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Seven Quick Questions: Manos Del Chango

Seven Quick Questions: Manos Del Chango

Tuesday 4th October, 2016 12:19PM

Having just landed in New Zealand following a lengthy tour through Europe, USA and Antartica, the recently surfaced blues-trash duo Manos Del Chango will be kicking off a nationwide tour on Friday. The seven-date stomp will take the yin and yang twosome (made up of Delaney Davison and Nicole Izobel Garcia) zig-zagging from Auckland all the way to Lyttelton, and in anticipation we threw a few questions at the pair to see what makes them tick...

1. We’ve heard a few interesting yarns through the grapevine, but maybe you can tell us how Manos Del Chango came together?

D: Nicole and I met in Bern Switzerland (I was on yet another solo tour and she was touring with Reverend Beatman), and the three of us played a show together in the rafters of the Voodoo Rhythm Record store. We didn’t rehearse just played and I kept hearing these great things happening. It hit me how both our differences and our common musical threads could weave this strange picture.

N: Things grew from there.

2. What does the name mean and why did you choose it?

D: Manos del Chango means the “Hands of the Monkey.” The Monkey Paw being an ingredient in voodoo spells and a precursor to the idea of primeval man and his opposable thumbs. It also represents the idea that someone else’s misfortune is your luck (the idea of the talisman compounding this; see rabbits foot etc).

N: Actually, it was just a combination of Delaney’s janky ass Spanish and my small dark hairy hands.

3. When you initially formed Manos Del Chango what were you hoping to achieve, and how has that evolved over time?

D: We were aiming to blend the stark influences of Southern Blues and its dour gothic aesthetic with the rich and colourful Latin influence coming up from Mexico into USA. Kind of drawing our two opposite backgrounds together. The vital Cumbia flavour and rhythms with the obsessive blues trance. We also really wanted to blend the old LA noir film work with the German Expressionist movement and it just started to spread its wings in terms of medium and possibility. We will debut our film show at the Harcourts Arts Festival in Hawkes Bay on October the 14th and perform it again in Nelson on October 23rd.

4. Nicole, can you please share a little bit about your musical background for us?

N: As a kid I started playing the clarinet (which I can still play somehow), sang in the church choir and took a few piano lessons. Later I got interested in vintage organs and joined a 60s horror punk band in high school with my brother and his hairdo. Played in bands here in Los Angeles, and toured Europe with Reverend Beat-Man as his singing nun counterpart.

The Mexican music I sing is the stuff I grew up hating as a child because if you woke up to those songs blasting on the weekend you knew your mom was cleaning and you knew you were going to be cleaning, too. I guess the agony in my voice stems from that.

5. What do each of you bring to the table for the project, musically or otherwise?

N: Obviously we both bring our musical influences, but we try to find the balance between us and also keep it open. We purposefully use this project to explore new ideas, new equipment, and try new things, like things we aren’t so comfortable with. And obviously Delaney brings the dance moves.

D: It’s true, just being freer to explore is kind of the goal. It's so often that you get stuck playing things, the same songs the same way, it’s nice to feel things move and evolve. Actually it is Nicole who always brings the dance moves.

6. Delaney, you are well known as a solo troubadour. How has it been travelling as a two-piece? Any unique challenges?

Delaney's list of things learnt from tour with Nicole:
1.Learning to listen to someone else and slow down.
2.Learning to make decisions with and for two people.
3.Saying No to Bad ideas.
4.Saying Yes to Good ideas.
5. Feeding Nicole to avoid meltdown.

7. You have the tour of New Zealand coming up, and what’s on the cards after that?

N: Yes we have our seven NZ shows coming up, then we split to Melbourne for a couple of shows. After that we will finish our album and get things ready for next year. . Ay ya yai..

D: We are also looking to continue the film work and talking at the moment with Voodoo Rhythm Records and Reverend Beatman about a feature film. We plan to release our Manos del Chango debut album next year as well and will look at touring Europe and USA second half of 2017.

Manos Del Chango

Friday 7th October, Wine Cellar, Auckland
Saturday 8th October, Wine Cellar, Auckland
Sunday 9th October, Leigh Sawmill Cafe, Leigh
Friday 14th October, Harcourts Arts Festival, Hawkes Bay
Friday 21st October, Meow, Wellington
Sunday 23rd October, Nelson Arts Festival, Nelson
Saturday 29th October, Wunderbar, Lyttelton

Tickets to all shows except Hawkes Bay and Nelson available HERE at UTR


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