I’ve been writing the Hum long enough so that I’m on dozens off mailing lists alerting me to the latest info on all sorts of artists. Earlier this week an email came from Ryan Romana, a publicist who works for a firm known as Press Junkie.
It announced, “Manatee Commune in Arcata on 11/12, Drops New Single “Like Me” and let me know an electronica act was playing the The Jam this Sunday for what is known as Sundaze, a regular thing at the club that been running for years. A link to his new song with vocalist Siena Liggins.
Crystalline synthesis and ridiculously catchy melodies mark Manatee Commune’s latest single featuring Detroit native Siena Liggins. A classic story of the inevitable drama that comes from any intimate relationship meshed with carefree, light-hearted production and danceability, evoking sense of acceptance for the emotional throws of having a significant other.
Around the same time I received a Facebook invite to the same show from my friend Marjo Lak, a DJ from Brazil originally who is part of the local Deep Groove Society. She part of the show Sunday along with Fresh Depz, about whom I know nothing.
From Ryan the Press Junkie, I learned that Manatee Commune is the nom de plum of Grant Eadie, a 20-something e-artiste from Bellingham.
He’s been at it for awhile going far enough to land an interview on NPR after he was a finalist in the Tiny Desk contest with a clever entry in which the room where he playing on a tiny desk is taken away to reveal that he’s actually playing on the side of a mountain somewhere in the Northwest.
He switches back and forth from a mixer to drums then a viola, which is where he started in music (after switching from violin). I imagine he’ll have a similar setup at the Jam. I like the mix of organic sounds with synthesizers, especially when he adds some soul via guests vocalists. It’s not likely that he’s at a level where he’d be touring with Siena, but you never know, she could be his girlfriend.
I always like to hear what Marjo is up to. She moved from Brazil to Humboldt a few years ago, bringing what she calls “Butter Music Brazil” with her.
“It’s a record label started by a DJ collective with five DJs who started doing festivals and parties together,” said Lak, who talked with me for the Hum awhile ago . “It’s a label I carried with me — it’s kind of developed into a style with electro-minimal house, heavy bass lines and groovy beats.”
Integrated with her dance music is an environmental and spiritual ethic. Lak originally came here to study Chinese medicine and natural foods at Heartwood Institute. “Then I got stuck here,” she told me with a laugh. “I got married and stayed.”
Marjo Lak – photo by Bob Doran
“I think modern society has changed the way we use music in gatherings,” she continued. “If you go back to older cultures, music is part of every gathering for spiritual experience where people sing and drum and pray together. The whole idea is to bring back that sort of reconnection with nature and Earth and create a sacred space where we can dance. We share what we [believe] — basically that we want change, to change our relationship with Mother Earth and with nature.” Sounds like a good idea to me.