29 December 2021
Imagine the late, legendary American poet/writer Sylvia Plath fronting a noise-exploring band, creating a striking combination of spoken-word poetry and metallic soundscapes. That’s what THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA accomplish with their sonic art. The way they embed their acute and outspoken views on political and social issues in sound and vision is pretty special.
No wonder the duo’s – Daphne Ang and Andrea Papi – LP called
FULL SPECTRUM, is Turn Up The Volume‘s the debut album of 2021.
Want to learn more about this DIY tandem? Check out this interview. As usual,
we start a Q & A with music. Here comes one of their two singles ‘Count The Dead‘…
Your stunning debut album FULL SPECTRUM came out last February.
What was the experience like, then and now, of having made a first longplayer?
“Thank you! It seems so long ago that we wrote and recorded the songs in Full Spectrum.
It has truly been a journey to remember. It was tough of course, being independent artists, we only have each other to count on to get the job done.
Whatever you hear, read, see, or watch, has been made entirely by the both of us, everything from designing graphics and cover artwork, making our own videos, copywriting, of course, the music and lyrics.
Of course, there have been ups and downs in this journey, but at least we didn’t
have to do it alone. Also very happy to have made so many friends along the way.”
Already working on a follow-up?
“Yes, in fact we started working on the songs in our second album, Trust No Leaders, about a month after we released Full Spectrum. We wrote and recorded the album between April and August this year. It is now mixed and mastered and due for release sometime in 2022.
It’s definitely much heavier, and darker than our first album, both musically and lyrically. Our first album was about the metaphysical and the existential. But the new album looks inwards into the human condition, often going into dark places.
The current crisis and the events of our time have made it necessary for us to analyse, investigate, and expose the issues in urgent need of systemic change and look inwards into the human condition. But despite its dark tone, overall it pushes for making a future that prioritises people and the environment. It is about the awakening of the collective human spirit. It is about what it means to be human.
They are similar in the way that the lyrics are both influenced by theatre and literature,
the first album drew from Ancient Greek theatre to Shakespearean drama, and the new
album tends to be more precise and structured, as it draws elements from Carl Jung’s works, Classical Persian poetry, Gnostic texts, theology, and modern theatre.”
You released also two new singles after the LP. What’s COUNT THE DEAD about?
“Count the Dead actually continues the themes addressed in Love in the Time of Pestilence, and is the second installment of songs which address the ongoing pandemic.
We composed this song as a protest against world leaders, whose negligence and recklessness have resulted in one of the largest avoidable losses of lives in generations.
We wanted to draw attention to the social and economic injustices that plague society, and the violent health inequalities that have been further exacerbated by the global pandemic, which has now claimed more than 5 million lives worldwide.
At a time when the world appears to be more divided than ever before,
discourse has never been more important, and urgent.”
The video for the other single THE PROPHET is very impressive.
What’s the process of the construction of the clip like?
Andrea: “We usually have a clear script before the music composition.
Samara is the best to make it real in visual form.”
Daphne: “Thank you! I think it’s our best video so far. Andrea and I will first discuss the storyline and the scenes we want to present in the video. I then go away and construct them scene by scene to go with the music and lyrics. This usually involves several layers per scene. With every new video we make, I learn new techniques and tricks. But all you really need is imagination, patience…and several Adobe photo and video editing software programs!”
Your spoken word performances are a fundamental part of the whole TCOMAS sound, Daphne. Any intention to sing on a track(s) in the future?
Daphne: “There’s going to be surprises in the new album but I can’t say it right now. But definitely no plans to abandon this. It’s our form of expression. I feel that it allows for the use of phrases, metaphors and imagery in a way that standard lyrical songwriting does not.
It is powerful, cathartic, and moving, and when combined within music, has the power to connect with the personal and collective unconscious on a really deeper level and singing would.”
What are the consequences of BREXIT for musicians?
“BREXIT and COVID killed and destroyed the economy
in the UK and guess who’s gonna pay for it?”
Any future plans to play live?
“Yes, of course, we are dying to. We would really love to, but unfortunately, this pandemic has made us seriously consider the implications of what it will be to go back ‘to normal’ when obviously the time is still not ripe and until we can ensure the safety of all our fans, and everyone in attendance, we will have to hold it off until better days come for all of us.”
Which movie would you pick to visualize the TCOMAS sound?
Andrea: “It’s difficult to pinpoint as each song sounds like a movie on its own. But let’s try, shall we? For Full Spectrum, I would say From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino as well Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) directed by Terry Gilliamould.
For the new album, Trust No Leaders, probably somewhere along the lines of Apocalypto (2006) meets American History X (1998) with a touch of Once Upon a Time in America (1984), with Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock as the director.”
Daphne: “Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), and Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (2006). Film and the moving image play a big role in our music, not just in influencing the videos we make but also in the writing process as well. Being visual artists as well, image and sound always go hand in hand for us.”
Suppose you were asked to rewrite and put new music to the British Royal Anthem ‘God Save The Queen’. No restrictions whatsoever. What would be the outcome, in sound and vision?
“The Sex Pistols have already done it! We’d stick with their version, because it is epic and irreplaceable. Especially this event where they played God Save The Queen (‘we mean it man’) on The River Thames in London in 1977 on the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II ‘beneath
the bridges of London‘…before they were stopped by the police.”
The best track you heard all year?
‘Us Against December Skies‘ by Harakiri for the Sky
THE Event – good or bad – of 2021?
Andrea:”The good one is that we are still here rocking more than ever before!”
Daphne: “We are really proud that we released our debut album and also
managed to write and record our second album in one year…and also start
a side project business:TCOMAS Studio.”
Andrea: “The worst thing happened in 2021: The Holy See now cannot be sued for cases
of sexual abuse committed by priests of various countries — as decided by the European Court of Human Rights.”
Daphne: “Delta and Omicron.”
Are you fans of traditional Xmas carols? If so, which one is your favorite?
“No, not at all, sorry! But we love to share our culinary traditions with each other, so we will whip up a Christmas feast and probably play some non-Xmas Jazz. Okay, okay, if we were to choose, it would have to be sung by Frank Sinatra, and only Frank Sinatra.”
Suppose you were asked to a DJ set on 31st December.
Name 3 songs you would certainly play?
“The new year is always a time to reflect upon history through great music.
For that, can we get 4 each, please? Our playlist will be the following songs, in this order.
House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals (1964)
Blowin’ In The Wind by Bob Dylan
Volare by Domenico Modugno (1958)
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron (1971)
You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen (2016)
Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt (2002) by Trent Reznor (1995)
Lazarus by David Bowie (2015/2016)
Disturbed’s 2015 cover of Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel (1964)
Three things you really love to happen
in 2022 for Samara and Manimal.
“We’d really like to go on a holiday!
A successful album launch
A Covid-free world (might be wishful thinking).”
Thank you for this interview, Daphne and Andrea.
May the road rise with The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara in 2022!
Back to the music.
Stream FULL SPECTRUM here…