Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Taryn Manning Interview

Photo : Wendy Hall

Two weeks ago I wrote about the new single 'Turn it Up' from the brilliant Taryn Manning. The singer and actress' new sound is a fantastic blend of electro pop and dance and her side career as a dj is quite evident when you listen to her solo tracks.

As an actress Manning has mapped out a successful career starring in films Hustle & Flow,Crazy/Beautiful,8 Mile,Crossroads,Weirdsville & the upcoming Bonnie & Clyde film as well as tv show Hawaii 5-0. In 2003 Manning and her brother formed the excellent 'Boomkat'. Their debut single 'The Wreckoning' hit no.1 on the US Dance charts and they went on to release two albums.

Manning also runs 'Little Vanilla Records' and in 2005 founded the clothing line 'Born Uniqorn'. As a model Manning has done campaigns for the Gap,  Juicy Coture and Frankie B's as well as being a cover girl for last month's Playboy.

With all this behind her, Manning is now unleashing her solo music material as well as working on some new projects and I was delighted to speak to her this week . . .

Photo : Wendy Hall

1 - Taryn, Congratulations on the new single,its getting great feedback, where did the inspiration for the song come from?It's very musical and I wanted to write some fun party lyrics on top of it, quite simple really. What it really comes down to, is that I love writing a catchy melody.

2 - The sound is quite different from the more experimental and eccentric sound of 'Boomkat', was there a reason for the departure in sound?
Boomkat was solely between my brother and I and with this album I wanted to work with a variety of producers and writers and feel out what it would be like to play off of a number of artists with different vibes. I knew the sound I wanted to create but I wanted it to develop along side the people I pulled in. I used to be closed off to working with anyone but my brother so it was a bit nerve-wracking but really helped me to grow as an artist.

3 - Will there be a solo Taryn Manning album and what kind of sound and theme can we expect?
'Turn It Up' is just the tip of the iceberg. I have been working on this solo record for almost two years, so there is a lot of content I am playing with now and it has been fun to figure out which gems I want to release and in what order.

4 - Some of the imagery in the new video for 'Turn It Up' is beautiful and reminds me of a spread in 'Dazed & Confused' or 'I.D. Magazine', who directed it and where did you shoot it?
That is a really good call, I'm impressed. My dear friend and stylist Hellin Kay directed and created this alongside a handful of other talented friends of mine. Hellin and I worked out the premise for this based on a love for high-fashion editorials and we wanted to create that in moving picture. I personally love the quality of film, I don't think you can beat it, so I brought in a Bolex 16mm camera to shoot with that has that timeless quality.

 5 - When it comes to the videos and the style of your covers,shoots etc are you hands on with the treatment and coming up with ideas?
Of course, I can't help myself. It's all about collaboration for me.

6 - How would you describe your personal style and who and what designers inspire you?
My friends tell me I'm a bit of a gypsy-punk but I am a chameleon more than anything else, that's the actor in me. You gotta love the big fashion houses but I'm a big supporter of up-and-coming designers, I know what it's like. And there is no shortage of amazing designers here in LA.

7 - As a succesfull actress, do you find playing different characters and being part of other worlds (although fictional) an influence in your music when it comes to ideas/thoughts etc or is life as an actress seperate to the music?
I feel that it's one in the same. My film and music have really merged organically, I have written, licensed and performed several songs in my films and TV. One feeds off the other and it's an amazing pull back and forth.

8 - What music acts inspire you and what are you listening to right now?
Because of my love for music and my passion for it I am constantly discovering new music. I dont depend on the radio to tell me what to listen to. Where I am in my life, I definitely lean towards the indie and electro music people are putting out.

9 - Your also a well known DJ, how long have you been playing and what would a typical Taryn Manning set sound like?
I design my sets per gig so you gotta come out and check it live! I've been doing this for so long, DJing parties since I was 20, it is second-nature.

10 - What are your plans for the rest of the year and will there be more music/shows this summer?
As for the rest of this year, I have tons of projects in the mix, I will be releasing my new solo record that features my single "turn it up' along with other tracks that will get people movin'. I am always playing DJ gigs and live shows left and right. I have a couple film projects I'm currently involved with but they are mostly in the beginning stages, so I don't want to say too much. Gotta check back in with me on the regular!
A huge thank to Taryn Manning and her management for the interview!
Be sure to check out her site for the latest news and to listen and buy  her track 'Turn It Up'!

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