It’s hard to know where Geoff Kirkwood ends and Man Power begins. The alter ego of the Englishman living in Mexico has blurred the lines between the person and the DJ, but this works in our favor.
Man Power’s music draws inspiration from wilfully smart-arsed influences ranging from early 20th century modernism, to late 20th century New Wave, via experimental cinema, proto-house, proto-techno, in fact proto-everything.
His somewhat experimental and pop textured debut eponymous album on Jennifer Cardini’s Correspondant label released in 2015 was received with effusive reviews across the board and sits comfortably with his other eminent releases on the likes of Hivern Discs, Throne of Blood, Infine and Ene Japan.
2016 seems primed to see Geoff add further confusion towards the nature of his true self, as he embarks on an as yet unannounced ambitious conceptual music project and live performance, expanding on his unconventional yet adaptable musical journey.
We asked Man Power to pick five of his favorite tracks ahead of his set in the Bad Room this Thursday, February 18, so we could get to know the man/DJ a little better. We present ‘Man Power’s I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but….’ list. “There’s a bunch of tracks I love, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call them guilty pleasures, I’ve never had the nerve to play any of them in the club so far,” he said.
Maniac – Micheal Sembello
This is just fucking splendid. Possibly one of my favourite records. The synthesis choices, the arrangement, the OTT eighties vocal performance, his hairy shoulders…. Everything about this speaks to me. But…. it was on Flashdance, and I still haven’t seen it, so refuse to play it until I actually watch the movie (and I kind of think I might enjoy this more than any potential dance floor would). He also looks a bit like me.
Hitler Rap – Mel Brooks
In all fairness to myself, I did used to play the instrumental on the B Side as a bit of lily livered subversion in reaction to the Nu Disco craze around 2006. It was pretty indistinguishable from a lot of the stuff being made at that time in all honesty. The vocal version is another proposition however, as I don’t think I’d be able to fight the compulsion to individually explain to every person in the club that “it’s OK!!! He can talk about Hitler! Mel Brooks is a Jew! See! It’s ok!” so with that in mind, it will likely forever languish on my shelf.
TVAM Theme Music
I really toyed with editing this a few years back actually. There’s a certain element in the Balearic World (is that even a thing?) that really get off on those kind of reworks, and there was a big market for this type of thing. I think that was the main reason I never did it though, as I often think the collectors in that scene can kind of actually suck the fun out of just enjoying a record. This sounds great though. It kind of encapsulates that synthesized sound I grew up with. TV themes and adverts all sounded amazing back then. It was born from the cheapness of asking for music from an electronic composer, rather than a traditional one, but the prevalence of these sounds at the time seems to have informed my entire generation and very much influences the sounds of today.
Little Plum – Darryl Way
This also nearly got edited, and didn’t for the same reasons as the track above.
This actually soundtracked the longest running talk-in radio show on the airwaves when I was a kid in the eighties. The show was called Night Owls and is still running today. Darryl Way was kind of a prog rock producer. Like a later version of Jean Luc Ponty, but with added eighties pop leanings. Anyway, the main reason I won’t play this is simply because I realise that it probably only sounds good to anyone if they spent their youth secretly listening to the radio in Newcastle after 10pm on a school night.
Pump up the Bitter – Star Turn on 45 Pints
The ultimate. Anybody my age, where I’m from, will LOVE this.
Yes, it’s a novelty record, but it’s so specific to where I’m from that I find it unbelievable that it got so big in the UK when it came out. Obviously it’s a pastiche of Pump Up The Volume by MARRS, but it’s done with a humour that’s so localised to where I’m from, that I find it almost impossible that anybody who wasn’t from North East England, didn’t grow up with “Social Club Culture” or indeed the “Geordie” Dialect, could get anything remotely rewarding from listening to it. I, on the other hand, am about to piss myself laughing listening to this as I type about it.
Man Power is playing in the Bad Room this Thursday night with JDH at the PopGun presents party. Tickets available here. You can check out Man Power’s music here.