Q & A: I, a Man
Words by Cameron Nicholls - Published on June 16, 2014
Formed just four years ago, I, a Man has emerged from the depths of triple j Unearthed with two highly successful EPs, and their recently released debut album, Gravity Wins Again. They’re currently on tour, delighting the Aussie east coast with their organic sounds and smooth beats.
To get to know them a little better, we asked Ash Hunter, guitarist, a bunch of questions. From music to the internet, desert islands to ending The Rolling Stones’ career – it was insightful to say the least.
1. How did you decide on I, a Man as your name and what is its significance?
The name is taken from the title of an Andy Warhol film, although none of us had seen the movie when we chose it. We had some studio time booked and really needed a name, so we decided to use the democratic process of all throwing names around until there was a unanimous yes. I, a Man was the result.
2. How would you describe your music to someone in a single word?
3. How did the band come to be?
Our singer Dan and I have been friends since we were kids. We grew up sharing a love for music and playing in a garage band together through high school. About four or so years ago we were both keen to get a music project together, so we decided to join forces. We asked our drummer Sum and original bass player Matt if they were keen for a jam to help us flesh out ideas and it felt right straight away, so we started writing songs.
4. Where has been the best place you’ve been on tour this year and why?
We’ve only played a handful of shows interstate so far this year; we’re looking to play a few more in the next few months. We were in Adelaide last weekend and that was really fun. We were joined by Hello, Lover and Stranger Things Have Happened who were both great. There were also a few people who came down for the show, which goes a long way to making it a good night.
5. What was the process like of creating your own label “We Swimmers”?
There wasn’t a massive process. We were making our first EP and wanted to release it, so we decided to make the label to release it on. From memory I think the name may have been thrown around as band name early on, so we decided to use it for the label.
6. What has been the most memorable moment of your music career thus far?
There’s been a few venues we’ve been lucky enough to play that were super memorable, due to the great bands I’d seen in them previously. But I’d have to say making and releasing our debut album. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for years. So to hear it and to hold the vinyl for the first time was pretty awesome.
7. Who is your greatest musical influence?
Ah, there’s so many and I find that they seem to chop and change pretty regularly. Wilco would be one of the biggest influences on my music in the last few years. Different members of the band influence me for different reasons. I love the way they’re so engaging in an emotional song writing sense, as well as impressive in a technical playing sense.
8. If you weren’t a musician, what would you be and why?
Probably a cricket bat maker. I don’t play cricket, never have. But I love to watch cricket and I like to carve wood, so it seems pretty logical.
9. Is the music better or worse off because of the Internet?
That probably depends who you ask. I think it can be used for good and evil. Personally as a music fan I like the Internet, because music is far more accessible then I’d imagine it would have been in past eras. As a member of a small independent band, I also like the Internet. If it’s going to help anyone who may enjoy our music stumble across us, then that works fine with me.
10. Imagine you’ve become one of the most famous bands in history and you can invite any three artists or bands in history to dinner – who would they be?
MTV may have done this already but I’d invite Vanilla Ice, Susan Boyle and Slipknot. Then I’d film it and shop it to the networks.
11. You’re trapped on an island and you can choose one food that will nourish you forever, what would you pick and why?
I’m not sure if this classifies as a food, but definitely an ice coffee thickshake, with real coffee, none of that coffee flavouring gear. Only because I have an unhealthy addiction, or at least obsession with them and if I had a supply, it would make my stay more enjoyable.
12. On the same island, you’re also allowed to take one instrument, what would you choose?
One of those keyboards with built in backing tracks and drumbeats, so I can jam on it and with it.
13. If you could give advice to every musician in the world, what would it be?
It’s hard to think of anything that would be sound advice for every musician, but maybe be honest. If your audience believes you they’ll enjoy your music.
14. What was the first record you ever listened to?
My dad loves blues music so there were always blues records on at home when I was a little fella. The first record I remember owning by choice was Shashavaglover by Spiderbait. My older neighbour gave it to me when I was in primary school and it was probably one of the most impressive things I had ever heard at the time.
15. What are you listening to at the moment?
At this very moment I’m listening to Beard, Wives, Denim by Pond. I might put some Kurt Vile on next.
16. Finally, you control the fate of these three artists: The Killers, Miley Cyrus and The Rolling Stones. One’s musical career will tragically end, one you will be able to support on a global tour, and the other you can spend a holiday together jamming on the coast. What would you do?
Ok, I’m not really in to playing God, but I’ll give it a go. I’m going to have to tragically end The Rolling Stone’s career. I know many people will be upset with this decision, but I’m the one playing God and it’s only fair, they’ve had a good run. I think we’ll support Miley on her Global Tour. I doubt any of her audience would have heard our music; we may win a few over. Which leaves The Killers for the jam session down the coast. I don’t know them personally, but they seem like they could do with some time at the beach and they were the only choice left.