Bad With Phones

Bad With Phones

Artist / Musician

Bad With Phones, aka Manny a vocalist, guitarist and frontman from Deptford, is back following a two year hiatus and comes complete with a new character in pink wig and shades, evolving from his ‘Marinade’ mixtape era and underground hits ‘ ON1’  (with over 1.6million streams), ‘Refrigerator’ , and Monica. Bad With Phones’ name was born out of Manny’s 6 month phone-free social experiment. Following the debut EP ‘Bang Bang Chicken’ in 2018, he was hailed as one to watch in 2021 on the release of his mixtape ‘Marinade’. Another few singles and an EP ‘Living & Surfing & Remixing’ followed in 2022, but a near death experience explains the two year hiatus.  The ‘CRASH’ debut album cover features a hired jeep, destroyed, on a volcanic landscape. Frazzled and needing a break after releasing music and signing to Don’t Sleep, instead of seeing family in Togo, Manny flew to Lanzarote with a girlfriend. But once on the island, there was a devastating car crash, from which they both miraculously emerged unscathed.Brixton label Don’t Sleep is celebrating its 5th anniversary with the label’s first album releases this year. Bad With Phones’ album ‘CRASH’ embodies how the label family works and what they care about – artists who expand the culture and push it forward.

Digging into the creative process, Byta speaks with artists, musicians, producers, DJs and anyone involved with music creation. A conversation about how they create, collaborate and share music. From studio setups to routines, and the first person to hear about the next 'big' work.

Where are you based?

I’m based in South East London; Deptford.

How, when and where did you start making music? Are you primarily a musician or a producer, or do something else?

The project BAD WITH PHONES is like a pot of gumbo of different disciplines all sizzling together to make what you hear. I love cooking so I treat the sound as such. AhhH food is a beautiful thing.

Who would you consider some of your biggest influences when it comes to your “sound”?

Sun Ra, the writer Manny. T deroy, Wong Kar Wai,,Childish Gambino, Dev Hynes, Bishop from the X-Men, also Magneto, Vegeta from DBZ,  Jean Michael, Solange, Aayliah, Meshell Ndegeocello, John Coltrane, Miles Davis.

Explain your creative process. Do you have a routine?

The underlining routine for me is to document/ archive and do journaling. But it really depends what direction I take depending on the response I receive. It’s a 2 way street with myself and the audience to find out what the next steps could take. I write every day but not in any particular format. I write what I observe/feel. I keep a journal of my days. I use a lot of voice notes to remember riffs or melodies that might come to mind. I have thousands of these stored on numerous phones. I imagine the majority of them probably won’t ever be used but some do get developed. The music making process doesn’t happen everyday. I’m still working on that side of things. I do like to create time for experiences to develop and for things that are stewing over to be understood or processed so they can be shared.

What is your “studio” setup?

I’ve never been a gear head or into it personally – it feels like another fad or a box to get stuck into. My approach when making music is less is more and simplicity. 

I use a Focusrite interface with M audio monitors and Logic, and a guitar and bass I keep around. It’s all really simple. I’ve got quite an electronic sound for this album, so most things I can access from inside Logic. A guitar for the bulk of the idea helps a lot.

What is your process when working with other people? How is collaboration different in the studio vs working remotely? 

It’s all really instinctive with me, being in a state of flow is helpful letting things fail fast if they are not working helps the workflow.

At what point(s) are you comfortable letting other people hear what you are working on?

For me, having people listen is the best part of the process. It’s why I create so others can experience and I can observe then go back to the drawing board and do it all again. It’s pure satisfaction.

Do you share your work in progress (streams or downloads)? Any technical frustrations?

I don’t tend to share work that’s in progress,  I only really get kicks out of sharing finished projects. I usually have a whole concept and idea of what I want to convey when making new stuff so sharing it as a piece lets me know I’ve made an attempt at the goal. As far as technical difficulties with sharing, no I couldn’t say I’ve experienced this. there for sure are enough platforms to get music on these days. They are all very accessible.

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How do you know when a track/album is finished?

Honestly there’s a few things that are not quite finished with the project I’m releasing later this year. The issue for me is not finishing it. It’s letting go.

How do you listen to the final mixes/mastered work?

For this project I was lucky enough to experience sitting in with the engineer and friends of people close to the project and mastering, which was incredible to have those systems blasting at you.

How important is pre-release security when sharing new work?

I try not to stress about these things, at least not until they happen. But it’s private links that are usually sent to people only involved with the project. But a server drone for encryption orbiting the planet might be the next step.

Who on your team gets to hear the final versions first and why, what formats do they each need?

I work closely with my team at DON’T SLEEP, Dean, Julian and Finn. I enjoy calling it a Think Tank of creatives who contribute to the process as well as the producer for this project Mindagus. We pretty much just worked with mp3 until the mastering process, we have a whole bunch of versions of mixes, some of which sound entirely different from what it was, and some with only slight tweaks.

Outside of your inner circle who are the people that will need to hear the new tracks next?

People who need to hear my music are those who want something alternative, progressive and refreshing, people who enjoy discovering new things. Dreamers, light workers, Loners, truth seekers inbetweeners, mothers, fathers, teenagers, doctors, occultists , tree surgeons, bad boys, good boys, wizards you name it gyal dem, witches, goddesses, anyone with ears can get down with it.

Anything you are working on, anyone you are working with and want to share?

My current single ‘drive.’ has just come out and is taken from the upcoming album ‘CRASH’.

It’s a song about drive (as in passion) but it relates a lot to the title of the album, which came about after a near fatal car crash I had while on holiday. Ironically, it plays quite a distinct role on the project at large. Literally and metaphorically. I Initially wrote ‘drive.’ out in Berlin with another songwriter/artist friend of mine Cassie (shout out to you Cassie – yes lady!) It’s got some real gusto behind it, it will make you want to report to your higher self and take on your very next mission ASAP. 

Beyond that, I’m back to the drawing board there’s a few people I want on the next project though I’m not quite sure who they will be yet. Every time I plan, the universe sure has another one for me so it’s really about homing into the conceptual ideas of the ‘CRASH’ project for me right now. 

drive.’ the new single from Bad With Phones was released on 14th May (this week!), and the debut album ‘CRASH’ will be released 12th July on DON’T SLEEP.