An evening with Man Without Country

[Published in Latitude Lookout magazine in 2016]

Hey guys! How is the tour going?

Ryan: Really good, yeah! we can really see a progression from previous tours, more people are turning up to shows and stuff, especially in the UK, that has always been a struggle for us. In Europe it’s less worrying to turn up at a venue and expect that people will come. People are gonna turn up and see you. But in the UK, its been a constant worry of how many people are going to show.

Tom: I think we’ve toured more in Europe than in the UK. I think we’ve toured twice in the UK, but have done a lot more shows in Europe.

Favourite venue on this tour?

Ryan: Well, the most memorable would be the Norwegian Church, in Cardiff. I don’t know who came up with that idea, but that’s just a really cool, unique place to have a show. It’s a… well it’s a Norwegian church. It’s all wooden and white and it looks amazing, it’s right on the waterfront, just a really cool setting.

Tom: Yeah it worked well, we’ve done one other venue like that with Active Child in a church in London here, St. Giles or something, but this was good yeah. It was packed out for the Cardiff one, lots of friends and family down.

Cool. How is the ‘Maximum Entropy’ release going so far?

Ryan: It’s good yeah. We’ve had really positive feedback from fans and some good reviews – not that we really care about reviews – but we haven’t heard anyone say that they dislike it and they continuously say it’s better than the first album, which is what we want really!

So, how did you guys meet and form Man Without Country?

Tom: Well, we met at university. We studied at Glamorgan university and practically met on the first day. We decided to send music back and forth to each other and it developed from there. We had no idea what we wanted to sound like, it was just that we had a mutual interest in similar music.

The name Man Without Country is based about not having a sense of belonging. Do you feel that’s a personal infliction?

Ryan: Well, we started out about seven years ago. The idea comes from the whole social acceptance and small town mentality, but we’ve matured a bit and we don’t necessarily feel as strongly about it now but… here we are. We don’t really want to change the name you know!

Tom: Yeah, like when you are a lot younger you are just rebelling against the way you are brought up, and as Ryan said we both have small town mentalities and were striving to meet like minded people and to sort of, go to a city and try out ideas. Thats where it comes from really.

This project is very electronic. What instruments do you both play?

Ryan: Tom’s first instrument is Saxophone, and I didn’t know that for a while. We both grew up playing piano and later on, towards the end of our teens we got interested in electronic music and that kind of thing, and then it progressed to synthesisers and so on.

Tom: We didn’t really know anything about synthesisers though at the time, it was all self taught. The more you delve into; well there is so much to learn about it so we’re continuously learning as time goes on, on the job.
I can see Germany being a big place for your sound…

Ryan: Yeah we’ve been to Germany a lot.
Tom: Especially Berlin, we’ve played there countless times. It’s always a great reception and they understand what we’re going for.

What was touring with Anthony Gonzalez (M83) like?

Ryan: It was amazing. We have a similar style of music and the fans were really appreciative of us. Every night was packed and sold out, we were playing to like 3000+ people, we loved it. I think our heads got a bit swollen by the end of it!

Tom: It was a drastic contrast for us to play with him. I mean, we played the Paris Olympia, which is the equivalent of the Albert Hall in London. We played Brixton Academy too, it was just amazing to have the opportunity and thanks to him for giving it to us.

How did that tour come about?

Ryan: Well, he’s quite particular about his support acts. He wants them to be reliable and not interfere with his show, which is fair enough. After the first show he realised we were pretty quick on and off the stage and we sounded good and the fans liked us, and he liked it, so from there he was happy for us to do tours with him and stuff.

Amazing! Who are your main influences? It’s a very unique sound you have.

Ryan: On the first album we had strong influences from the likes of Sigur Ros and M83 and loads of electronic things. We needed those prominent influences to try and figure out the sound we wanted to go for.

With this album we feel like we’ve found our own sound to a degree, and so our influences are more detailed but more spread out. For example we try to make lists of very specific things in songs and from artists that we think are cool and so it’s quite a vast array of different styles of music, there are no prominent influences.

Cool, and finally, what does 2015 look like for you guys?

Tom: Just more touring to be honest. We’re working on dates in Europe, which we should have confirmed in the next few weeks, which is exciting. We really want to push forward and tour as much as we can, as well as writing. We’re constantly writing, we never stop writing. We’re going to book some various sessions and get writing to get ideas for the third album really.