Credit: Manon Lescaut
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Credit: Manon Lescaut
Named after an underestimated 18th century French novel, Manon Lescaut started off as a solo project by singer, guitarist and songwriter DJF Uchida in São Paulo, Brazil in 2010. Influenced by PJ Harvey, Elliot Smith, Kazuya Yoshii, Killing Joke, Los Tr3s, Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins and Failure, Uchida decided to work on some of the riffs he had been collecting over the years and turn them into complete songs. “Sometimes I would find myself with no new songs to listen to, so I’d desperately come up with some riffs as if to avoid some possible withdrawal symptoms. I guess I was trying to be self-sufficient in riffs”, jokes Uchida. Those first songs appeared in “Better Luck Next Life After Death”, a 13-song home-recorded lo-fi album that Uchida released on Bandcamp in 2010. The following year, feeling that his songs were lacking energy and dynamics, Uchida decided to place an advertisement on the internet seeking for fellow musicians and, as a result, Luiz Furlan and Alcides Amadeu joined the band. Sometime later, Alcides Amadeu was forced to move to another city and was temporarily replaced by Leopoldo Lopes. After some DIY promotion, the band’s animated video for the track “No For An Answer” was featured in some small Brazilian music blogs and was selected as a finalist for the Clipes & Bandas Awards (2012). In 2014, Manon Lescaut decided to record their first studio album, “People Are Bad For Your Health”, with producer Guto Gonzalez. The album was never properly released or promoted. The band is currently working on new material for their upcoming record “We Know Someone You Can Mutilate”. The first single off the new album, “Good Night, Morning Wave” is expected to be released in January (2018).
After a 3-year hiatus, Manon Lescaut return, finally make their songs available on all major streaming services and prepare to record a new album set for release in 2017
02/19/2017 (São Paulo, Brazil): The last few years will not be missed by the Brazilian post-punk band Manon Lescaut. Over the past three years the band saw themselves caught up in the middle of a financial turmoil, suffered a significant amount of bizarre personal tragedies and had to deal with mysterious misdiagnosed diseases, leaving them with no other choice but to disband. To make things worse, all of this happened right after the recording of their first full-length studio album, which never got a proper release. “We invested all the money we had in that record and we did not even have the time or health to promote it. All we got from it was total indifference. If you get yourself a camera and make a video right now about how much orchids are important to you, that video is definitely going to get more views than all of our songs put together”, jokes drummer Luiz Furlan.
However, along with the troubled years came the inspiration for new songs as well as the resolution to get the band reunited and finally release their 2014 debut album on all streaming platforms. “Looking back now, I guess it’d be way more reasonable not to be in a band at all. Who in the world would make the conscious decision of starting a rock band today? Putting a rock band together ain’t much different from opening up a video rental shop these days. Not the wisest of decisions, you know. The thing is you make music not only to affect people, but to see it affecting people. There’s got to be some sort of reaction to what you do and you have to see that reaction for yourself. In spite of all the problems we have faced so far, we are still hopeful that someday we may witness our music affecting people”, reflects singer, guitarist and songwriter DJF Uchida.
The 2014 debut album, “People Are Bad For Your Health” - now available on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music - was recorded at Estúdio Lamparina, a São Paulo-based recording studio, and produced by Guto Gonzalez (Tokyo Savannah, Ralo). Lyrically, Manon Lescaut songs deal with some quite unusual topics such as love at first sight at a mental institution (Fay Wray), personality changes after a hemorrhagic stroke (Body For 2), people being buried alive in a mass grave (Just Like That), a lone wolf who gets to be elected as president of the United States (8 Billion Bastards) and black magic being practiced for the first time in deep space (Under The Effect Of Blood).
The album’s artwork, reminiscent of the work of French artist Raymond Savignac, is also quite peculiar, to say the least: it depicts a 6-year-old kid and his dog lying in their coffins, side by side. “Actually, the album artwork was inspired by a psychological test called C.A.T (Children’s Apperception Test), which is an adaptation for children of another projective test called T.A.T (Thematic Apperception Test). We thought it would be fun if people looked at the album artwork and told a story about it with a beginning, middle and end, just like they are supposed to do in those psychological tests. We encouraged some of our friends to do that and, interestingly enough, the stories they came up with gave away a lot about their underlying personalities”, says Uchida.
The band are now working on new material for the follow-up to “People Are Bad For Your Health” and plan to return to the recording studio in April, teaming up for the second time with producer Guto Gonzalez at Estúdio Lamparina. “The first time Uchida and Furlan got in the studio, they were so flabbergasted by the whole experience that they failed to focus on developing an unique sound for the band. This time we are looking forward to getting closer to the original idea of the band, which was making the music an imaginary band consisting of Bernard Herrmann, John Williams and Danny Elfman would make”, says bassist Alcides Amadeu.
The forthcoming album – which has the working title “We Know Someone You Can Mutilate” - is due for release this September (2017) and its first single, the hypnotic and incredibly melancholic “Good Night, Morning Wave”, is expected to reach all streaming platforms in August. As for the band’s expectations for the next three years, Uchida is not afraid of voicing his skepticism: “Right now there is a war for attention going on. A brand-new song does not compete only with all other musical releases of the week anymore. A brand-new song competes with memes, youtube videos of kitties doing funny stuff, and, mostly, people posting about their own daily routine. You end up competing with people’s lives and there is no way you can beat that. As a distractor, I’d say only terrorism has been efficient. But even terrorism and all the throat-slitting have been increasingly less effective in making people take their eyes off their mobile phone screens and pay attention to something else”.