DJ Manifesto invites you to the “Other Side” with perhaps his most thrilling and distinguished single release and music video. A road trip if we have ever seen one, the clip features Manifesto embarking on a cross-country mission to win back his one true love. Along the way, he stops at some highly unique landmarks, including an alien hotel and a futuristic-looking pyramid. Plenty of shots from the DJ’s past, present, and future are also interspersed throughout the video.
As one of today’s premiere live DJs, Manifesto takes great responsibility in giving you a sense of sonic elevation at one of his gigs that you will experience nowhere else. Part of his key to accomplishing that is his ability to combine contrasting sounds and musical styles (like the graceful sound of a violin with the hypnotic beats of modern electronic music). Violin was his first instrument at age five, many years before he started on his first set of turntables at 11. Residing in Las Vegas, he has now played over 1,500 live sets and become one of the most well-respected DJs and producers.
Today, Manifesto joins us to discuss his sound, creative process, preferred collaborations, notable touring moments, and more.
How would you describe your own music?
DJ Manifesto: “Melodic Bass fused with DNB, trap, and dubstep. All things Bass. My show is a journey. I want people to dance, laugh, and even cry at my live shows. It’s not all about fist-pumping. It’s about the raw emotion.”
What is the story behind the DJ Manifesto name?
“A dear friend who passed away years ago gave me the name ‘Manifesto,’ which means a public declaration of policy. Later I changed it to DJ Manifesto, and my slogan became, ‘Music is my message.’ I kept the name Manifesto in honour of my friend.”
How would you describe your creative process?
“I write whenever I am inspired. I don’t have one of these notions to force things out. If I am not digging it, then I don’t write on it, or I wait and circle back later to bring fresh ideas. I also am writing a sci-fi book trilogy. So when I am not writing music, I am writing my book. Surprisingly they help inspire each other quite often.”
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
“I would love to collaborate with San Holo or other folks from the Bit Bird Label. I love the incorporation of live music into San Holo’s sets. Also, Camo & Krooked. They are really pushing the boundaries of modern DNB. The show they did with a live orchestra was amazing.”
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
“That the tastemakers and people in charge were actually musicians that knew what they are talking about. There is nothing more soul-crushing than having a stranger not consider your music or performance that knows nothing about music or anything creative, but who is in charge. Numbers and social media are not everything.
“Also, there are more than the same 50 DJs that everyone seems to be booking. There’s a lot of unseen talent and good music out there.”
What do you like most about playing music?
“That it’s the one time I am in control of my life. I am the conductor of the music and the dance floor. I can change the attitude of the entire room at any moment. It’s empowering and invigorating.”
What’s the most dangerous thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows?
“I was performing my first sold-out show in Atlanta a few years back, pre-pandemic. As I was on my last song closing out the night with my violin, I walked across a set of speakers in front of the stage while trying to really close strong. Then I slipped and fell between the two speakers. I felt super awkward because my first thought was to protect my violin and not myself. I ended up bruising a few ribs and was in insane pain, but I still finished the song and the show.”
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows or on tour?
“I saw a girl at a bar right after my soundcheck at the same venue. I was not in my outfit for the show, and I was looking pretty tired. No matter, I decided to grab my favourite drink, pineapple juice and ginger ale, aka Ginger Pine, before trying to strike up a conversation with her. She immediately snubbed me and said that she was only there to see the violinist DJ, and she wasn’t there to meet guys or get hit on. I decided to let her rant about guys for about five minutes while I sipped on my drink and listened.
“Later that night, I was performing and locked eyes with the same girl in the front row. At that very moment, I could tell she was embarrassed. I had a huge smile. I love how karma can sometimes be. It’s important to always treat everyone with respect.”
What is the story behind the new song “Other Side?”
“‘Other Side’ is a record about doing anything you can do to see someone you love. No matter what the challenges are, you overcome each and everything in order to see and find your soulmate once again. The song is about stopping at nothing for the ones you love.”
Do you have any rituals before you hit the stage? If so, what are they?
“I always tune my violin as soon as I get to the venue and let it acclimate to the atmosphere and temperature of the room or area. Then I retune again right before the show. I don’t wear shoes at some of my performances (as long as the stage is clean). I also always have an outfit change right before the performance. I have to stay fresh!”
What are some of the lesser-known fun facts about you that people might be surprised to hear?
“I am a hardcore vegan and animal rights activist; I am in it for the animals. I have a cat named Princess Fuzzy. I used to live in Japan. I also build race cars and all things JDM as a hobby. I work out five days a week, and I am an avid hiker here in Las Vegas. I love Red Rocks!”