The last time Mandy Kane released new music was in 2009, when Gary Numan and Ade Fenton remixed his bone crushing synth-centric track ’25 Seconds’. Mandy Kane has returned with Darkness & Divine EP. Tomatrax caught up with Mandy to asked a few questions.
Your last release was in 2009, what was it like to release your own music again after this time?
While the break I had was necessary, I am very thankful for this opportunity to release new material again after all these years. Even though I was still working in and around the music industry during my hiatus, I didn’t have the motivation to put myself or my ideas on the line again as an artist until now. There is a strong feeling that the right time has finally arrived and when that calling comes it is something that cannot be ignored.
What made you decide to release an EP this time round?
The collection of songs featured on this EP had been recorded with producer Woody Annison some time ago. The tracks had been sitting there and I would occasionally give them a listen. I was really happy with the recordings and wanted to get them out there because I feel that as a concise set of songs, they work really well together and make a defined statement in that format.
Where did the title Darkness and Divine come from?
The title Darkness & Divine has been taken from a lyric in the track ‘Yin & Yang’. The impetus behind this release is to explore duality and also to investigate the darkest and most divine aspects of our humanity.
You used Crowdfunding to fund the EP, where did this idea come about?
A big reason for taking such a long break was due to a lack of funding. I was, once upon a time, signed to a major record label and access to advances for recording and tour support was not really an issue. Now, as an independent artist, it is essential to find alternative methods of securing the capital to invest into recording, manufacturing, promotion and all the other aspects of my career. Crowdfunding platforms enable the fans to directly contribute to the artist and provide this funding, while at the same time benefiting from any number of unique incentives on offer. I found that this process allowed me to connect with fans more closely than ever before and I think the experience has been very rewarding for everyone involved.
You’ve also put out a deluxe version of Tragic Daydreams, what inspired you to re-release the album?
The year that the crowdfunding campaign took place was 2014 – the 10th Anniversary of the original release of Tragic Daydreams. I was inspired to rediscover archived recordings of alternate versions of the songs which had been recorded in LA over a decade ago, as well as demos and unreleased live recordings, to celebrate the anniversary. The final result is a CD / DVD digipack release featuring all of the key audio / visual components of Tragic Daydreams, reimagined. I wanted to release a version of the album that I could listen to and be confident in, as I had some reservations and regrets concerning the original release. Many of the tracks on the new release have a depth, sonically and musically, which the originals lack. I feel that the album sounds more mature and consistent overall, even though both versions have their respective merits.
Was it hard to pick what bonus material to include on the deluxe edition?
There certainly was a large volume of content to review while I was putting this release together, although I’m confident that I’ve selected the best of it. The main issue was ensuring that everything I included was consistent with that era and the Tragic Daydreams project. All of the bonus content comes from the same time period. For people who buy the Bandcamp version of the release, I’ve even included two alternate 4-track demos of the song ‘Tragic Daydreams’, which ironically never ended up being included on the album. I would have been in my teens when those were recorded and it’s interesting to hear how different my voice was back then.
You’ve spent some time managing and developing other artists, how does this compare to making your own music?
The things I enjoy most about working with other artists in the capacity of a manager is watching them evolve musically and seeing them build a fanbase. I like to let them do their thing and only provide guidance when and where necessary. I don’t like to force them into changing who they are or what they want to achieve. When it comes to my own music, I treat it as a way of life. I often tell other artists who are finding the industry frustrating that true success cannot be measured in financial terms or Facebook likes when you are serious about creating art. The most visionary artists throughout history have been impoverished and obscure during their lifetimes but their work becomes immortalised and widely respected decades, sometimes centuries, after they are gone. I have warned many artists that this lifestyle is not for everyone. Some have continued and some have chosen other paths. For me, there is no choice other than to keep creating.
What was it like to have Gary Numan remix your music?
Gary Numan is regarded as the ‘Godfather of Electronic Music’ by many, so it was a real honour to be able to work with he and his producer at the time, Ade Fenton. The remix came about because music reviewers had compared my original mix of the track to Numan’s work, so it made sense to approach him and ask if he would be interested in getting involved. My deeper belief is that these connections occur on an energetic level and that you can draw people and events into your life through sheer intent. Music is a prime generator, conductor and transmitter of this intent.
What was it like to tour with Marilyn Manson?
For much the same reasons that I met Gary Numan, I ended up connecting with Marilyn Manson. The connection there was not so much about music, but about how we were both using music as a medium to express an energy and intent. The tour was intense and brought with it a powerful presence wherever we traveled. The atmosphere was electric, with violence backstage following every set and hedonism extending beyond the stage. When Manson and shared the same space, strange things would happen and I think we were perhaps not ready to meet each other so early in our travels. The energy was strong but I know that I was neither focused nor experienced enough at that time to take full advantage of the encounter. The whole tour felt like a premature ejaculation.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Yes, I listen to my own music intensely when producing and recording – to the point that I cannot listen any more. I see the sound waves in my head and analyse them until they mean nothing. Then, I will not listen until the actual release because all I hear are errors. I now prefer to have someone else take care of all the editing and arranging because if I have done that work myself I can never really listen without being distracted by the visual representation of where the edits occur and so forth. I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I can listen to one of my own songs and hear it as just that – a song. For the most part, though, I’d much prefer to listen to other artists’ music.
What other music do you listen to?
I love The Horrors, Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead and heaps of other indie/alternative music. Music with a British influence appeals to me, in particular. I also have soundtracks, classical music, Americana and hip-hop in my collection. I’m basically a fan of any music which is honest and authentic, regardless of its genre.
What do you have planned for 2016?
I have some more material lined up for release in 2016 and I am interested in doing some more film composition work. I may put another show together for a tour, depending on whether the right opportunity presents itself. I believe I have been inspired to get back out there and keep creating music because the human race is going to be experiencing some unprecedented events over the next few years. I am ready to assume my role, document my journey and leave behind my testimony for future generations to discover.
Check out Mandy Kane’s website to find out more!