sr: How’d you get the name .44 Manson?
.44: So basically, I was a boy scout and I’d go shooting and shit, and my favorite gun is a .44 Magnum. But I didn’t want to do that, like, it sounds weird, like a fucking porno name. So I was looking shit up randomly one night about Charles Manson and I was like damn, .44 Manson, that’d be sick.
sr: What are you doing with music right now?
.44: Right now I’m doing some collaborations. I wanted to take a step back after releasing my last project. They’re like singles technically, but I wanted to work with new people and learn more stuff that I can do.
sr: Explain what Empty Set is? What’s your role in it?
.44: Empty Set is a collective of rappers, producers, musicians basically that all went to high school with each other at one time or another, and it’s just a big label for all of us to release music that we work on together. My role in Empty Set is just helping out with shows and equipment and stuff, but we all do our own thing music wise and it all just kinda goes under the hood of Empty Set, as like a collective of who we are.
sr: How was playing at Broke L.A. with Empty Set?
.44: It was cool. It was a lot different cuz it wasn’t just like a regular show. Playing a festival is different cuz I’ve never played during the daytime, and that was really weird cuz there was more energy than i was used to, I suppose.
sr: What about MIDNITE? What’s going on with the duo?
.44: MIDNITE is me, and other Empty Set member, YAWN, and it’s a collaboration between the two of us where we put our feelings on how we connect about issues that are more personal to us. Like, friendships, and dealing with depression and drugs and like, being our age and growing up into this weird gray zone of our ages, like, what the fuck do I do in my life? MIDNITE is our connection of that, but put through into music.
sr: How about your equipment? Does it affect your music? What equipment would you like to see yourself using in the future?
.44: Well, the equipment I have now is my laptop and some plug ins on it that I like messing around with, plus a microkorg xl. I’ve been doing it long enough that I can take a random sound and loop it, EQ sweep it, compress it, and then turn that random noise into a synth. Like I took a moan from a vintage porno and turned it into an 808, that was pretty funny. I’d like to use analogue synths, that sounds fun. Yesterday I was at Bludwork’s place from Empty Set, and he has these sub sequencers and stuff and I was just making like, it’s just fucked up. It’s so fun. It’s sick.
sr: How is playing live different for you than producing?
.44: With producing it’s just, me and the laptop. But playing live, it’s like back and forth with the crowd, you’re bouncing off each other and it’s almost like you’re talking to them through what you’re playing and they react and you react accordingly.
sr: How old are you? Do you think age plays any role in your music?
.44: I’m 18 and age has nothing to do with how good the music is. I feel like it has something to do with experience and what you’re trying to say in the music, and that varies from person to person. But other than that I’d say that’s about as much age influences on music. Maybe certain ages can’t connect, and certain ages connect more, that’s probably what I’d say.
sr: What about the younger people making music right now, what’s something you know now that you wish you knew earlier?
.44: Practice. Get good. Get as good as you can. And keep trying to get better. And better and better and better. And if you wanna network, the internet’s a great place to network, but real life connections last longer than the internet, by the way. The internet’s tight, but the internet is also low key shitty as fuck.
sr: What elements shape your music? Musical influences? How about things unrelated to music?
.44: Shlohmo, I really like Shlohmo. And Tennyson is really cool. Uh, Dom Solo, from Me Gusta. If it’s a producer that influences me, it’s more like what they’re doing is not just making beats for a rapper. Like it’s got so much in it that it’s not just a beat anymore, it can be its own song. Things unrelated to music? Different philosophies I suppose. One’s that I’ve come across reading or thinking similarly. That comes into it, but it’s more so about emotion.
sr: What was your favorite manga growing up?
.44: Awhh [laughs] that’s a hard one. Damn! I think the first manga I read was Naruto. That’s like everybody’s first but it’s good. I like Gantz, cuz it’s super dark and really strange. Love Hina and A Town Where You Live. In terms of anime, Naruto and Bleach for sure. That shit is hard. Especially Bleach.
sr: Outside of music you’ve dived into the fashion industry, tell us about that?
.44: My godfather’s a designer based in London. He’s part of the duo Agi & Sam, so most of my experience in fashion is through visiting him, and him showing me around. Fashion’s a weird world. All of the designer’s are tight but everybody else kinda sucks. I’ve done photo shoots a few times and that was cool. A fun one was Been Trill x Shawn Samson that was on Harvey Nichols.
sr: What can we see in near the future for .44 Manson?
.44: I’m trying to set up more shows. This summer I’ll be at an event called FaShogun at Tokyo Beat in Little Tokyo. My homie has an after hours spot in China Town, so might try to throw some shit up there. New collabs and singles will constantly be put out. But my next project will probably be next fall. I’ll also be with Empty Set and MIDNITE and we’ll probably have some earlier releases before my own shit since I’m just panning things out.
sr: Any shout outs?
.44: Shout out to Empty Set. Shout out MIDNITE. Shout out Reject Records, we love ya’ll Mogly and Noosance. Shout out Haunter, he does visuals. Shout out Ultra Supreme, who I haven’t talked to in a year but I love you man. Shout out Bane’s World. Uh, yea, fuck everybody else [laughs]. That’s it.
To find out more about .44 Manson, check out his Soundcloud and Bandcamp: