Local Artist Spotlight: New Manhattan

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How did you come up with the name of the band?
It is the name of a drink at a local coffee shop of ours.

How would you describe your sound?
The best way to categorize us would probably be just alternative rock, digging deeper though we have a lot of elements of punk and garage and even hints of stoner rock.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
We all became interested in playing around 8 and 9 years old. I started playing in elementary school and so did Nate (our drummer). Fabian (our bass player) started a little later in middle school.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
When we used to play at the skatepark for fun a couple of the drunk skaters would come up to us and sing a long to whatever we were playing. There are some pretty hilarious moments of these guys just going absolutely crazy with us and then trying to skate afterward haha

What are you listening to these days?
These days I’ve been listening to all sorts of things. The pandemic has turned my head to a lot of different music. A newer band called The Chats has been heavily in my rotation recently as well as a rapper named Milo/RAP Ferreira.

What does music mean to you?
Big question. Music, I think, is the fabric of our very lives. It’s fantastic in the way it can feel new or nostalgic, it’s magical in the way songs can bring you back to moments you first heard them. You can recall the people you were with, what you were feeling, the very smell in the air off of the song you were listening to. A song can take you to a good time or a bad time, it can take you to things you regret and things you miss, it’s something so small it’s invisible and yet one of the most relevant things humans can create and share. The pursuit of giving anyone else that same experience is what it’s all about for us.

How’d you guys first get together to play music?
I’ve been playing with my bass player now for around two years. We started the band in college together. Our current drummer joined early-pandemic around a year ago.

What inspires you to write?
Life experiences big and small really. I prefer writing cleverly and witty over very deep if I can. Not taking ourselves too seriously has always been the point for us and jokes in our music are what keeps the fun there. I also love referencing the place we live. Our song Skipper is all about trying to be famous in the Bay Area and one of my personal favorites.

What’s the biggest challenge in becoming a musician today?

I think the most obvious answer is the pandemic. We struggled a lot with not being able to play shows for the past year but we continued to practice anyway to become really solid. Our love for playing together has created a tight bond between us I think. In many ways playing together over the past year gave us a reason to not feel so down about the bad situation we were in because all we’ve wanted to do is play live.

What are some of your favorite Bay Area music venues?
Some of ours are 924 Gilman in Berkeley, The Art Boutiki in San Jose, and (this isn’t really the Bay Area but) the Catalyst in Santa Cruz is really where we started to get the ball rolling as a band.

What are some local Bay Area bands you’re into?
I’m not sure what a hang is exactly but if you’re talking about other bands, back at the catalyst we played with a stellar surf-punk trio called Goodword who have since become good friends (IG: @goodword.official) they’re music is really rad although I don’t think they’ve released any. Definitely worth checking out their YouTube videos, they’ve got energy like no others.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m quite a shy introverted person which really isn’t a frontman make. In fact, it wasn’t till I started playing with our bass player where he finally convinced me to set up a show. We started playing wherever we could to get better before Covid.

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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