DJ-producer M A N I K (AKA Chris Manik) might be best known as an uhntz-uhntz purveyor on the global party circuit. But from the beginning, he also set himself apart as a serious musician -- a classically trained production wunderkind with a knack for arrangement and melodic hooks, not to mention a veritable scholar of music.
Take his 2011 debut long player, Armies of the Night, which drew from the melting pot of music genres unique to his native New York City: disco to house, hip-hop, and even the vintage synth score of 1970s cult classic film The Warriors, for which the album was a tribute. Manik was even a Hall Of Fame inductee at the music department of his alma mater, the State University of New York at Oneonta, last year.
So it's no surprise the talented young producer has started exploring creative musical avenues outside the four-on-the-floor box -- his new live band project, for instance.
"In 2012, I started and basically finished an album with my buddy for a side project which will end up being my live band," he revealed to Crossfade this week, while keeping the juice details under wraps.
But fans of M A N I K the dancefloor destroyer need not worry about him straying too far from what he's done best so far. In fact, this month, he's dropping his latest slab of four-on-the-floor funk on Ovum Recordings, the House Cut 1 EP.
"For the new EP on Ovum, basically I wanted to make house music again," he explains. "Over the last 8-10 months, besides a few remixes, I was basically working on some side projects and my new band. I had a sudden urge to make four-four again, and these three tracks were the three I made that week. I think the EP is just me jamming on my analog synths and recording -- it was all done on three synths and just my house music mojo back."
Of course, Josh Wink's Ovum label introduced M A N I K to the world back in 2010, to almost instant acclaim, via his very first releases.
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"I first hooked up with Ovum in the summer of 2009," Manik reminisces. "I was living in a tiny apartment in Astoria, Queens, with some college buddies. I took a shot in the dark and sent [Ovum] a demo. When they loved it, I was floored. That is how it began. My relationship with Josh Wink is like mentor/student, but also a friend to friend. I can ask him about anything related to life or music and he will give me a straight answer. He is so down to earth, and a great guy to learn from."
Fans of those auspicious early M A N I K records, boasting an elegant modern production sheen yet blissfully reminiscent of classic Chicago and Detroit, will be stoked to hear what he's serving up on the new EP.
And you only have to wait a few more hours, because he'll be throwing down tonight at FDR at the Delano Miami Beach for Notes From the Underground.