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New Album: Myele Manzanza

‘New Album’ is where a band or artist answers some questions about their latest release. The son of a Congolese master percussionist, New Zealand born Myele Manzanza first gained international attention as one third of NZ soul act, Electric Wire Hustle. After six years of performing, recording and touring with the band that he formed, he left in 2013 in order to release his solo debut. We caught up with him for a chat about his third solo release, ‘A Love Requited’, which has just dropped across all platforms.

When/where was the new album recorded?
We got the full recording sessions knocked out in about 3 – 4 days at Mixmasters Studios in Adelaide, South Australia.

Who produced/engineered the album? How did the tracks come together in the studio, or at home?
The music is material I’ve been working on over the past two years. Gradually composing, introducing it to bands to perform and revising it to where it got to now. So while we had a very quick turnaround in the studio, it was because I had two years of prep to get it there. The album was produced with bassist Ross McHenry and engineered by Tom Barnes.

How did the songwriting happen? Are there any overall themes within the songs/album?
I was definitely doing a lot more inward looking reflection for this record. Thinking about death, family, relationships, career etc and trying to use the writing process to help work through some of those things. If I was to sum it up in a sentence, A Love Requited is really about the process of getting over my own shit.

Were you going for a different sound/approach on this album?
I’d say musically, where One was my producer/beatmaker album and OnePointOne was my live drummer/bandleader album, “A Love Requited” has a greater focus on composition and arranging. Rather than working with software & samples, most of the time was spent on piano and manuscript paper, getting a more thorough idea of harmony, melody and how to orchestrate across multiple instruments. In recording with primarily acoustic instrumentation (with the odd synth & electric guitar & bass in there) I feel it’s helped to give a richer & more organic sound, so while my hip hop & electronic music proclivities are still in there with the rhythm & energy, going with acoustic instrumentation recorded primarily in real-time without any click tracks etc. helped to free up the sound and get a more fluid and natural feel across the whole project.

Was there any specific gear you used to capture that?
My engineer would be more onto it in regard to tricks with mics & pre-amps etc. But really it’s just about the regular sound of the drums, horns, piano, guitar & bass and the musicianship behind it, and spending time getting inside the harmony to fully flesh out the arrangements to get there.

Is there a particular single/track that you feel captures the essence of the album?
I’m sure people will have their favourite songs when they hear it, and for me it kind of changes from day to day, but really I feel the album is best understood as a journey from top to bottom.

Is there a physical copy available? If not which digital platforms is it available on?
It’ll be out on vinyl through Bandcamp and all good record stores, as well as digital through the normal purchasing and streaming platforms. [Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Apple Music]

Are you working on a video/videos for any of the songs? Are you doing any gigs or promotion for its release?
I’ll be touring New Zealand in July in support of the album with a new trio featuring Jonathan Crayford on keys and Johnny Lawrence on bass. I’m really excited to be on the road again.
10th July – Auckland
11th July – Hastings
12th July – Wellington13th July – Wellington
14th July – Queenstown
16th July – Wanaka
17th July – Christchurch
Tickets and info can be found via www.myelemanzanza.com

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