Man Power and Jordan Nocturne have quite a lot in common as creatives, they both DJ, they both make music, they both run record labels, and they both organise parties. So it was kind of a given that the pair would become mates after being booked on the same line up at French club La Grenze in 2022.
Fast forward to a few months later, and the Newcastle-based artist is about to release his 2-track ‘Wallsend’s Finest’ EP on Jordan Nocturne’s ‘Nocturne’ imprint, a label which has released records from names like Alex Virgo, Kornel Kovacs, and Anatolian Weapons in the past.
Anyone who’s familiar with Man Power’s previous work will have a piqued interest to get their ears round this one, as his contributions to record labels such as Optimo, Clash Lion, Watergate Records, and his own Me Me Me outfit have been highly impressive.
We got the chance to ask him a couple of questions recently, where we spoke about his relationship with Jordan, what he has planned for Me Me Me in the coming months, and which other labels we might see him on in 2023. Read the full discussion with Man Power below.
Hi mate, how’s life? What have you been up to recently?
Life is quite astounding to be honest. Family stuff is all lovely and the professional stuff might be better than it’s ever been. I stepped away from DJing and making dance music as a focus for close to two years (three if you count the pandemic) while I concentrated on a music project that saw me write a symphony and then have it performed by one of the most important orchestras in the UK.
That finished in November and since then I’ve got back to focusing on being ‘Man Power’ again. You’re never sure what’s going to be there for you when you leave something and then come back to it, so it’s safe to say I’ve been blown away by the response to me touring and releasing music again.
I’d say it’s actually going better than it ever has before, and the best bit is I’m enjoying it more than I have since I first ever started. I think the time away has allowed me to return to things with a fresh and optimistic perspective, which is really spilling over into my output.
You’re about to debut on Jordan Nocturne’s ‘Nocturne’ imprint with your new ‘Wallsend’s Finest’ EP, how would you describe the two original tracks featured on this one?
They’re both tracks I wrote while semi delirious with covid in December 2021, and I think that mental state is possibly present in the tracks, as they’re both a little unhinged.
You sat on the tracks for quite a while before meeting Jordan in Strasbourg, where you played B2B at La Grenze, what was that party like?
The main reason I sat on the tracks was that I wrote them at a moment where I was just a little bit unsure about what was going on with dance music and whether I wanted to participate. It was about six months after clubs had reopened and I was feeling quite disheartened as it seemed like people had just got back to business as usual, and all of the revelations people seemed to have in lockdown, with regards to things like fairness and community, all seemed to be disappearing very quickly.
The party in Strasbourg was really great. A nice DIY vibe from a team of creatives working across lots of disciplines. We both flew into Basel Airport (I think) in Switzerland from our respective hometowns, which gave us a long drive and plenty of time to get to know each other. I felt so comfortable with Jordan after the drive that I invited him to play B2B later that night. It went really well and when I got home I realised that I’d met a bit of a kindred spirit, and that feeling of kinship eventually led to me offering him these tracks for his label.
I think the fact I was sat behind Jeff Mills on the flight over was a good omen for the gig too, although I was too starstruck to introduce myself to him, despite the fact I had him booked to come and play with me at my party in Newcastle later that year.
You have a label of your own in ‘Me Me Me’, where names like Alinka, Schmutz, Ian Blevins, and TERR have previously released, who else might we expect to see on Me Me Me in 2023?
I have releases scheduled with Amarcord and Dharma, who are both artists I really admire and hope will become the superstars they deserve to be. After that I’m not sure. I have stuff signed but I’m at one of my semi regular stages of weighing the whole thing up and working out what it means to be a label in 2023, so I can’t commit to our next move until I work some stuff out in general.
Me Me Me is also a party, and we’ll still be doing things to do with that side of things. Last year we were lucky enough to book everyone from Jeff Mills and DJ Harvey, to Daniel Avery, Gerd Janson, Prosumer, Jennifer Cardini, and loads more.
This year we’ll be returning to Pikes in Ibiza for our all day and night takeovers, as well as doing a bunch of parties at a social club near my house. It’s an old school working mens club but we put in a huge soundsystem and bring a bunch of my friends to come play. We’ll have hopefully announced the full program by the time this article goes up, which sees me play B2B with Paul Woolford, Seam Johnston, and Artwork on different nights, as well as a live performance from Rex The Dog for another party. They’re literally my favourite thing I’ve ever been involved with.
And how about your own music on other labels?
Alongside the release on Nocturne, there’s a track about to drop on PlayGround Records’ 10 year anniversary compilation, which includes a bunch of friends and artists who I admire. I also have a 12″ due out late February on Echocentric, which is a super cool and quite underground house label from Finland that just really hits my tastes in term of ethos, approach, and music, so I’m particularly excited by that one too.
After that I have a bunch of music finished and I’m talking to a bunch of labels, some run by friends, some by people I’ve respected from a far for some time, and some just absolute classic labels who I’ve been buying off for years.
The break really has me feeling like I’ve came back with my best and most out-there dance music, and it’s literally pouring out of me in the same way it did when I first decided to start the Man Power project, which will be 10 years old in April. I think I’m going to be pretty inescapable this year, with tours planned already in Asia and Latin America, but hopefully people see that as a good thing.
Have you set yourself any goals or resolutions for this year, either personal or professional?
I decided to stop involving myself in discourse on Twitter, as well as to stop moaning or tweeting ‘hot takes’. I have a very impulsive nature, so to tackle that I’ve opted to just post a track I own, love, and play every time I get the urge to tweet something that breaks my resolution.
I’ve been doing it for a week and I’m already up to nearly five hours of music, so god knows what that says about me. It’s making me much happier and positive on a day to day basis though, so I encourage people to consider doing their own versions of this too. People started asking me to put the random posts in a playlist, so I’ve started doing so here.
Is there anything else you want to bring attention to before we wrap things up?
There’s nothing I want to draw attention to other than my gratitude really. It’s very easy to get down about things and it’s very easy to tap into negative feelings that arise when we’re all pitted against each other to fight over the proceeds of creative output, but above all else I’ve really just tapped into a feeling of thankfulness for the fact that there’s so much as even one person out there who values what I do and make.
The fact that there are enough people out there to let me come back to touring the world doing the thing that I love is simply phenomenal and I’m really thankful to every single person who supports what I do in any way.
Man Power – Wallsend’s Finest EP drops February 3rd on Nocturne.