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Manatee Commune Has The Enthusiasm Of A Mad Scientist

Monday 13th, November 2017 / 09:05
By Max Szentveri

VANCOUVER – Speaking with Grant Eadie, a.k.a. Manatee Commune, the first word that comes to mind is enthusiasm. He just got back to Bellingham after a two-month musicians’ residency in Detroit, and he’s buzzing about the “ridiculous” amount of music he created during his time there, while gutted he can’t put any of it in his fans’ hands until January. It’s clear he doesn’t like standing still.

Since 2016, Eadie has released a full-length album and two EPs, the most recent being a collection of B-sides titled Unmastered, which he released for free in August. In the past year-and-a-half, his music has developed from a side project into a full-time career, and he’s relished the adjustment to the frenetic pace of touring.

“It’s the most stimulating thing you could possibly do with your time,” he says. “I think that’s really good for me because my mind is always kind of bustling around.”

Eadie started making music soon after he got his first laptop, at age 18. He fell in love with groups like Ratatat, Gold Panda, and Floating Points, and began creating “glitchy, minimalist stuff.” His first release gained traction around Bellingham, spreading by word-of-mouth and earning radio play. Soon he was booking shows around the city as Manatee Commune (a name that he admits regretting, but has since made his peace with).

That was nearly six years ago. Since then, Eadie’s music has matured into a distinctive brand of bubbly, bright, laid-back dance music, inspired by his connection with the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.

“When I started the project,” he recalls, “the intention was to create something that reflected how I felt being in the natural environment around Washington.”

Taking a field recorder into the woods, he literally used the forest as his instrument, creating a huge bank of samples that form the subtle thematic through line of his music: cheery synths weave atop the percussion of tree branches, while birdsong flutters in and out of the mix.

In conversation, Eadie’s energy is infectious. He’s pumped to be touring the west coast this fall, eager to unveil a live show that he’s been meticulously crafting for most of the past year. On top of pulling duty as a multi-instrumentalist during his sets (he plays guitar, violin, and percussion in addition to working the console), Eadie has designed all of the concert visuals himself.

“I wanted to create something that was a mixture of the artwork I’d been creating and my musicianship, but then also create something people could just straight-up smash their faces to and just have a great time,” he says.

The next four months will be increasingly hectic for Eadie as he tours, prepares to release fresh material in early 2018, then begins touring again, and it’s clear the prospect excites him. His enthusiasm for pace gives him something like the air of a mad scientist, happiest when consumed by his work.

“I think I’m making the best music I’ve ever made in my life in the last couple months,” he proclaims. “It’s everything I’ve wanted to do for so long.”

Manatee Commune performs at the Biltmore Cabaret (Vancouver) on November 19.

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