Kill Pretty: Can you tell me how the band began?
TOMMY: Three of us were in this weird noise, grindcore scene in LA about 10 years ago playing in different bands. My band Razzle Blaster, Mykes band CO-OP, and Adam's band Oh Canada would all play these weird kinda DIY venues in LA like McWorld and The Cocaine. That's kinda how we all came to know each other. Those bands all broke up and we said, "Shit, let's hang out and start a new band together." We wanted to do something that wasn't so high concept because our previous projects we’re kinda larger than life ideas. So we said, "Let's just do folk-punk." Folk instruments. No amps no mics. Okay cool, this is simple, this is easy, we'll just show up at a park or behind a dumpster or at house party and play. That's how The Manx started. It started off as this throwaway thing.
KP: When did you decide on the name?
TOMMY: Our first mandolin player and I kinda started the band somewhere in 2010. He brought up “The Manx”. Myke and Adam and I just said, “Sure. We can be all Manxy…” I don’t think we ever even tossed around any other options. That was the nature of the band at first. We kinda just went with the natural flow of things. It was a bit of a release actually not to have such a stranglehold over a project for once. The Manx started off as a kind of leisure project I think at least for Myke and I.
KP: When did you guys decide to go electric and get a drummer?
TOMMY: After about 3 years of being strictly acoustic we found ourselves just bashing our instruments to try and achieve the volume and intensity that we desired. So much so that Adam and I would actually be bleeding all over our instruments. I actually caught staph in my clawhammer hand once. So we started using amps at shows and that was kinda like the line that we had crossed which would allow us to start doing a bunch of new things. Like deciding on trying out a drummer.
MYKE: Tommy was always insisting that we get a drummer. I was like, "No! No drums! It adds all this gear to our band! That means we have to get amps! NO!"
TOMMY: Then we got Max in for a tryout and right away. Immediately at the first practice everyone was like, "YEAH DRUMS!"
MAX: You guys had already started using amps before I joined. I met these guys the first night of a month long tour they were setting out on in 2013. I was like, "Whoa this is cool music." And that night Tommy and I had learned that we grew up in the same area and our old bands had played together in high school but we didn't know each other personally. They did their whole tour and I had been listening to their music since then and I was secretly learning their songs and making up drum parts to them. I was like, "Hey would you guys maybe want a drummer?" And Tommy was like, "Yeah let's try it!"
KP: So were there concepts happening already?
MYKE: Yes, I'd say so. Lyrically. We didn't have all the bubble machines and food coloring and stuff but we had a theme. Not sci-fi. A lot of creatures and monsters. Our own vernacular, our own language.
TOMMY: So at that point once we got Max we were like, "Okay now we need to do our first full length album," and we kind of made it a point to be avant garde and experimental going into that process. Let’s just do what the hell ever. Let's make it sound as weird as we can. Or at least not say no to things that people bring to the table. So everyone got together and spewed forth. We were like, "Cool, we'll use that, that, that," and we slapped it all together and that's our album. It was Voyage of Bad Taste.
MYKE: It had a high concept feel to it. The album didn't have a theme necessarily, the theme of the album was it was a hodge podge of ideas because it really was. We tried to get everything out. Conceptually it was us just having the experience of odd taste. We say "bad taste" but really it's a voyage through a lot of weird styles.
TOMMY: We all appreciate different things musically and artistically. Everyone has their distinct personalities. We put them all together. It's almost like the drink The Suicide, when you put all the sodas together in one cup. Or you take all the things out of the fridge and just put it into something. Adam is punk and emo?
ADAM: Yeah, punk and emo-screamo, but I also went to school for jazz and I've been playing classical upright bass. So that's my own hodge podge of different things.
MAX: Our influences are GWAR and The Locust, grind metal and folk stuff. There's definitely folk stuff that trails from the origins of The Manx that made it into that first full length.