Originally choosing to remain anonymous, Man Power’s identity first caused much speculation, with guesses of John Talabot, Andrew Weatherall, Tim Sweeney and even global recruitment company Man Power all coming into play. Now unmasked, Kirkwood states the original decision to remain unidentified was to let the music be the focus and to remove comparisons with his other projects.
In the two years since his debut, Man Power’s music has certainly caused a stir, with releases on John Talabot’s Hivern Discs, New York label Throne of Blood and a full length on Jennifer Cardini’s Correspondant imprint all gaining attention and earning him a place in XLR8R’s best new artists of 2015. Having recently launched Me Me Me label with his own Tachyon EP, we asked Kirkwood to dig inside his musical mind and pick some of his favourite tracks and inspirations for the label.
Man Power on Me Me Me:
“The idea behind the label is something along the lines of the fact that as DJs are now seeming to get more breadth to just play whatever they’re into, traditional genres are becoming pretty meaningless, and the DJ themselves just starts to represent their own personalised genre. So the label is just simply music that pushes my buttons, with an eye on making people want to dance. With that in mind, I’ve tried to think of some more unconventional tracks that resonate with me on a cerebral level (i.e., appeal to my inner smart-arse) while still making me want to dance.”
1. David Sylvain and Ryuchi Sakamoto – Bamboo Houses
I’m really into that space where synthesis combines with organic elements and somehow ends up sounding more human than traditional music techniques. Big thanks to Mick at Last Waltz for turning me on to this example a lot of years back.
2. Godley and Creme – Twisted Nerve
I love things which combine deepness and drive with some really overwrought vocal pathos. When this vibe gets updated to a techno track I find it incredibly compelling. Pale Blue are masters at this for instance.
3. Pale Blue – Tougher
As mentioned above, I love Pale Blue. I’m really drawn to the emotional side of electronic music. The tracks that create “moments” on the dancefloor. I can really see this becoming obvious from some of the tracks I’ve got forthcoming on Me Me Me. Both my own and my signings.
4. Millsart – Every Dog Has Its Day Vol 5 (C1)
This record is a great example of how driving you can get while still creating something beautiful. Its sheer repetition and beauty convey’s the intensity involved in the track. That’s a tricky balance, and something I really respond to.
5. Smith and Hack – Falling Stars
I’m really into updates on old tropes things through a skewed lens. Like most of us, I grew up on the standard forms of disco/house/techno, and I like it when those forms are subverted. This track is a good example. It’s overtly disco, but re-envisioned as techno.
6. Eric Kupper presents K-Scope – Planet K
I also just enjoy it when something is what it is. This is just house being house.
7. Daphni – Ye Ye
I think the biggest driver for me is when people take a whole bunch of influences and create some kind of bastard with absolutely zero obvious single influence. That’s something that I strive for in the music I make, and something I look for in others music.
8. Christian S – The Power of Now
I’m referring to things where you listen to them and just think “how the hell did you come to that decision?”. Really inspired music that simultaneously comes from a whole load of places you know, and from somewhere you’ve never been before.
9. Tripeo – Nargy
There’s also obviously an unbridled joy in just banging it out too.
10. Westbam feat Nenah – Oldschool Baby
If I’m totally honest, I guess deep down I’m just looking for that track that combines elements of old and new, that sounds equally familiar and alien, and unites everyone as an anthem.
Man Power launches Me Me Me on October 14th, with #MMM01 available for pre-order here.