Our next featured artist was a treat for me to catch up to as I first took notice of him fishing around Bandcamp for some new music but it wasn’t until a few days later that he really caught my attention when I saw the debut of his new video “Sweat” the first single from Don Miguel’s debut album “WaitingForCarmine” Featuring Justin Credible, Ness Rhyme, and Atownomas of Heart Of Brooklyn and then the light went off! Click! Hey that’s that guy from Bandcamp ….. You get the point.. Moving forward we were lucky enough to track down Don Miguel for a little Q&A, we figured you guys might like to find out a little more about this Don Miguel I know we sure did! I’m not going to lie after seeing the “Sweat” video I was like hell yeah we need an interview with him, he looks crazy in that video! Joking aside McManus is a serious musician and his latest project is ridiculously dipped in hip-hop goodness and if you’re any fan of that East Coast Hip-hop boom bap sh^* then you’re going to love this! It’s our pleasure to introduce to you the cane wielding Don Miguel…
Q. So for those who aren’t familiar with you and your music, who are you and where are you from..?
A. I produce under the name Don Miguel, which is a family nickname my great-grandfather gave me. My real name is Michael McManus. I’m a 25 year old musician/song-writer/singer/
producer from Long Island, New York.
Q. What’s going on with you musically at the moment?
A. I self-released my debut Hip-Hop production album at the end of October. It’s called “Waiting For Carmine.” I made all the beats and organized and produced the project, which features over thirty different emcees, singers, and musicians. I also do some singing and perform most of the live instrumentation. As far as what you can expect from the sound, it’s based in east coast boom bap but taken much further out through all the arranging and instrumentation. There’s some live drums, hard hitting synths…..even orchestral arrangements and operatic vocals. There’s also spoken word and live guitar and bass. It’s definitely head-nodding hip-hop though at the same time.
Q. What’s your track record like?
A. I am a producer and session musician in the hip hop community. I’ve worked with artists such as Boldy James, Guilty Simpson, Rapsody and Blacastan as a producer. As a session musician I’ve done work on tracks for Ne-Yo, Meek Mill, Stalley, Bink! and more. I’ve also done extensive work playing in bands touring and releasing albums. I currently sing and play guitar in a band called Gamblers, with whom I plan to release our debut album “Small World” in 2015. I also play in an Electronic group called “Helicopter Goes KABOOM!” and play drums for singer/songwriter Tom Moran. I used to record and tour with bands such as Fastizio and Yankee Longstraw as well.
Q: As a producer I’m sure you’ve got a great ear for talent, what kind of advise could you give an emcee trying to make it today?
A. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m in a position to give anybody advice, since I’m still trying to “make it” myself. What I will say though, as a starting point, is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I think there is a lot of shame some people have with thinking they aren’t worthy enough to talk to people or they think it’s boastful to promote and talk about things they are trying to accomplish. I was stuck in that mentality for a long time and it got me nowhere. Also, I’ve had friends or people that I’ve worked with in the past who have this idea that as “the artist” it isn’t their responsibilty to get their work heard. Maybe that would be true in a perfect world, put I promise you now, if you don’t work hard for yourself in this regard you are DEAD in the water. That should seem obvious but believe it or not it isn’t to some people. Unless you’re really lucky, there are no hand outs. Be in the studio or writing at least five times a week, be online networking, go out to a show, listen to a lot of music. Also, to whatever degree is feasible in your current situation, FINANCE/PRODUCE YOUR GODDAMN SELF. If you want to shoot a video, find someone who’s good at it and pay them, or learn how to do it yourself. I currently live at home with my family (since graduating college) and I have two jobs. Virtually everything I earn after the few bills I have are taken care of goes DIRECTLY into funding my career. I understand that is a privilege not everybody will have, but the mentality of that is the important ingredient. If you want something, you have to put YOURSELF and your resources into it. Be a good person too, don’t fuck people over. Show up where and when you say you’re going to show up, go to big lengths to gain people’s trust and try to live up to it as best to your ability. This is what you have to do in my opinion to move yourself forward. Like I said, I don’t see myself as someone in a position to really be offering big advice, but I will tell you once I got my work ethic in order and checked my ego at the door and accepted the responsibility of getting my name out there then I started making big strides in music. I only started making beats four years ago and what I’ve accomplished is pretty impressive since then. That might sound like bragging but it’s just true, and I worked my fucking balls off to make that happen so I don’t give a shit how it comes off.
Q: It sounds like you’ve had some great opportunities to work with some really talented people, who’s an artist you’d like to work with in he future?
A. I really want to work with Run The Jewels. I feel like my falsetto voice and the instruments I play could really gel with their style. I met EL-P last year at a friend’s birthday party, and it was right before the first Run The Jewels album was coming out. He plugged his iPhone into the DJ booth at this little bar we were at in Brooklyn and played like half the album right there. I was just like duuuuuuuude please let me play guitar with you haha. He already had his band though. I’d also really like to work with John Frusciante and Omar Rodriguez Lopez. I made another LP that’s going to come out in 2015 (LDNYC) with a British Rapper by the name of SamueL. I wouldn’t mind doing another album like that with me on the beats and Roc Marciano on the mic.
Q: Most artists seem to have these rituals they do to prepare for a show, do you do anything special to prepare for a show?
A. To prepare for a show? If I’m playing with a band I just try to rehearse with them as much as possible and then hope it isn’t a disaster haha. With hip-hop it’s more loose especially if you’re just playing to a track. Usually I’ll just get drunk and let it rip. Start freestlying on cats. Shout out to my patnas Monsignor Ghost and The Big Purple Donahue.
Q: How can people stay in the loop with you and your music?
A. Check out my website www.waitingforcarmine.com for the online listening experience. You can also buy the bundle package (which includes a T shirt, stickers, a download card, the album track list and credits, and all the art) at http://www.alteredstatesny.
com/product/waiting-for- carmine-t-shirt-and-album- bundle. You can also follow me on Twitter/IG @DonMiguelWFC and hit me up on email for features or beats at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can download the album on the website or through bandcamp @ donmiguel.bandcamp.com