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In our „Artist Feature“ series we regularly introduce well-known stars, underground big shots and newcomers. Each issue contains 15 questions, some of which are always the same, and some of which are individual.
We recently had a skype interview with Chico Mann. The Jersey City based producer is a multi-talent whose passion for music has allowed him to revolutionize and create a very personal and unique style for Electro-Afrobeat. His daily routine is to use synthesizers, drum machines and guitars to fill the gap between afrobeat, afrocuban, freestyle and electronic music. Chico Mann is also the guitarist of Antibalas, a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that plays performances all over the world.
Here is a compact transcript of the interview where Chico Mann talks about impressive songs, his favourite record stores, the collaboration with Soundway Records and many more. Read on the full „Artist Feature“ Interview below.
Where to go to eat when in New Jersey? Do you have a special place?
There’s a place called Saigon Cafe, a vietnamese restaurant that I really like.
Your favorite dish?
At the vietnamese place it’s Shrimp Pad Thai Curry.
Which book did you read last?
„Bardo Thodol“ – The Tibetan Book Of The Dead. I’m not sure who wrote this book. It’s probably written by some tibetian monks. (laughs)
Your favourite music shop in town, to your opinion?
Please name a song, which impress you each time hearing it.
I can’t pronounce it but there is this song by Orchestre Poly Rythmo, that I really love. Every time I listen to it I’m like wow, this is just amazing. The name of the song is titled „Malin Kpon O„.
Right now, which songs are coming through your headphones on the way through town?
In an interview with Pulsobeat I read that your father was the owner of a record label. How did it happen, that you stayed out of the business and start your own career as a musician?
I don’t know man. You know, I grew up with music because my family was in the music business. My mother is also a songwriter. So, that’s probably why. They gave me music lessons when I was a little kid, so that’s what started my love for music. It wasn’t unitl I was a teenager that I found that I could express myself through music. So I’ve been doing it ever since.
Which was the first instrument you played?
The first one was the piano.
As a guitarist of the group Antibalas you played a couple of shows at differen places on earth. What did you learn about different places, people and culture?
I don’t know that I could say one thing…. Well, no I could say one thing. One thing I’ve learned from travelling all around the world playing music is that mostly everybody is the same. Anywhere you go is mostly the same. It’s weird. I think there is be more differences, but it’s mostly the same. I mean everybody eats, everybody wants to laughs, wants to have a good time, everybody cries. It’s pretty much everybody is the same. (laughs)
Can you share an anecdote about playing live as Chico Mann?
You never know what’s gonna happen. You never know. That’s the most simple way putting it. (laughs)
In which area of the states you enjoyed to play the most?
L.A., because it’s always fun there.
Your new album Magical Thinking will be release on April 15 via the british record label Soundway Rec. Please tell us – how did this collaboration come together?
I think the person that connected the dots was DJ Monk One. He introduced me to Miles Cleret from Soundway Rec and then that started the conversation.
Two years ago you played a show for Wax Poetics with Afrika Bambaataa – how was it?
It was really easy and just great. He was so friendly. It was definitely a milestone in my musical career. We played seperate DJ sets on the show but one day I would love to do a collaboration with him. That would be amazing.
Five minutes before the show starts…
Everyone needs to be quiet.
An audio drama about my life should be narrated by …
James Earl Jones. He is a famous actor. He did the voice of Darth Vader.
Where I come from, the most important thing is…
Hmm, I never even thought of something like that. Where I come from, the most important thing is that your game is tight.
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