23-06-2014 | 09.08
House has few secrets left for Mano le Tough. Thanks to his intensive submersion in Berlin’s club culture, it takes more than some random Kerri Chandler rip-off to get him enthusiastic. Mano likes his music fresh and original. As if we weren’t already excited enough to see him play!
Everywhere I read about how sensitive and how emotional you are. And then on your website I see a photo of you, arms crossed, in front of a mountain like you just built it yourself. What kind of a guy are you really?
‘That’s a tough question.’
Yeah, but you are Mano le Tough, so that should be ok...
‘I guess I’m just pretty normal. I’m different to different people, like everyone is. In general I’m quite down to earth. Obviously music is my biggest passion, but in the last few years I’ve also tried to explore other sides of my life. Now I’m trying to be healthy and do some sport. The main reason for doing this, is just so I can have the balance to do what I want to do musically. A positive life has a positive effect on my music. I’m getting older. It’s the time to... you know... maybe not fuck around as much.’
You needed some sports, so you decided to climb a mountain?
‘I think in nearly everything I’ve ever done, I’ve never been really moderate. So that’s a pretty good example of my personality. But I mostly just go running. Even at that mountain, that was just running. And I play a lot of golf, I’m obsessed with it, even when I was a kid. I stopped for 15 years and now I’m back into it again. The sports I do are not extreme, just my attitude towards them maybe is.’
Did this attitude bring you overall more positive or negative things?
‘Definitely positive things. It’s totally the same thing with music. I think the reason I can make a living from music, is from just being really obsessed with it. Actively deciding that this is really what I wanted to do for my life, that was a main thing. I have the type of personality that if I really want to do something, I will try to do it as much as I can and to do it the best way I possibly can .’
When you moved to Berlin 7 years ago, you didn’t have instant big success. Could you tell me a bit about those hard first months?
‘First hard years! I moved here and I was super broke. I slowly starting DJing more and more, just in Berlin, doing a lot of different gigs. I was making music all the time, but to be honest I needed the time that Berlin gave me to develop as an artist. But it was definitely tough.’
How did you handle that?
‘Hey, I still had fun! *laughs* Berlin is a city where you can be broke and still enjoy yourself. I was worried, yeah, because you have no security. Sometimes you’re like: what the fuck am I doing here? But it worked out. I had a plan, you know. Not a really clear plan, but some sort of plan. I worked in an Irish bar, which was terrible. It was a big motivator to never have to do anything like that ever again.’
What do you prefer to do: do a gig, make a mix or make a record?
‘Make a record, which is also the most annoying thing to do as it’s so challenging! You can work for a week and just come up with nothing, or something shit. Or else you think you had something brilliant and the next day you’re like: oh, it’s not that good... But then when it is good, it’s really rewarding. I think everyone is always working towards those 5 or 10 tunes that they’re ever gonna make in their life, that are actually really good. That’s what you do it for. Every day.’
So from the 5 really good tracks every artist wants to make, what’s your rate at the moment?
You mean you’re not happy with your stuff??
‘It’s alright, but I think I can still improve. I’m not there yet.’
Text: Tessa Velthuis