MANMADEMADMAN is the solo project of synth veteran Shane Etter, blasting out of the DIY Denver scene. Before this current project, he was fully responsible for the critically acclaimed 6 album female fronted trip-hop of E-LAB in the early ‘aughts, the noisy political protestings by electro-punk of BOMB*CONGRESS, the deep and wide and still going strong electronic hiphop of REVERB AND THE VERSE, the faceless yet globally popular Brooklyn-before-you-were-a-hipster wunderduo BOYFRIENDGIRLFRIEND as well as the occasional remix under the guise of ONE(TON)GUN.
Electronic music runs this man; pervades his musical thoughts. His collection of vintage and boutique synthesizers is only outdone by his encyclopedic knowledge of their history and lineage; its a challenge to find an analog synthezier he hasn’t previously owned once (or twice) or doesn’t know about- and he’s been religiously finding/buying/selling them since the early 90’s. Nowadays, he’s regularly hired as a consultant and beta tester for companies like Kurzweil (for which he’s most famous), Dave Smith Instruments, as well as local hero makers WMDevices, who make and manufacture eurorack modular gear right in Denver. The title of “synth nerd” is a freak flag he flies proudly.
He interrupts with…
“…try to kill my short attention span.”
He’s been doing this for two decades, and its more than a passion for him. Perhaps lifeblood? A short visit to the basement studio reveals an voluminous “unheard” archive of tracks. He feels a responsibility to get things out of his head and into song form, perhaps as self medication, perhaps as an exorcism. Results may vary, but his methods and quality control are without question.
“For the first two MANMADEMADMAN records, I wrote 100 songs as fast as possible… sometimes 3 or more a day, not pausing to produce them. Once I got to 100, I sifted thru them and worked on the ‘keeper’ pile. But this time for WARPAINT, I did it the opposite for two years. I only worked on those few songs. And I think they show it, or will after a few listens. There are layers there.”
As MM:MM, you’ll rarely catch him out of character. Think Bono in “The Fly” mixed with a little bit Thom Yorke, Steve Jobs, a little bit of Bruce Wayne and Moby. On stage, he’s art on fire. For example, inexplicably he regularly makes his “lawyer” announce before the show that he regrets to inform the audience that he IS able to make it to the show tonight. Then, he’ll hit ‘shuffle’ on his playback device and play whatever songs come out of the machines as if it was planned that way the whole time. Live electronic music is tough to be interesting onstage, but he somehow pulls it off. Spoiler Alert: he doesn’t stare at a laptop. He confronts the audience, hoping for a fight.
Offstage, he has plenty to say about most everything. Plenty to say about ‘music these days’, plenty to say about the money vs. the art of it, and plenty to say about who’s worth listening to (he deflected the latter question about himself). But its a mostly harmless few rants, and his pure charisma is addicting.
WARPAINT marks his third full record as MANMADEMADMAN, and his 20th record since he’s been doing all this. Is it still worth it?
“Yep. I have a lot more to say, and of course I still need some revenge.”