Credit: Ryan Sheppeck
A new Yorkshire export, the four-piece Manuka Hive while still a fledgling outfit (formed in the latter half of 2017), have wasted no time in setting stages alight around Doncaster, Leeds and Manchester (there's even been a foray over to Paris) with their live show. The alt-rockers have just unveiled their debut single, 'R.E.D'.
Who are you?
We are Manuka Hive, and we are making a team effort of this whilst loading all our gear back into our studio after last night's crazy gig in Doncaster. There's Tom Laffey on guitar, Joel Phillips, bass, Miles Machen on drums, and, as usual, our singing guitarist Charlie Phelps not helping at all with the load in!
Tell us something about yourself and how you came to be where you are today?
It's a bit of a weird one really how it all came about. Charlie and Joel had known each other for years after being the last ones to leave various gigs in dingy pubs up and down the country. Charlie came up to Leeds and we went out to see The Ladyboys Of Bangkok and caught up in the spectacle of it, we decided we needed to get a band together. Fortunately, around the same time Laffey and Joel had just started hanging out and casually jamming, so it all just kind of fell together at the right time like some sort of beautiful accident. After throwing around some song ideas we had heard about Miles on the grapevine so we invited him down for a jam. I think we knew within about 30 seconds of being in the same room that we were on to something, you could taste it in the air. We all just clicked straight away and it just developed really naturally from there; it's almost like there's a weird psychic understanding going on. From then on we've just been locked away in our little studio in South Yorkshire creating mad vibes.
Give us an idea of your musical style and influences.
As they say you are a sum of your influences and fortunately we actually bonded over a love for a lot of the same music - from The Vines to Smashing Pumpkins, The Lemon Twigs to The Hives, The Pixies to Queens Of The Stone age and loads more in between. Everything feels like its just being played a bit safe at the moment, but we want to be outlaws like the big alternative rock bands who influence us. In terms of new music, bands like The Blinders, Avalanche Party and SHEAFS all inspire us with their live shows.
Explain the production and writing process behind your songs.
All of our best stuff seems to come completely unintentionally just jamming. I don't think we have ever sat down and said "right, we need to write". It's such a good environment to be in, down at our rehearsal space, and everyone is always throwing ideas out there be it a riff or drum pattern and then everyone tends to just join in without a word being spoken. Everyone in this band has a real genuine passion and love for music so it's always just happened naturally, it's never a chore. We are also really lucky that Charlie has a studio set-up at his house, so we're constantly demoing stuff then tweaking it; it's just an ongoing process that we all love being a part of.
Tell us a little about your new single.
'R.E.D' is our first ever commitment to record and we were super psyched to work with the genius chaps behind Sunglasses For Jaws and Hidden Charms on it. It's a bit of a ripper and we just wanted to get something out that was a real statement of intent. It was great working with those guys because they understood exactly the raw, D.I.Y garagey / grungey vibe we wanted for it and the whole process of recording it was perfect. It all felt really natural and right, despite us all being a little worse for wear from the evening before we hit the studio! A lot of stuff around at the moment seems to be real watered down horrible guitar pop bullshit and we just wanted to keep it real and dangerous.
Can we catch up with you at any forthcoming live shows?
Head over to our Facebook, as events are getting added all the time, but as it stands you can catch us propping up the bar at....
3rd Social Bar - Doncaster
12th The Monarch - London
28th The Lexington - London
18th The Engine Shed - Lincoln
19th The Lending Room - Leeds
24th Some Might Say Zine - London
25th Record Junkee - Sheffield
21st Tramlines Festival - Sheffield
How's the rest of the year looking, plans-wise?
We've only been a band for just under five months, so everything that has happened so far has been a bit of a whirlwind, and we are just running with it. We've not even played seven shows yet, and to have played in Europe and had the likes of Radio X playing us has all been a bit surreal.
There's some very exciting people who've reached out recently behind the scenes, so this could be a very exciting few months indeed. We are just glad that people are loving listening to our music as much as we are making it. Like we say, it's purely a labour of love for us, no bullshit Involved and we are just getting started, so who knows where this adventure will take us next!
We are back in the studio with the Sunglasses For Jaws boys in a couple of weeks time, so keep your eyes on our socials for news. Other than that, you'll just have to come down to one of our shows - brace yourselves for that!
What social media platforms can we find you on?