Having kept his identity top secret for the first two years of his career, Man Power is a true master of intrigue. His sets famously reflect this sensibility - he never fail to surprise and delight dancers from Mexico to Tel Aviv to London and back again! We are absolutely thrilled to welcome the international man of mystery to Dalston Superstore for DISCOSÓDOMA. Ahead of his appearance, he caught up with Ilias of DISCOSÓDOMA to chat world travels, enigmatic identity politics and finding love...
Hello Man Power! How’s the jet lag treating you?
It sucks to be honest. Hits me every time I return from Mexico. I can’t really complain though, as complaining about travelling around the globe is surely the pinnacle of a “first world problem!"
Have you managed to find a proper cure for it yet?
When you’re coming from the other direction and you gain time, it’s easy to beat. You just make sure you go to bed at the usual time you would back home, and avoid taking any naps.
In this direction there’s nothing to be done other than embrace it. I’ve now repositioned my thinking so that I get excited about the extra work I achieve in the 2 weeks of 4am or 5am wake up times that I can’t avoid.
Mexico has been your base for a while now. How did your collaboration with TOPAZdeluxe start?
I played there the first time I visited, and I fell in love so I wanted to keep going back. There are certain people you hit it off with the first time you meet them. Champis the owner of the club is one of those people for me. I’m always conscious of what kind of relationship with music people have when I meet them with regards to clubbing and electronic music. Champis has a very similar musical outlook as I do. He’s genuinely just enthusiastic and excited about music and dancing, and is fairly dismissive of any of the other attendant bullshit that’s prevalent in this scene. I can’t help but respond to that. I was booking to go back there so often that eventually it just made sense for me to increase my relationship with them and become a resident. The really nice thing is that it means I frequently get to have friends come and join me there. That list will include Jennifer Cardini, Felix Dickinson, Red Axes, Marvin and Guy, Manfredas, Malka Tuti, Dauwd, Paramida, Zombies in Miami, Inigo Vontier, Hammer, Ian Blevins, Bird of Paradise and a whole bunch more before the year is out, so I can’t help but feel in a very luxurious position.
Are there any memorable moments you can share with us from your residency there?
Meeting the woman I’m going to marry. Which in fairness is the most significant moment of my life.
From Newcastle to Berlin to Mexico and back, do you miss the days of anonymity, when people would try to figure you out through your music?
I don’t miss the guessing games, but I do miss the anonymity. I really liked the fact that my own personality (and how people react to that) had no bearing on the music.
It was originally a platform to just let the music do the talking. Inevitably if people attach a real persona to your sound then that will colour their perception of what they hear based on what they think of you. I have a fairly forthright personality, which is definitely not going to be everybody’s taste, so a little part of me is saddened at the thought that now people know that I’m a common Geordie. Some of them may not connect to my music as much as they might have when they were still imagining I was some shadowy and mysterious central European warlock.
Although, this isn’t something that keeps me up at night.
Before you revealed your face, any search would lead us to a series of Tom of Finland-esque images. What’s your inspiration behind them? Have they helped you to attract a more open and diverse audience?
The whole idea was for everything to be as open for interpretation as possible. The images I used were received in so many different ways, depending on the personal prejudices or preference of the observer. Some found them erotic, others found them repulsive. Some people found them suggestive, and others found them innocent. I’m very interested by Roland Barthes Reader Response Theory and I wanted to apply this to the project. There was never anything built in to the images from my side, so anything that the viewer felt was something they had brought with them.
I guess it may have pushed me to a more LGBT+ crowd in some ways, but to be honest I’ve never really paid attention to the gender or sexual preferences of the people I play music to.
My first ever real residency playing electronic music was at a Gay Bar called Camp David (geddit?), and I’ve been playing to diverse crowds from the beginning.
If you had the opportunity to create your ideal party, how would it be?
I don’t actually know, but we’re working that out at the moment.
As I mentioned before, I’m getting married in October. My bride-to-be and I seem to be spending 10% of our time thinking about the ceremony, and the other 90% seems to be focussed on the afterparty we have planned, so ask me again in a few months.
Yes it is. Thats all I’m at liberty to say at the moment. Sorry. hahahahahah!
What shall we expect from your DISCOSÓDOMA set?
I’m happiest when I can go everywhere musically, so all things being well you should expect the sound of me trying to put things together that don’t usually connect, and the varying levels of success I have with that.
Jokes aside, I tend to think in terms of energy rather than genre or BPM, and that’s what guides the selection process when I play, so when I’m feeling comfortable then it’s very difficult to predict what I’ll actually play.
And finally, disco is?
Never having to say you’re sorry?
Catch Man Power at DISCOSÓDOMA this Saturday 18 June from 9pm-4am at Dalston Superstore.