to listen to. Is it a conscious choice to keep the music on a lighter note?

Manteye: No…..that’s a journey I have to force myself to take…..I do take it less than often, but lately have been putted more of an effort into “up-tempo material”. I’m leaning these days on material that I can do rap features on regardless of the tempo……or the topic.

SBS: You can also say this was a strange experience into MySpace for me again. There have been many. But yeah – rather than play another of your songs – it somehow jumped to a completely different and quite religious artist – so I may as well ask now that I have to delete 5 other questions anyway – I gotta make something out of this mess – so, Manteye – any religion or spirituality in your life? Does the subject come up in your music or cross paths with you at all?

Manteye: No.

SBS: Almost hearing like….like a Dire Straights kind of thing at times or David Baerwald. So I guess let’s make it official – let the people and followers of SBS know where you draw your influences from.

Manteye: You know I just started writing song at 13….after listening to some of the music of those days…..The Beatles, Jim Croce, Loverboy, Murray Head… I just love the song itself and how to make it all fit together like a puzzle….my first was called “Miss Pretty.” It then grew into Fleetwood Mac, John Lennon, Alice Cooper……and more.

SBS: As a current one man act Manteye – how can you tell you “nailed it” on any track? Wouldn’t you be too close to the project to be a fair judge? Who is the “Wilson” to your “Dr. House” (or Tom Hanks even I guess!) that you bounce your ideas off of?

Manteye: If you’re talking about recording and not writing……I hate recording…..so I try to get it over with as soon as possible…..the track “In November” and the video that goes with it…..took me 8 minutes to do. With a tempo “drum feel” ready to go…..I grabbed my guitar from my Safari Van, and headed up stairs to my friend, Timian Ba’s studio downtown and sat down in his booth. With a very quick level check, I performed it and left in 8 minutes. It’s always one take or 2…with a tempo drum feel….and I leave the rest to the studio owner to build…..I always say….surprise me. I never re-sing a track….and I know I should, but I’m not making Cd’s or Albums with this stuff. I just want to attract a producer that will take this material to another level….then I’ll re – sing, even consider re – write.

SBS: I always ask solo artists Manteye – is there a hidden “control freak” aspect at play here? What keeps you solo now as opposed to playing nice with the others? You were a part of a larger group in this project before – what has you being solo now?

Manteye: When I play live…there is much less stuff to carry.

SBS: As most of our readers know, and you know now yourself through our communication – I LOVE details and all kinds of documents on your life – so I can do my job better and represent you the best we can to the rest of the world…….hmmm….rest of the world – that’s sound familiar Manteye? Please explain what this document on you looking for space for 1hr for a world record of some sort! What record – can you say? And yeah – we’re across Canada – but we kinda really dig the idea of being in a world record….and I can’t find anywhere it says that I’m not qualified to BE that space – so when you comin by? How does this work?

Manteye: I’ve approached Guinness…they’re probably not going for it, but I’m doing it anyway. I picked up on the idea after reading that Ed Sherran did 312 gigs in 2009, after he read that Van Morrison did 200 gigs in one year….it just sounded like a record to break…..and I need to get good again, and the road is the place to do that…… weather I succeed or fail…..I will have at least tried.

SBS: We just recently talked with Phillip Foxley – a blues guitarist from the UK – and HE had disappeared for 30 years – now he’s back. Then I see in your bio you left for TWENTY as well! Why do you suppose the current economic systems don’t really allow people to go after this full time like they used to – where’s the breakdown?

Manteye: I’m not sure what you mean friend….I’m just trying to think outside the box here and maybe catch a break or some viral newfeed. All I really know is that at 54 yrs old I’m not getting younger. I left music after being dropped by my label after one album in 92…. and didn’t miss music much until recently…..so we are raising capital, (my oldest friend is on all this stuff) and hoping to do North America and the UK for sure….It averages 8 gigs a week…..obviously 3 a day on weekends and hopefully some work place nooners during the week……or wherever. It’s all logistics and “outside of the box” marketing. Listen ….. I don’t know if it can be done or anything…..I only know that I will only suffer more regret if the last two years turn out to be…..for nothing.

SBS: Having been in the scene, a reason to go and a reason to come back and to stay – what advice do you have for the young independent artists out there? Is there something you wish you had done differently during this time that maybe you can help the new acts out there avoid?

Manteye: Get and keep your integrity…..it’s valuable.

Do your thing….not someone elses

Be nice to everyone…even if you don’t like them

And treat your fans like gold

I did some of these things sometimes….and that was my downfall….it cost me my deal back then.

SBS: And maybe tell us about that reason to stay – after 20 years away – what brings you back? Did the music ever completely leave you?

Manteye: I found myself in a depression in 2008 after moving to the suburbs from downtown Toronto and that, coupled with being 50, losing a ton of money in the market crash of 2008 (after paying down debt…everything)…and finding myself unemployed….I took some time off of life and my family and let my wife run our businesses downtown and started to write. I wrote “jump” on Sept 1st 2010 and didn’t stop until Sept 1 2012…. I completed 119 songs in that period. It comes back….it never leaves…..or at least it did for me.

Damn it though….it gets worse….you see because of that obsession and depression and not working or contributing to anything else…… I lost my wife of 20 yrs….we are now separating.

One of my kids hates me and the other loves me to bits…time will tell….

SBS: Your music has elements of pop, blues, rock….so many genres really. I can personally play any instrument, but I don’t feel like I play any of them WELL – definitely a jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none thing here. I’m wondering how it works in musical genres though. Is there a particular style that you feel your music leans more towards? And is there one that, maybe not necessarily even your favorite – but you feel like you nail it better than the others?

Manteye: No…. I have a love for the great slow song that rips at your guts….as far as being a player…I just experiment and try to grow as a guitar player a bit more when I can….remembering of course that I’m older and I’m not supposed to be like that….lol

SBS: Your bio describes the music as containing “simple and well-arranged elements.” I agree actually. But I’m curious as to why you feel it’s important to not over-complicate things musically. How does that happen in songwriting anyway – at what point does over-complication occur?

Manteye: I don’t over complicate songwriting actually….. I just do what I feel…nothing more….nothing less

SBS: As a one man show Manteye – when recording – what’s happening there? Who’s doing the mixing?

Manteye: In the last couple of years since I started back, I have only recorded with 3 different studio owners and I let them mix….. If I don’t like something about it I will ask for changes….but I usually just keep whatever it is they mixed.

As for recording, I explained earlier….it’s live off the floor, with a feel electronic drum track, and hopefully 1 take…..or 2

SBS: Some guys are album guys, and some people are song guys. What does that phrase me to you in your musical definition and which would you say of those two would be more important for you to be?

Manteye: I’m a song guy all the way….there’s no point in making albums with no audience.

If I had a good size audience…I would love to give them a new song every week…… yeah.

SBS: Take that one a bit further – in comparison on a sociological level – does a complete album or a hit song seem to have more of an impact on society?

Manteye: Albums are remembered, I think the same as “hit songs”…..it just depend on the level of the consumer…..listener….not everyone is a music officianado.

SBS: What is going to drive you to continue with this path of Manteye music over the next several years? How can we be sure as fans that you won’t disappear on us again? Reassure us!

Manteye: I can’t….life is hard

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SBS: You claim you’ll travel to play anywhere – that’s a pretty bold statement! So first off – currently how far outside of Ontario has that taken you – and is there a certain place that you’d love to play someday, or venue? How come? And besides our YouTube show of course – we know that’s implied!

Manteye: Crossed the country once in 91……and then we split the band up.

I would love to play outdoors all summer in any hemisphere and then write all winter long…..whatever I wanted to write…..record with a new great producer every time and be loved by millions…..(come on now….deep down that’s what we all dreamed of when we started playing…..right?)

SBS: As a more upbeat and “friendly” sounding music, Manteye – we’re always curious about the secrets people keep……so lay it on us man – we’ll be cool about it – when no one is looking – are you ROCKING OUT to anything completely outside of your genre? How extreme are the reaches of what you listen to?

Manteye: I love rap….the craft….the idea…..the street-ness of it……the rebellious nature….it is as pure as jazz ever tried not to be. Kill the music is about my journey with that.

“The love affair with the pounding drum….has left me here without one word of wisdom”

SBS: We’ve done our own research of course – but is there a particular one of your pages you’re most proud of – the one you’d send people to find out about Manteye first – which one would you say that is, why, and who does the work in updating that?

Manteye: I’m not sure what you mean my friend, but I am not a marketer….yet…haha.

I just want to go out live with my little 400 gig gimmick and see if I can attract some attention…..Attention comes for being bold and twisted and trying to resonate……yes/no?

SBS: Let me see if I’m reading too much into this, you can confirm if I assume something incorrectly here….I’m getting: A guy that is looking for “space” – a man that could NOT give up on the music – a solo artist who is willing to travel great lengths to play…..what’s the greater picture here Manteye? You NEED this connection to survive and just BE YOU don’t you?

Manteye: You nailed it brother….you just moved me!

Read the lyrics to the song “Blink” – Awww, fuck it….here they are…..that’s as close to the me I am right now…..as I have ever gotten to a previous me

Blink

Oh I’d like to believe that one fine sunny day

I may wake up in heaven

After spending all this wasted time down here

giving nothing special away

Yeah I could make a pretty good living

if I wasn’t forgiving myself for everything

Instead I’m left here in the end with the time

That I spend standing in the rain

Even if I could believe……I could believe ……..My way into heaven

And then wind up in some lineup……..To pickup a 3rd place ribbon

I know I’ll end up that somebody………Who pretends to lend a hand

So I can butt in with the saints….As they go marching by with the band

So Don’t Blink, it you do your gonna miss out

I mean whatcha you gonna miss when you find out someone’s kissin’ someone elses mouth

Don’t blink, Don’t worry about a thing

It’s all gonna get swept under the rug, when the rug gets finally pulled out..Don’t Blink

Oh It hurts a little everyday that I press

myself into the act of forgiveness

And I tell myself it’s only human to come up empty

After struggling this life away

There’s been so many years of neglecting everthing about the

person I was put here to be

It’s like I wake up from some bad dream that was real

enough to believe in everything I see

Even if I could believe……I could believe ……..My way into heaven

And then wind up in some lineup……..To pickup a 3rd place ribbon

I know I’ll end up that somebody………Who pretends to lend a hand

So I can butt in with the saints….As they go marching by with the band

So Don’t Blink, it you do your gonna miss out

I mean whatcha you gonna miss when you find out someone’s kissin’ someone elses mouth

Don’t blink, Don’t worry about a thing

It’s all gonna get swept under the rug, when the rug gets finally pulled out..Don’t Blink

Yeah I like the weird notes….I like the way they make me drink

So raise a glass, in case it’s the last toast……To everyone who blinks

Are they really missing out on anything….I had my eyes closed the whole time

Words and Music by Mark Manthei copyright Dec 3 2010

SBS: Manteye – we ALWAYS give our guest an open floor to say whatever they want to say to their fans and people just finding out about you now through this article, even if it’s all in consonants. The floor is yours, please be our guest.

Manteye: I’m probably making the biggest mistake in my life….but I want to find a way to play music…… until I die….that’s all.

Only time will tell.

SBS: Thank you again Manteye – it was a privilege to be able to learn about you and your music. Be sure to keep in touch with our tiny but loyal musical army at SBS and let us know whatever you’re up to in the future – we’ll want to know! Actually – on that note – don’t go just yet unless you’ve told us where we can find you playing next or what you’re recording!!!! Then we’ll consider it a wrap. Thanks again Manteye!

Manteye: No no ….thank you…Jer @ SBS – and if I’m out Abbotsford way………… I’ll look you up.  M

Check out Manteye’s homebase online http://www.manteye.com/ and support him at Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Manteye/127786570720979

SBS:  That’s a direct honesty you can’t find in “managed” acts – and the strength of character it would take to reveal what Mark has about his personal life in this interview is nothing short of astounding.

I hope that Mark finds his way, and I hope he continues to make the music he wants and needs to make – and find the support he needs so much from those that matter most to him.

To be honest on my side, I almost don’t know what to say. I truly appreciate the honesty of our independent scene and I also recognize the fragility of its current state. These artists and bands are working day jobs quite often, and then they come home and force themselves to pretend they are sales-men, or marketers of their music – when they should have the focus that Mark does – and just make the music – but they can’t get to that as much anymore. To remain in the public eye these days is to tweet from the can – or the sound you hear flushing is your career and not the toilet. We run into this countless times – but there is only one way through it and that is the hard work and sacrifice route. You can see from this interview that Mark has chosen to take that road.

Wherever it takes him, we’ll have an eye on him. And no matter what, we can only hope that if he DOES make it into the industry, that he never loses the integrity and honesty you see displayed in this article here.

Mark I wish you well in both your personal and professional life. Every person I meet teaches me something, gives me a unique perspective….makes me appreciate a certain quality or a value in life.

Your honesty in this article sir has been and will continue to be tremendously appreciated. Thank you.

Your music exists in our universe Mark – you have a voice and we can hear it clearly. Even across Canada.

Jer@SBS

http://sleepingbagstudios.ca

"I’m passionate about what I do, and just as passionate about what YOU do. Together, we can get your music into the hands of the people that should have it. Let’s create something incredible."