In Depth: Charlie Boy Manson - And The Handsome Family
Charlie Boy Manson is set to make a serious impression on the underground scene with his debut project, Charlie Boy Manson And The Handsome Family. Hailing from Devon, CBM didn’t emerge from a hip-hop orientated environment, however used his passion for music creatively and started making his own. Inspired by rave culture, by age 16 he had built his own sound-system alongside long-term friends, so throwing illegal parties soon became a regularity. Some years later, CBM began spitting at live shows and co-started a hip-hop collective known as SWMS, who rose to moderate prominence from touring festival circuits alongside Sika Studios. Later CBM relocated to Manchester, before spending a few years touring Asia and Europe, spending a proportional amount of time writing in preparation for releasing his own solo material. Whilst in Manchester, CBM reconnected with school-mate Medallion Man, who both ended host events from a base in Manchester under the banner of Loose Lips. Since Loose Lips was founded, CBM has contributed to providing nationwide UK tours for the likes of L.A. based Astral Place and UK hip-hops notorious Cult Of The Damned. As well as this, CBM has taken his music across Europe and achieved his own international following in the process. Having released his long-anticipated debut on Halloween, CBM speaks in depth on his upbringing into UK music culture, the creation process of Charlie Boy Manson And The Handsome Family and more to come from himself and Loose Lips.
Let’s go back to the beginning. What were your earliest musical influences?
This is taking it way back, but thinking back to primary school I was always a Kerrang kid. My first CD was Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory, it was until a few years later that I started listening to rap. I remember a birthday a couple years later, I was given a pirated copy of 'College Dropout' and 'The Massacre'.
What inspired you to practice music instead of just appreciating it?
I always wanted to play guitar or be in a band, but a major influence was my boy Rommek's dad, he DJ'd and had a ridiculous record collections and we would spend weeks going through it all. Discovering stuff like Aphex Twin & Bjork while still in Primary School really helped to open my eyes to a wide musical landscape. The two of us went on to produce tracks together under the moniker 'IFIHADAHIFI'. Which is actually a Palindrome.
What came first, penning bars or producing instrumentals?
I been making tunes since I was about 14/15, mainly Dubstep & Techno. I was always making beats but never with the intention of spitting on them myself, but that's something I wanna' revisit on future projects.
You’ve moved around over the years if I’ve heard correct, what’s your story as far as where you’ve lived & travelled?
I grew up in Totnes, Devon, and was lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of creative heads, definitely helped by the fact that was really nothing to do besides getting stoned at the skate park, so we had to create our own fun. When I was 16 me and a couple mates built a soundsystem together and would throw illegal raves around the place. I also started SWMS (swms.bandcamp.com) a hip hop collective with Ritten around the age of 18, we ended up doing a couple festival circuits with SIKA studios, so shouts to all them man for the experience. Before I moved to Manchester at the age of 20, I spent about two years travelling around Asia and Europe on a proper budget. This meant I had bare time to focus on my writing. One time I was fully waved and got jumped by some Khymer boys whilst playing poker in Cambodia, I woke up in the morning realising all my possessions were gone, mainly my rhyme book. All the locals know each other over there, so I spent the whole day marching round Sihanoukville, screaming at people telling 'em they can keep my money, jus' get me that rhyme book back. Ended up being told to sit in this cafe at 5pm, some guy jumps off his ped and comes in and he's like $10 for the book back. I had to buy my own rhyme book back, I got done mate.
What was the first official track you finished, if you can remember?
Daily Games. You'll notice me reference it in a lot of verses since then. Hol' tight Sire. & Circula for producing that one and putting me in front of a mic back when I was 18. I still got in on my Soundcloud on a private link, so if you ask nicely I'll send it over.
When did you first touch mic on a live stage?
That was supporting N.L.P in Torquay. I was like 18 and about to bail on it. The promoter through this competition on the event page saying whoever got the most likes on their track gets to be main support. Me and this lad called Jack ended up both hitting about 100 and the promoter turned around and said you can both have the gig. Me and Jack (Ritten) ended up linking before the gig to cypher and that's we ended up starting SWMS.
Did you come up independently, or have you moved with any musical collectives who have aided your musical progression?
It's all been independent, I've always linked with artists across the country/Europe off my own back. As I said we did a couple stints with Sika but for whatever reasons nothing worked out and that was for the best. Obviously I've always been involved in Loose Lips so that's a solid team I have behind me. Shouts to the whole crew but without a doubt a lot of my progression has been down to Medallion Man, he's always seen potential in me and pushed me to places I otherwise would never have gone.
At what stage did you get involved with Loose Lips?
I went to school with Medallion Man and grew up with Juggins who are the two creators, so I was always involved. I was sceptical about a commitment though cos I had my involvements with the soundsystem and SWMS. It was when I moved to Manchester, I said to Fred look let’s both start throwing nights in Manchester and building a base here. The rest is history.
What’s your story as far as working with Loose Lips - what it’s done for you personally and where it’s taken you?
It's done so much, caused just about every emotion, top two being stress and relief. But nah, I've had the ability to take my music across Europe to places like Macedonia! I've linked up and been welcomed by artists from all sorts of cultures, and more recently putting together the UK tour for Cult of the Damned and having the opportunity to touch mic in front of crowds of people at Boomtown Fair.
When did you take up the alias Charlie Boy Manson, how did you come with the title and what does it represent?
Everyone is constantly telling me how much I look like Charles Manson, even my Mrs on the night I met her a couple years ago. Therefore 'Charlie Boy' became a running nickname for me. This darker sound and lyrical content is a departure from what I've been producing recently under my 'Treece' alias, hence the name change and the mystery behind the alter-ego.
What motivated you to begin the creation of your debut EP?
The context and thought process behind the release was really quite natural. First off I want to say the Producer Caskevet is as much a part of this release as myself, we were both orchestrating the sound of every beat and track.It was recorded earlier this year in the space of maybe three or four days in the midst of a very blurry period. Pretty much the only things in the living room were a sofa, memory foam mattress, drum machines, microphone and a selection of musical instruments, so we were totally focused on our music.
How long has it been in the makings for, what was the first track you worked on from this project?
I have no memory. All lyrics were wrote on the spot to the tracks and a lot of the verses from the pair of us are actually freestyled. It was a consistent creative process, rarely stopping to eat and sleep and I can't remember anyone else being present at the time. We thought this quick creative process, would create more coherence behind the tracks, putting more focus in to distorted vocals and soundscape then complex flows.
Who helped with the makings of this project, having a significant input or assistance in the creation process?
It was just me and Caskevet. #caskknows. Shouts to all the reprobates that were around though. Shout out to Craig Kendal who did the artwork.
Do you have any highlights looking back on time in the studio creating this project?
Just fucking about with the vocals live, we put the mic through the SP, and used that as a soundcard, so all that pitch correction and manipulation was done while recording the verses in. Besides that I wish I brushed my teeth more.
The project features nine tracks, was this all the tracks you created or the ones which made the final cut?
We were making other music across the time we were living together, but it was on a different vibe. These nine tracks were the ones that felt like they were meant to be together.
Caskevet makes regular features, what’s your background with being affiliated with him musically?
I already told you, #caskknows. We were living together, he's the don. We've collaborated bare over the years,as we are both members of 'SWMS'. It was second nature, it was easy and we were aware of the sound we both wanted to create. He also performed live at the release party on Halloween @ Stage & Radio, Manchester.
As far as releasing this project with Loose Lips, is this the start of much more to come?
I'll always have a loyalty to Loose Lips, there's one or two labels I would jump on if I had the call, other than that you will see a lot more free music through swms.bandcamp.com.
What influenced your decision to release this project on Halloween?
We decided to wait until Halloween for the release because of the dark content and sound, releasing the project whilst the 'hottest summer ever' was getting underway just seemed proper off fitting.
Can you give us any early exclusives into what Loose Lips has in store for remainder of 2018, or 2019?
We have got lots in store, obviously the Charlie Boy Manson release party that I just mentioned. We've got a party in Bristol at Cosies on the 9th of November, our 4th Birthday in London on the 24th of Nov and then on the 7th of December we have a Jungle/Hardcore all dayer in Manchester, starting off at Eastern Bloc (the record store in town) then moving on to Stage & Radio in the evening. That's just for the remainder of this year, i'll keep 2019 hush hush for now, but we have some big plans in store for the next few years, so keep eyes and ears peeled.
Charlie Boy Manson, thank you for your time. Any final shout outs?
Caskevet, the whole Loose Lips family, my SWMS gang, all my day one's from Dartington Primary, the pentapod, everyone at Blah Records, the Bristol lot mainy the WMD family (R.I.P Dubbl Sweggrz), Skoop Records and all the Scottish syndicate, Limbo Radio, Beeswaxx, A Broken Camarilla, Strang Riddims, my Mrs, everyone who has welcomed me up in Manchester, my family and everyone who's helped the progression along the way. Craig Kendal for the artwork. Sorry if I've forgotten anyone.
Words by Evo