By: Dream Chimney

The following interview was conducted on May 14, 2024

Manakinz Both Harri Harrigan and Max Raskin are artists steeped in Glasgow’s rich musical history. Harri along with Dominic Cappello is behind the legendary weekly Subculture Saturday night at the Sub Club which is soon to celebrate its groundbreaking 30th year. As a producer he has also worked his magic under a long series of aliases crafting everything from chart bothering filtered disco to effortlessly cool house music.

Max too has a well-earned DJ reputation as a skilled and innovative selector. His Sunday Circus residency ran for 9 boisterous years leading to DJ slots all over the city and much further afield. His production skills have been much lauded with releases on Sensu, La Dune, Posterboy & Lyceum Social Club.

Manakinz is a hugely exciting pairing with releases on Let’s Play House, Mitchell St. Records, Made In Glasgow and Monologues Records and upcoming on Futureboogie and Refuge with a long list of respected early supporters including Black Madonna, Andrew Weatherall, Dam Swindle, Levon Vincent, Ashley Beadle, Jacques Renault, Bill Brewster and many more. This week sees the release of their new maxi EP entitled ‘Whim’ out on their own Model Citizenz imprint.

It's a pleasure to speak to you both. Thanks for stopping by Dream Chimney. Where are you this moment and how are you planning on spending the rest of the day?

We're in Harri's flat - just finished a mix for Slothboogie. Harri is off to play somewhere. Max is off for a curry with his pals.

You both hail from the great city of Glasgow. How is the music and club scene in the city? Alive and kicking?

It's always great. We're spoilt for choice, really. Loads of amazing DJs every weekend and live acts. We just had ESG, Joy Orbison etc. playing at a mini festival in Queen’s Park run by Melting Pot and Optimo.

Interview Image

Aside from the Sub Club, what are the other prominent dance clubs in Glasgow? Or is it all about the Sub?

Sub’s been there the longest but there’s the Berkeley Suite, La Cheetah and Room 2 all catering for people who like to express themselves through the medium of dance.

What’s the main record shop for dance music?

Rub A Dub and Monorail are probably the main ones. Palais De Danse is also good.

What are the key dance radio stations in Glasgow?

We’ve got two really great independent radio stations here: Clyde Built and Radio Buena Vida - loads of great local talent.

Do you either of you play on radio?

Although we have great faces for radio, sadly no regular slots - but we have done the odd guest mix for various shows.

When and where did you both meet initially?

We crossed paths through DJing about 2008 but for a number of years prior to our official meeting, I admired Harri from afar, with binoculars.

What were you both doing musically prior to Manakinz?

Max - I was in an improvised, Mexican blues, love song band called "Don’t Ration The Passion” and also made the occasional tune.

Harri - I was mainly DJing here, there, and everywhere and approached Max to make music.

What made you start to make music together?

Desperation. The gigs had dried up and we shared a mutual postcode but seemed to hit it off immediately in the studio finishing our first track in about two hours.

What was the first track that you made?

Mucho Tranquilo which came out on a local label called Made In Glasgow.

Would you say there is a particular vibe, or do you feel that Manakinz has quite a flexi music policy?

We’re probably most into making four to the floor sorta stuff. During lockdown we experimented a bit more with slower tempo electronica which we both still really like and will put out on our label eventually. We never really set out to do anything in particular but normally end up venturing into dark, groovy or melodic house and techno.

Your releases are quite chunky. I guess this means you have a lot of tracks to get out there.

We’ve got tons yeah. That’s why we started the label. Sharon from Shine PR made us get the finger out so we’re very grateful for that.

You have both had your own respective DJ careers pre your duo. Is Manakinz a duo in a club setting too?

Yeah for sure, would be great just to get booked off the back of the stuff we’re putting out but so far we’ve only played once together during a live stream over lock down. Previously we played at Sunday Circus together a few times but a separate entities.

You have released on some great labels. Do you have any releases coming out on other labels in the pipeline?

Yes we have a four track EP with Harri’s son Jasper coming out on his label, Mitchell Street - hopefully out soon!

Interview Image

How does it work in the studio with you two? Who does what part?

Harri obviously has loads of ideas and knows what makes a good track so can come with samples he thinks might work. I do all the technical stuff and play melodies or basslines or drums until we get something we both agree on, which normally doesn’t take too long. Harri also provides light refreshments throughout the process.

How long does it take you to make a track generally?

Not too long. Generally, not more than 4 hours and it’s been like that from the beginning which is why we work well together. Occasionally we’ll get bogged down in a project like everyone else, but this is quite rare.

How good are you at finishing stuff?

I don’t think we’ve ever completely abandoned any project we’ve started - we might end up going in a completely different direction than how it seemed it was going which happens quite a lot, but I guess that’s part of having no real set idea at the start.

How do you know when something is finished?

We never really know if anything is finished cos with the nature of it, you can always make changes here and there but that’s the benefit of being in a duo cos there’s always another set of ears to reign you in. So if we’re both pretty happy with it, it’s done.

What are some of the challenges you face putting music out these days?

Well we’ve just recently had something pulled because of a disagreement with a distributor so there’s that sort of thing, labels sitting on your stuff for ages - that’s why we did our own Model Citizenz label this year cos you’ve only got yourself to answer to.

Who do you think is putting out good music at the minute?

Mr. G is someone whose music we could never get sick off. Henrick Schwarz, Roisin Murphy, Crazy P, Roman Flugel, Glenn Underground to name a few - there’s tons of amazing music really - way too many to mention here.

That’s quite a cover you have there on 'Whim!’ There must have been plenty of laughs when you made the art.

Well Harri had the idea of sticking our mannequin heads on famous music duos and I just brought my iPad round and we started reeling off a few names and found the cover for WHAM! - FANTASTIC and thought it would look silly. It’s so easy nowadays to do stuff like that so within a few minutes, it was done - we laughed and that was that. We think it’s important not to take yourself seriously in general.

Give us a little run down on the EP and the tracks.

For both model Citizenz releases so far, we sent a bunch of tracks to Sharon for her thoughts as to what would work well and in what order. We definitely wanted Blootaboyz on this one in time for summer as it had been sitting about for ages. We also made Fall Into A Trance the day before the other tracks got mastered and thought it would sit well with the others. The beauty of having your own label is you can just add stuff last minute.

How serious are you about your releasing music? I get the feeling its not life or death to you.

We both just love music and making music. It’s a fun thing to do, especially if people like it. Harri is definitely the more laid back with regards to that though - Max is more of a tortured artist.

Show room dummies or exotic birds?

Exotic dummies

Do you know what country we might find the Club-Winged Manakin?

Oh are you talking about the Machaeropterus Deliciosus native to the western slopes of Columbia and Ecuador?

What are Manakinz working on next that you can share?

We’ll maybe put out some of the slower stuff we mentioned earlier on our third release or if people are digging the housier stuff then go down that route again. Right now we’re excited about the collaboration with Jasper - it contains a track called Horses 4 Courses that we both really like. Ultimately, the public decides.


Check out the latest release from Manakinz.


We have lots more interviews on Dream Chimney.

Read More