Premiere and Exclusive Interview: Five Minutes with Maono

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Berlin-based musician Maono has given us the opportunity to premiere the title track from his upcoming EP, Pesaro which will be officially released on the 5th of June. The name Maono comes from the Swahili language and means Visionary as it corresponds to his mindset. The track is inspired from his time spent in Italy and the experiences that surrounded the trip, bringing to mind a beautiful spring and summer, perfect sea, mountains, and of course the most delicious pasta of an Italian grandma. You’ll see what we mean as soon as you hear it.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts? 

It’s just something that has been driving me since the very beginning. Making music describes my personality and gives me the energy to live. It might sound like overused phrases but I guess that’s a universal reason why people make art. When I was 2 years old, I could sleep only if my mom played me some good music, and yes I had already had my favourite artist. I guess it stayed with me and hopefully will never leave. 

Another reason why I make music, not only obsessively listen to it, is that I want to bring some value to the world and create positive energy around me. Why not share it with even more people via the most universal language of the humankind? 

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

I think nobody has a direct answer for that. In my case, it depends on so many factors. For example, sometimes I just start with a simple beat and play around with some synths, and sometimes I have a particular line in mind and try to recreate it with the tools I’ve got. Nonetheless, most of my productions start at the sound stage. The sound sets you in the mood and creates a particular atmosphere, which leads you towards the melody and arrangement. My favourite creative process happens, while I’m in a songwriting session with other artists. You have no idea what is gonna happen and what to expect. Every little thing can be a trigger to define the song and create something out of literally nothing. 

Does your material feature any collaborations? 

Mostly yes. I love the chemistry between musicians in the studio… It is basically an enhanced experience, as well as more heads working on a project will create more value at the end. For the last months I have been producing music with a Romanian artist Mighty Boogie but I plan to collaborate with other artists later this year. 

What’s on your current playlist? 

At the moment mostly a chill house, and some organic trap music. I love to explore new genres and styles, therefore I get excited about a genre for 2-3 months, try to dig as much as I can, and then something else takes my attention away. It’s a never-ending exciting story.

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

I just love playing gigs. You can really connect with your audience and open up in front of them. There are no boundaries, it’s you, the crowd and the music. Sometimes it can get pretty intense and sweaty haha.

I really miss playing gigs. For the last 3 years, I focused on learning and producing new types of music, so my lifestyle was not so different from the quarantine style. 

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

I discovered a few nice multi-effect plugins, but I’m not gonna tell you which ones, yet. I like applying multiple reverbs, delays and sequenced modulations on the tracks, so from a nice pad, I can create pretty interesting rhythmic elements and vice versa.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

Depends if I want to start a new track or keep on working on something I have already started. It is nothing special to be honest. I come to the studio with my coffee, turn on the system and get lost in sound. I try to take short breaks pretty often, so my mind stays fresh for as long as possible. I try to end the session with a bounce of what I have done to be able to listen to it somewhere else and see what still needs to be done.

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

At the age of 6, when I found a nylon strings guitar in my room as a present from my parents. 

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

Lots of guitar pics and the setlist, obviously. No, I don’t put a whisky bottle on my amplifier, if that’s what you are asking for. Well… maybe sometimes.

What gets your creative juices flowing? 

Everything, my favourite inspiration is the nature, symphony of birds and freshness of the colour green.  Sometimes, it’s very difficult to stay creative because life is made out of so many factors and you have to focus on multiple things simultaneously. Sometimes, the most important one at the moment has nothing to do with your creative work.

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

I have electric, acoustic and bass guitars and a few effects, however lately I use my Roland electric piano the most. I love experimenting with my MPC and the whole collection of soft synths. 

Any side projects you’re working on? 

Lately, I focused on making my own music under the alias Maono but I try to go back to working with artists as a producer. 

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

For the last 3 years, I have been practising and experimenting basically the whole time and I can see huge results. I am exactly where I planned to be in terms of the quality of my productions.

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

I want to release one ep every month, however it might shift to one ep every 2 months because the whole corona situation affecting every part of life. I want to get into more commercial sector of Deep House and Hip Hop.

Famous last words?

Per Aspera Ad Astra! (Through hardships to stars)

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