Q+A: 5 Minutes with ManfroP

The nostalgia factor lingers with house producer ManfroP’s latest single ‘Number Two’, which features talented neo-soul singer Jessie Wagner. Released via Riptide Orignals, this vibrant track will have anyone feel the need to shake their hips from side to side with its funk-laden disco house flair. ManfroP is an inspirational self-taught musician who decided to pursue his passion in music in his early adolescent years despite many barriers that he encountered along the way. Many years later, he is still going strong and creating music that he enjoys. We asked ManfroP some questions about his craft in this exclusive interview with him.

Stream/ download: ManfroP – ‘Number Two (ft. Jessie Wagner)’

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Music has always been an important and maybe the most important thing in my life. When I was a child, my mother prevented me from learning music because she was afraid that I would stop my studies. I had to learn on my own and develop my listening and ears. I started playing the keyboard in bands at the age of sixteen and mixing at nineteen… I haven’t stopped since. ManfroP was born five years ago when I began creating my own songs.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The idea comes first … but this idea always comes from a sound. I make disco/house, so I try to find inspiration from old disco tunes. Sampling a small part of a disco track (just a few seconds), I make a new tune and bassline. Then I write my topline and lyrics.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I create my songs all by myself, but I always collaborate with the same people:

– Jessie Wagner from New York is my singer. She is currently touring live with Chic, Lenny Kravitz, etc … Her voice is just perfect for house, disco and for my tracks.

– Matthieu Noe is my mixing engineer. He has worked with names like Kungs and Feder.

– Bruno Gruel (Elektra Mastering) is my mastering engineer. He has won two Grammy awards; one in 2009 and the other in 2018.

– Antoine Chambe – The founder of my label (Riptide), and also my artistic advisor.

What’s on your current playlist?

House and disco house:

Jamie Jones – ‘My Paradise’

Armand Van Helden, Meck, Leo Sayer – ‘Thunder In My Heart Again’

Bob Sinclar, Riva Starr & Mark Broom – ‘I Feel For You’

Jay Vegas – ‘Everybody (Earth n Days Remix)’

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I love sharing my love for house music with people. I love watching the dancefloor, especially when people have fun listening to music that I love too. The best experience is when fans dance along with my tracks.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

The most important part is the topline. When I think I have a good idea, I immediately sing it and record it on my phone. This can continue for one month. Then I replay everything and I try to keep the best records and put it together in one song. For the lyrics, I write everything by myself in English. The words must ring and swing.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I can tell you that every day involves working with my mixing engineer. We don’t work together remotely. Sometimes we spend a whole day working on one song until we find a good result.

We work in a particular sequence; track by track, sound by sound and then the whole track.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I think this specific moment is just right now. I’m very proud of my new song ‘Number Two(ft. Jessie Wagner)’. It’s actually the track I’ve always wanted to create, promote, and play it in a lot of places.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

While I’m playing a set, I always pay attention to the dance floor. The crowd’s involvement is essential. My set and sequences are always prepared, but I’ve been able to switch them up. 

One more important thing: In my opinion, tracks mixed together must have the same spirit and if possible the same tunes. A set is not an addition of tracks, it has to form a whole.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Antoine Chambe is the founder of my label, but he is also a great artist. I follow him because he is already my favourite deep house artist.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

My inspiration may come from everything, at any moment. 

I have maybe an anecdote about my lyrics: I’ve never lived in the  UK. or U.S., so my English is not fluent … But I want to write my lyrics in English when focusing on house music.

So I got this idea: I often watch TV series on Netflix in English, with English subtitles. And each time I hear a word or an expression that I like, I write it on paper. Then, in a few days I’ve got a lot of good ideas for my lyrics … I just need to put them together to tell a new story!

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Nothing special. I work on my Apple device with Ableton live.

Any side projects you’re working on?

No side project, but I’m working on my first EP.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I started creating music in various styles (lounge, deep, etc.)  It was not a good direction for me.

Things turned around when I decided to produce only house music, which has always been my favourite kind of music. And the second, was when I decided to write my own toplines and lyrics, and have them sung by Jessie Wagner.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

My first EP will be out at the end of the year. It will be 100% disco/house. ‘Number Two (ft. Jessie Wagner)’ will of course be part of this EP, as well as other previous Wagner featured  tracks: ‘Givin’ Up’ and ‘I Can’t Let You Go’.

Famous last words?

Life is music and music is life.


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Image credit: Laurence Correia