Mannix has been one of Vienna’s most prominent house music pioneers since he first started DJing back in the early 90’s. in 1999 he formed Whipped Creem together with DJ Krismas and DJ Wax. Since then Mannix went on to be a producer, promoter and music journalist, releasing tracks on AM:PM, Go Beat, Generate Music, Soundmen On Wax, Polydor and V2. Fast forward to 2012 Mannix started working on solo material alongside long time studio mate, Albert Koler. His notable releases in recent times include his remixes for Mousse T.’s ‘Maybe In May’ (Peppermint Jam) and Arnold Jarvis’ ‘Rising Into Joy’ (Black Vinyl). He’s also released on Tropical Disco, Re-Loved, See-Saw, Slightly Transformed and Love Harder. 2021 saw the launch of Mannix’s own new label DAFIA Records, an outlet for his own productions.
As he gets set to release his exciting debut artist album ’Standing Right Here’, DMCWorld checks in…
A huge welcome back to DMCWORLD Mannix, how’s things going for you?
Thank you, I’m doing fine. Always busy, but that’s not a bad thing for me.
How are things in Austria now, have you been out gigging much?
I actually had a very intense September with loads of gigs and even had to turn down some gigs for October due to other commitments. But yeah, it’s very good to be back performing in front of real people and there’s a real hunger for good music after those lockdowns.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
Hmmm I have actually been asking myself the question which track totally blew my mind lately, and I didn’t find one. I probably hear and play too much music, but those stunning moments like back in the day when you first heard a track like Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ and you thought, ‘oh my God this is special’ with goosebumps, seem to be gone for now. Having said that, I still discover old underground Funk, Soul and Disco gems that do impress me heavily.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into producing and Djing.
My DJing career happened by accident. I started a collection of electronic music in the late 80s and was on a language trip in Eastbourne/UK when the 88 Acid Sound happened with acts like Bomb The Bass, Altern 8, The Prodigy or S-Express topping the music charts and were heavily played on daytime radio and in the clubs. I was infected by that bug and came back to Vienna with loads of new dance records. Back home, we had a party with all kids who had been on such language cruises over the summer and the DJ there was playing crappy music and eventually stopped playing as he fell off the podium as he was really drunk. So the organisers asked if anybody could jump on and a close friend of mine started playing with the drunk DJs records, while I drove home to pick up my records. We didn’t have a clue how to mix or DJ, but we had the music all those guys were hearing during their language trips. So we had an immense vibe instantly and it was wonderful. Next day I bought myself a pair of Technics 1210 turntables and a mixer. The producing kinda thing happened years later, when I used to work in the music industry sector of Virgin Megastores in Vienna. I got in touch with great producers and one day I landed in the studio trying to produce and in the late 90s my first proper track was finished.
Who did you listen to growing up and do they influence your music career at all today?
My parents used to have a nice record collection at home, they listened to all kinds of music, mainly Rock but some Disco and Jazz as well. That’s where I was exposed to Soul for the first time as a little kid. I used to put on various records on the player just to see how it worked. I was fascinated by the record player and the different formats of vinyl as a kid. Later I used to record cool music programmes on the radio with a tape recorder. Later I discovered electronic music as said before, and then started source hunting leading me naturally towards Soul, Funk and Disco.
And what specifically turned you on to making soulful dance music and disco?
For me Soul is the foundation of any music. I can listen to a Rock record, even a Heavy Metal record-you will always find soulful elements inside. So after doing my homework searching for the origin of the music I loved, it was clear to me that Soul is THE source to every kind of music. And that’s my red line in all my productions. They all got Soul.
What’s your own personal favourite release to date and why?
It has to be ‘Standing Right Here’ which is also the title track of my album. It was hard work recording it with an orchestra and it was also hard to do it in general because the Original Melba Moore track is one of my all time faves, so the approach to do it properly lead to a certain pressure. Having Melba’s own sanctus hearing her say she loves my version was and still is a dream for me.
You’ve just released a taster single from your forthcoming debut album, ‘Memories’ From The Past’, which features Fiona Barbier on vocals, what can we expect to hear?
I wrote the lyrics to the track some years ago, they are about someone who moans about better times in the past-something we all are confronted with nearly daily. I had a lookout for the right kinda vocalist and eventually found Fiona who is an imressive local Austrian artist who has had great succcess in the pop world before. She’s a very nice character and also very uncomplicated in the studio. The result is pleasing me.
𝙋𝙍𝙀𝙈𝙄𝙀𝙍𝙀 : Mannix feat. Fiona Barbier - Memories Of The Past (Mannix Extended Vocal Mix)
The release also features remixes from Italian producers Da Lukas and Andrea Curato, what did they bring to the table?
I wanted to have a certain variety on the mixes. My own mix is classic funky house I would say, so I was looking out for a more soulful mix, which Andrea delivered in perfect style. Finally I wanted to include a peaktime mix, that still is funky. I have known da Lukas for many years and he was available and open and his remix is a real burner on the dancefloor-a killer track.
So let’s talk about your forthcoming debut album ’Standing Right Here’, which is dropping next month. Why now after so many years of producing music did you choose to finally make a debut album?
That’s one of the nice things about having your own label. You have no pressure. You can all decide by yourself when you do what. I have fixed a schedule of one monthly release single wise and the album was slowly put together and recorded. I did take my time because I used a lot of musicians on there and I always had my mainjob and now am a father too, so the priorities of my personal life are varied. I didn’t want to rush because when you do that you can hear it in the music.
You have enlisted a lot of fabulous talent on the project, who was involved and what challenges did you come up against writing and recording (if any) during Covid?
Covid and forced home office was good for the production kinda thing. I haven’t recorded as much music as then at any other time in my life. my main partner is Albert Koler who does most of the music together with me for many years, Bringing in vocalists and musicians is mainly my job and we compliment each other in the studio quite nicely. But it’s easy to say: Mannix would not be existing without Albert, so if you read this-this one goes out to you.
What was your aim with creating the album and are you pleased with how it all sounds?
I’m a perfectionis, so I’m never pleased. But the feedback I get from close friends and family who listen to it in the car or at home is very good. It’s a good record to listenj to, and it has got SOUL. That’s for sure.
You launched your own label, Dafia Records, this year, who has been on the label so far and what have you got coming up you can tell us about?
Basically, I put out some singles off the album with additional remixes. These were tracks with vocalists like Dina Vass, Lee Wilson, Jaidene Veda, Roldy Cezaire or Fiona Barbier, I have to point out that I have another project together with a friend of mine, VillaLife. We put out a signature track ‘Mama Used To Say’ which was the most successfull single for the label so far. Remixes I commissioned for the label so far came from DJ Meme, Birdee, Mike Maurro, Da Lukas, Terrence Parker or Phonk D to name but a few. There’s loads coming, after the album a new track called ‘Hope’ with Morris Revy on vox will hit the stores in December for instance.
Mannix & VillaLife feat Andre Espeut - Mama Used To Say (Mannix & VillaLife Extended Vocal Mix)
And how do you see things moving musically for the label in the future?
The label has a clear approach. SOUL has to be inside every track I release. I recently started signing tracks from other artists, which is very exciting for me, but at the same time I turn down quite a lot simply because I think there are so many labels out there, some of them releasing a single every week with average music. This is not my cup of tea. I do one release every month and give it the chance to grow some weeks. All my producers and remixers also know that I don’t want any samples in the music I release. Not because of copyright questions, but because of the live factor I like to picture. The label will continue to release high quality soulful music for the dance floor.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most, producing, Djing or A&Ring and why?
They are all equal. If I DJ too much, I take myself back a bit and do more of the other stuff. I love A&Ring though. Funny fact: I am A&R scout for a big UK label for many years and a signing of mine went Top 3 in the UK charts. So I guess I have a good feeling of what could work where and what a record needs to stand out. Having said that, I still look up to key A&Rs like ben Cherrill, Luke Neville or Jason Ellis. They did their jobs brilliantly and I still talk to some of them from time to time to get some new ideas in that area.
We come to raid your record collection, which embarrassing record do you chuck out the window before we arrive?
All the records which are part of my 9000 records collection have a deserved a place there. I got rid of the ones that don’t fit before.
What record makes you say ‘damn, I wish I made that’?
Lou Rawls ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’. It’s the best record ever made for me, in every aspect.
You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
Who are your current top producers?
Michael Gray is on top for many many years, as well as Dave Lee. Recently I love stuff from Rafael Yapudjian, Brothers In Arts, Micky More & Andy Tee, Michele Chiavarini and COEO.
Mannix ’Standing Right Here’ Album is out now on Dafia Records.