metal talk
instagram Facebook Twitter RSS
metal talk

johnny main
Words: Johnny Main


We last spoke to Glasgow based Manifold back in June 2013 when they were preparing to unveil their, then untitled, EP and they gave us a preview of tracks such tracks as 'White Hot', 'Harmonised Scream' and 'Solid Gold' that all showed promise from the young outfit.

Since then, the Central Scotland based band have undergone a number of changes to their line-up and their image. They've been working away on brand new material and the band are once again ready to fly the flag for home grown rock music with the their new EP, 'The Promised Land'.

We had an exclusive airing of 'The Promised Land', which is due for release on Friday 8th September, and here's a rundown of what you can expect.

Things kick off with 'Stop Teasin'', the first single released from the EP, and it's a great opening salvo. Motoring along at a fair rate with the guitar riff leading the way and the catchy shouty chorus not far behind, it's a track that's bound to go down well at live shows.

'False Lovin'' is up next which has the main guitar riff in the intro placed fairly far back in the mix but as the drums, courtesy of Rucka Russell, kick in, the track bursts into life. Frontman John CJ Gunn puts in a solid performance, really stretching his voice but the backing vocals could be a bit more energetic as they seem laid back in comparison to Gunn's performance.

'Killer Touch' is where things get interesting - it's a slower paced number that's absolutely the best the band have to offer here. Gunn gives a slightly more aggressive performance than on some of the other tracks and the grinding guitar riff courtesy of guitarist Ewan Driver and Darren Mahoney is just absolutely fantastic.

Russell lays out a simple beat that's bound to get your head nodding or your feet tapping whilst the punchy backing vocals add a bit of extra texture to the track. Following on is 'Full Throttle' which is a solid enough track where the guitar intro gives way to a more mid-paced number with another catchy chorus to be checked off the list. Gunn puts in another fine performance although there's a spoken word section with some cod acting from him that slows the whole piece down before the guitar solo swoops in to rescue the track.

'No More' is the final original track and it's another strong number with the guitar riff once again tucked into the back of the mix and sees Gunn putting in his most passionate performance.

The final track is a cover of AC/DC's classic 'Whole Lotta Rosie (Live)' although the "live” tag means that it's presumably live in the studio and not on stage as there isn't any audience noise at all. If you've any doubt about the musical abilities of this band then this track in particular should silence any critics. It's loud, it's fast and it's damn near perfect from the first drum beat to the last guitar chord with Gunn putting in a truly spectacular performance especially towards the end, put simply, it's a helluva way to end their debut EP.


Following a run through of their new EP, we sat down with all five members of the band for a quick chat to see what they've been up to since we last spoke, where they are now as well as getting a hint of some of their future plans.

Harking back to the early days of the band, I first asked them how long has the band been together how did it all start?

Darren Mahoney: "The band really started in 2014 when Ewan Driver and I both met at college through a mutual love of AC/DC and Van Halen and the rest, as they say is history."

So, where did the band name actually come from?

Ewan Driver: "We were looking for something that complemented the style of music we play, fast and loud and with songs like 'Full Throttle' we wanted something that symbolised loud music and fast cars, so Manifold seemed like a good fit for that."

I asked the band to explain about your song-writing process – Who writes what and where do they get their inspiration from, for example?

JB Storm: "We all write together – someone maybe has a riff, some lyrics or a concept and then we go from there and try and jam it out in the studio. We like writing songs that people can enjoy with a beer in their hand and can nod their head to when watching us live, so we take that into account during the song-writing process. We're a hard working live band and we only write songs that we can cross over into playing live.

"We all have roles within the band that complement each other the wailing guitars over the driving rhythm section and the vocalist, John CJ Gunn, has a high range so it fits in nicely."


Ewan Driver: "Our inspiration comes from various places; it can be real life – like 'False Lovin'', which was written about my first time in a strip club or it can be more fictional, like a track we're currently working on, 'Undercover Lover' which has a spy-like influence to it. We also take our influences from other media for example, the 'Mad Max' film franchise was a huge influence on 'Full Throttle'."

Moving onto the new EP that's due out tomorrow, what plans do you have to release it?

John CJ Gunn: "Yeah, 'The Promised Land' – it's our debut EP and will be out on general release from the 9th September, and we're throwing a massive party to launch it the night before at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, so feel free to come along if you want to hear it live and loud, and y'know, just have a beer and a bit of a party!"

Apart from your EP release show in September do you have any/what gigs have you got lined up?

JB Storm: "We have a string of gigs seeing us through the Autumn/Winter supporting some of the country's finest tribute bands, courtesy of (Glasgow based) Shock City Productions. We're supporting the Toxic Twins, an Aerosmith tribute, at Glasgow's Hard Rock Café on 23rd September and Subhuman Race, a Skid Row tribute at the Cathouse on 7th October.

"These are some great opportunities for us, as it gives us a chance to reach out to a wider audience and tribute bands already have such a loyal following that hopefully we can appeal to some of their fans with or eighties vibe."


Darren Mahoney: "We're hoping to add in a whole bunch of our own shows between now and then too, so keep your eye out on our Facebok - @ManifoldGlasgow - for more announcements!"

So, what can someone coming to a Manifold show expect?

JB Storm: "If you like your music loud, rocking and want to let your hair down and have a good time, then we're the band for you!

"We love playing live - it's our favourite aspect of being in the band - and the audience can really get a sense of that when they come to see us. Sometimes life can get serious, so our aim for that hour we're onstage is to make you forget about bills, work and the daily grind and have a great time!"

Glasgow has a reputation for good local bands who are making a name for themselves; how does Manifold see themselves fitting it with these already established acts?

Darren Mahoney: "I think we certainly fit into the Glasgow music scene and definitely give something a little different. We have a sense of humour, which is lost with some bands because they just take themselves a bit too seriously – cue the pictures next to a brick wall with brooding faces.

"We like to entertain and have a good time with everyone who sees us, so you'll always catch us at the bar after our show. It's a big market out there and we tend to lead the way on what's next and we've a clear plan of who we are and where we're going – something I don't think many bands have."


Realistically, what do you want Manifold to achieve?

Ewan Driver: "Global domination? Nah, in all seriousness we are working our asses off to make this EP launch a success, and that takes time, effort and money. Following that, we'll be recording our debut full length album and shooting a music video for a new track 'Undercover Lover'.

"In terms of the bigger picture, we want to be recognized on the UK scene and play some of the festivals up and down the country next year, as well as being part of the great tapestry of Glasgow's local scene. We wanna get out there and explore what's on offer!"

How important is social media for the band?

JB Storm: "It's crazy important! We're actually very lucky as we have someone who has experience in this very field to help us on that front. I used to be quite a technophobe and would try and do everything the old school way - letters, phone calls etc, y'know, a pigeon if I could get one. Now I see the importance of social media and how it opens us up to a global audience. Of course, we also like to see our pretty faces on the pictures people take of us at gigs."

What's next for the band?

John CJ Gunn: "After the EP launch, getting the debut album recorded and getting that released. We also have a few music videos on the horizon too so watch this space. There's also the possibility of some festival appearances at the beginning of next year too – so at the moment it's all go in camp Manifold."

What songs do you wish you'd written and why?

Darren Mahoney: "Probably something like the Guns N' Roses classic 'Welcome To The Jungle' because I feel it really captured the whole era of excess and feel of that time and place about the small town kid being let loose in Los Angeles. I mean, c'mon, who wouldn't want that!"


'The Promised Land' EP tracklisting:
Stop Teasin'
False Lovin'
Killer Touch
Full Throttle
No More
Whole Lotta Rosie (Live)

You can see Manifold live here:
Friday 8th September: O2 ABC2, Glasgow (EP Launch Show)
Saturday 23rd September: Hard Rock Café, Glasgow
Saturday 7th October: The Cathouse, Glasgow

Manifold are:
John CJ Gunn – Vocals
Ewan Driver – Guitar
Darren Mahoney – Guitar
JB Storm – Bass
Rucka Russell – Drums

Live photos – © Mark Rutherford for Shock City Productions 2017


metal talk © All written site content is copyright 2008-2018, unless otherwise stated, and is not to be used without prior permission.