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Interview: Caitlin Duff from Manor


Melbourne duo Manor are turning plenty of heads with their genre defying tunes, spearheaded by their latest groovy guitar-driven single Repent. We asked the duo’s vocalist Caitlin Duff some tough questions to get to know the intriguing pair and their unique sound a little better!

What was your favourite and least favourite part of BIGSOUND this year?

We had an incredible time meeting people from all over the world who all have such a commitment and drive for the development of the music industry. Playing our show was so much fun! The worst part was getting majorly hungover and having to call it early on the Thursday, just too much happening for this bunch of Netflixers…

Your music videos for Repent and Can You Hear Me Talking To You both have a 1970’s film reel quality to them, while Grand Mal has psychedelic, LSD vibes that are also synonymous with that era. What’s the reasoning behind the stylistic differences?

When we were planning the film clip for Grand Mal we were thinking about the song’s sonic influences. There’s a bit of a shoe-gazey 90’s vibe to the guitar tone which reminded me of listening to music back then, watching the Windows Media Player loop visuals of kaleidoscopic colour.

We wanted to do that but use footage that my sister (Anny Duff who directed the clip) shot in New Zealand and overlay my singing face. The other films clips were cut together with footage that my dad shot throughout his career. I’m very lucky to have access to that, there’s so much more to come!

You’ve released singles sporadically since 2011, and released your first EP this year! Are there any plans to unleash a full-length album?

Absolutely, as soon as possible! We’ve been pretty much solely writing and only just started playing live again this year after having finished the EP. We got to a point where we needed to start getting out of the house and taking show offers, otherwise we would just keep writing songs. We have tentative plans to release our debut album early next year, we’ve just finished recording the vocals so it’s at 80 per cent.

Repent was mastered by Howie Weinberg who has worked with some pretty legendary names including Nirvana. How did you find working with him and what is the greatest lesson he taught you?

The more headroom you leave in a final mix for the mastering engineer, the more dramatic the results can be. That’s a pretty roundabout way of saying that he absolutely nailed it first time! There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting your mastered track back, Repent surpassed anything we’ve done to date in that respect!

Are there any favourite stories from your time on the road with Halycon Drive and Dappled Cities?

Dappled Cities are one of those bands that you know will always play a killer show. Playing with them this year reminded us of watching them when we were first starting out and wanting more than anything to be as good. They were down for a party too, there was so much Pokemon Go and whisky in the green room! Playing with Halcyon Drive was like “Phwaor, where are all those sounds coming from, there’s only three of you!!”. We met some fellow gear nerds in that band!

You personally designed and created your own recording studio ‘Elysian Fields’. How important is it to have the right space to create, and what do you think are the key ingredients writing a hit?

What is the key ingredient? If you count any of our songs as hits we would say simplicity. We both have a tendency to overcomplicate our music so it’s a constant struggle to pull back and let the song speak for itself. Having our own studio allows us to go all the way to the edges of what’s possible in our music, we can experiment to our hearts content and never have to watch the clock!

Finally, last year you travelled to Japan which inspired your ‘Tokyo Sessions’ EP. Does travel often inspire your work, and where else do you source your ideas?

Travel inspires us to experiment sonically. It’s so important to us that we consider all of the potential sounds, whether that’s an instrument or a melody that can help bring a song to life. We haven’t travelled much together (apart from touring the length and breadth of Australia multiple times on tour) but what we bring from our separate experiences all over the world has definitely helped us develop our sound.