The Manor began with three friends scheming on their fag break during college – skiving off classes, they’d swap tunes, and talk about making music of their own.
Going their separate ways, life drew Johnny Dutch, Scotty Stacks, and Danny Graft back together. “We met after we finished university,” Scotty explains. “We came together, and we had some instrumentals. We started getting good reception on our Facebook, and locally started to receive it quite well.”
Allowing their music to spread online, The Manor drew together a wide-ranging coterie of friends, admirers, collaborators, and guests. Releasing a full album online, the band’s shows – essentially parties for both themselves and the audience – were famously debauched. In turn, this debauchery would find its way into the music.
“Those shows at the start were terrible, they were awful,” laughs Johnny Dutch. “There was a vibe, though… I think they felt there was a vibe in the music rather than the quality.”
Honing on their work, The Manor quickly found their feet. Song after song followed, fusing UKG beats to elements of grime, with a dash of indie to boot. At the centre of it all, though, is there home in Beckenham – a London overspill that sits in its own universe.
“Beckenham for us is the centre of the world,” adds Danny. “But it’s what that represents, cause everyone else has got their own little area that means nothing to everyone else. So you think that’s the centre of your world: that’s your high street, that’s your local, that’s your Number Nine bus, and the corner shop… you know what I mean? Beckenham is important to us, but it’s more about the representation of that to everyone else.”
The trio’s music certainly seems to be striking a chord. Reminiscent of early Streets or even the first album by The Clash, the band have an every-person appeal that is rooted in working class life while remaining completely universal.
Scotty takes the reins: “I think what we do, which other people maybe don’t, is just celebrate normal life. Rather than try to push it and try to make these extravagant songs or songs about negative things or over-positive things, we’re just being normal and being happy.”
“People tend to go for the same subject matter,” adds Johnny. “We’ve been conscious of the fact that we wanted to have a good positive vibe. Everything has got to have a positive spin.”
“What I think we’re doing different is that we don’t want to continually ramble about things that are going badly in our lives. We wanna try and write a lot of songs where things always end up getting better… and you can learn from things. That’s what you want from music ain’t it?”
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