3 December 2020
The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara, the most intriguing act of 2020? You bet. Why?
Because of their mesmerizing way of combining music with poetry in sound and vision. Because of the way they embed their open-minded and progressive views on political
and social issues in arresting sonic poems and sagas. Because of the fact they introduced themselves to the world these past bizarre 12 months with no less than six remarkable singles. And last but not least because of their overall empathetic and human approach.
Let’s start this end-of-the-year chat with the brand new single Love In The Time Of Pestilence. “An appeal to humanity and an emergency broadcast to mankind at a critical moment in the current crisis. The music video is a tribute and homage to all the healthcare professionals around the world who have risked their own lives to save the lives of others“…
Hello Daphne, hello Andrea…
I called you the most intriguing act of 2020 before. Let’s start with
your intriguing artist name. What’s the story behind it?
“Thank you for that! We are most flattered!
‘The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara’ was actually a manga comic series that we
came up with. I guess you could say that ‘Samara‘ and ‘Manimal’ represent our alter
egos, or perhaps even our doppelgangers. We developed and wrote the story and made illustrations of the characters – which we decided to use on the cover of our debut single ‘Atoms’. The story is about an awkward schoolgirl who runs away into the jungle to escape from society and the modern world. All grown up but alone in the wilderness she meets someone who would change the course of her life forever. In fact, we turned the actual script of this story into a song, which we will be releasing early next year.”
Which of your songs would you play to introduce yourselves to
people who never heard of you?
“Probably our debut single, ‘Atoms‘ because it shows the many facets
of our musical and lyrical styles in just over 5 minutes.”
The combination of spoken-word-poetry and fitting soundscapes is
not something you hear every day. Why this format of performance?
Andrea: “Basically the global pandemic gave me the time I’ve never had to focus on composing and recording music. Daphne sent me some of her poems and I found them fuckin’ awesome. So I asked her if she would like to try to read it over the music, and this
is how it started.”
Daphne: “That was such a brilliant idea! Manimal wanted me to record some vocals over an instrumental techno-metal track that he had composed. Our first recording session was totally impromptu and I had not prepared anything for it. Manimal suggested I use some of my old poems, so I did. My first instinct was to recite it – like a theatrical monologue, not to sing it. Having practiced acting and training in theatre school in my earlier days, this way of performing was a mode of expression that I was most comfortable with. This particular recording session actually resulted in our second single, ‘Psychopath’s Monologue‘.” I think we’ve really developed our own style of combining “poetic performance’ with music, over the course of recording our album.”
The music goes from ambient to metal, from dance to rock, from eastern vibes to cinematic imagery. Pretty special. What triggers you to jump from one genre to another?
Andrea: “I don’t think this genre-criss crossing is intentional, it’s more like choosing a specific sound to convey a certain idea, topic, or mood. I usually start the music making process with a mental visualisation. I would first see the track unravelling in my mind as a film or a short movie. When the overall picture becomes clear in my mind, I choose my instruments and then start to record the music. I believe that some storylines or topics need to be evoked by certain kinds of sounds in order to deliver the message completely.
I usually put my focus into researching how to achieve specific sounds, drawing across cultures and musical styles….the choice is never really about deciding on which musical genre to fashion the music in.”
Daphne: “Also, in hindsight, this wide coverage of styles was with the intent of making music that would allow one to experience the full spectrum of human experience and emotion.”
Who are your favourite poets and your favourite kind of poetry?
Daphne: “Oh that’s a tough one. But my favourites would be the lyrical poetry of Ancient Greece, the sonnets of Shakespeare and Francesco Petrarca, the love poetry of John Donne, Virginia Woolf, William Morris, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, and from the more recent times, the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore and the American poet Sylvia Plath. I really, really like Sylvia Plath.”
“In my poems and lyrics, I draw a lot of inspiration not just from poetry. I get a lot of my inspiration from sacred texts, classical literature and dramatic works, as well as from the fields of philosophy and psychology. I draw a lot from the imagery and stories of the Vedas, sacred Hindu scriptures and epic poems such as the Ramayana, and the great dramatic works of the Ancient Greek Tragedians. The works of Carl Jung in particular, his study of
the collective unconscious and archetypes, has had a massive impact on how I see and interpret the world in my writings and through the words for the music. That being said, there’s also poetry in the mundane and in everyday life.”
Andrea: “Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Ugo Foscolo, Giacomo Leopardi, Giosuè Carducci, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Luigi Pirandello, and Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Bukowski, Jim Morrison… and Samara – she didn’t make it say it, honestly.”
Did you create the impressive video for new single THE DESCENT yourselves?
And what did you want to visualize?
Thank you! Yes, we make all our videos and visuals ourselves.
Andrea: “When I composed ‘The Descent’, I visualised it starting out as showing nature’s beauty and purity, like in a nature documentary. The song would then progress to show how quickly nature can turn into a wild and destructive force. Nature operates on her own timing and is independent of the needs and ways of civilisation. So when she decides that it’s time to strike, we often don’t expect it, and by the time we recognise the signs of imminent disaster, it is too late – this is the story behind the music of ‘The Descent’.”
Daphne: I wanted the lyrics to give nature a voice through which she actually communicates with us in words and in a language we understand – something that nature does not do. So I wrote the lyrics like a lyrical poem, which is told through the point of view of Mother nature personified, who warns mankind of imminent natural disaster in an affectionate but mildly admonishing monologue.
“The video really consolidated and crystalised both our visions for ‘The Descent’. On one hand, we wanted to show both the beauty and brutality of nature and to convey a sense of nature’s transcendence and almost divine and numinous character. But we also wanted the video to show the realness of the danger of its powers of destruction when nature chooses to strike.”
A lot of musicians came up with a cover of another artist’s song during these bizarre times. Which one would you pick to cover?
Andrea: “It is not in our plans at the moment, but I’ve always wanted to cover Polarized by Carcass – to present the message of the song from a new point of view and to cast it under a different light. That is if Carcass would allow us to.”
Daphne: “I would choose to cover ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ by Billy Joel – I would use the same chorus but change the lyrics of the verses to talk about the events and personalities of current times.”
What was the best track and album you heard in 2020?
“System Of A Down with Protect The Land, for sure. Not only because we’ve been waiting
15 frigging years for this, but because it truly is an anthem on an epic scale. The music and poetry in the lyrics so very masterfully and artfully succeeds in riling up the listener, while also bringing attention to the atrocities of a war that the world would have otherwise ignored. Don’t really have a favourite album for 2020, but for 2019, it was without a shadow of a doubt, Tool’s Fear Inoculum.”
The video clip that impressed your eyes this year?
“Definitely the videos and photos of animals taking back human spaces and cities
while the world was in lockdown. Pelicans strolling along the Mall in London, sheep at McDonalds, ducks and deer in strutting around central London and Paris, mountain goats parading around in a welsh seaside town….simply delightful.”
Prick of the year and hero-ine of the year ?
“Prick of the year for the both of us would be every single prick who ever flaunted lockdown rules without an acceptable reason to do so.
Hero or heroine of the year for us would be the doctors, nurses, health professionals and researchers who have risked or lost their own lives in order to save the lives of others. We felt so strongly about this we made a song, Love in the Time of Pestilence’.”
What made you laugh crazily and what made
you cry your eyes out the past 12 months?
Which song will be on your stereo on 31st December at midnight?
Andrea: “Dario Moreno – Brigitte Bardot, because it’s an amazing
rhythm to start the new year.”
Daphne: “Slayer, War Ensemble. I like new beginnings to start with
a big and heavy bang.”
Name three things you really want to see happen in 2021?
Andrea: Clean air, good waves and doomsday.
Daphne: “A vaccine and no more new pandemics, to be able to feel safe travelling and going to music venues….and then the apocalypse. Or perhaps, for The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara to be Turn Up The Volume!’s most intriguing find of the year again.”
Can we expect a full album next year?
“Oh yes! We will be releasing our first full album entitled ‘Full Spectrum’ early next year, sometime around the end of February. You will be able to pre-order the album, so look out for the announcement on our socials, or you can subscribe to get notified when this goes out, right here.”
Thank you Daphne, thank you Andrea.
Have a safe Xmas and a successful 2021 debut album year.
THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA: Facebook