Let me start by saying how pleased I am to have this artist feature on Viewpoint today. He has helped hugely with the Zone Focus rebrand on Youtube and is a big supporter of the ZF movement. Earlier this month I saw him release MNKZT001 moving from popular Youtube channel to a fully fledged label project.
The man I speak about is Philip MNKZT founder and owner of the audiovisual Lo-Fi channel and project, Manikeizt. Over the past year, he has served the leftfield alternative dance music community with video creations that emit as much emotion as the songs behind them. So without a further ado, I present a very special winter viewpoint interview with the man behind the wavey TV screen…
ZF: When did you start your video editing? what made you begin doing it?
Manikeizt: I started when I was in school in 2000. I had to make an audio-visual piece for art class, so I made a video about the English post-punk band Bauhaus, specifically the song ‘Bela Lugosi is Dead‘. Then I recorded some shots with an 8mm camera of statues in a cemetery with a good friend of mine. At that time the “lo-fi aesthetic” trend had yet to become popular. But using video as a visual resource, I was looking for dirty, grainy and rough textured image, so I put the recorded images on a CRT TV and I recorded it with another camera pointing directly to the screen, making the image took a dirty and unwashed.
Later I had to make a “linear” edition with two VHS players. (today the video editing is called “non-linear” editing due to digital technology). That was my first close up with editing music video tributes and from there that I have not stopped. In fact, that experience led me to study audio-visual production at university. I had various Youtube channels before with other styles of music, always focused in “dark” aesthetics but now I’m directly focused on Lo-fi House and Techno music. I discovered this style of House in 2016 when I found Baltra and DJ Boring. I started digging up music on SoundCloud and Youtube (specifically Hurfyd channel). Then I decided to start Manikeizt to curate music and share my audio-visual influences by making video tributes in my free time.
ZF: Which films have specifically influenced your style of videos
you make under Manikiezt?
Manikeizt: I think my influences in making the videos is not directly related to just films. If you take a time to appreciate my video clip playlists I have varied styles. 90’s House and Techno videos have had a great influence indeed. But, as I said before, I have a dark side that I think comes from films and music I listened in my life.
Directors like Maya Deren, David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Keneth Anger, Derek Jarman, and movies like Metropolis” (Fritz Lang) Mulholland Drive (Lynch) Nosferatu (Murnau) Zerkalo (Tarkovsky) and Suspiria (Dario Argento).
ZF: You’ve made many videos for lots of different artists are there
any favourites out of the series?
No_4mat – I’ll Call U Mine
One of my favourite tracks lately, the dark and warm vocals are so catchy and the pads give an epic and dramatic atmosphere. I used the Czech fantasy horror film ‘Valerie a týden divů’. The story is of a girl living on a disorienting dream of stalker priests, vampires and weird characters. One of the best dark surreal horror movies I’ve seen.
Slim Hustla – Vanished
I did this in a kind of animated collage of Greco Roman style. I really don’t know why, but this tune reminds me of the classic Greek architecture.
DJ Maybe – Cooper Station
DJ Maybe is one of the first guys who talked to me about working together and then we made the “Tripping on Gnomes” video, a very recommended watch! Cooper station was a submission DJ Maybe made to SLFARENA002, a contest hosted by Bobby Horton in SLF group (cheers fam!). One day I discovered this track on his SoundCloud and I requested to make a video of it. He kindly agreed and I tried to make a “lofized” version of the film Interstellar. The track is very emotional and I tried to convey that emotion on the montage too. Check the drop at 3:13.
Burial – Archangel (Jazzy Rhythmer Remix)
The most amazing Burial remix I ever heard. This track is charged with full emotion, and in a personal way, reminds me of my sons, but in a nostalgic and melancholic form. So I used the short movie “My Name is Oona” by Gunvor Nelson. I remember that when I was editing I almost cried, I don’t know why but, it was like if I was making a video tribute to my dead daughter. Weird and sad, isn’t it?
QUASAR – The most relaxing words (Whispered)
This track is featured on my first album compilation MNKZT001. I need to thank Riccardo for submitting this track, it was the last I received and damn, such a tune! Is like a kind of ASMR Lo-Fi House, the whispered voice and the progressive build-up to the final peak is sublime. I used a combination of Ingmar Bergman movies and I tried to make a visual narrative with the progression of the song, adapted to the beats and emotions.
ZF: You recently just released your first compilation.
Why did you decide to move from YouTube features to releasing tracks?
Manikeizt: I think is a kind of tribute to all artists who collaborate with my channel, and I’m trying to give a gift to all people who follow me, that’s why the album is free to download. I’ll start to release various EPs soon, watch this space!
ZF: Aside from your work, What do you like to listen to in your downtime?
Manikeizt: I have an extensive collection of music I’ve listened to in my life, more digital than physical, and I’m always playing various styles. I’m not the typical square head only focused on one genre. I move in-between; martial industrial, dark/neofolk, post-punk, synth pop, shoegaze, trip-hop, dancehall, moombahton, and some of the new Latin American dark/electronic cumbia and electro Andino, you know, every experimental electronic I have found.
ZF: What advice would you give someone that wants to get into
video editing and creation?
Manikeizt: Real simple, watch too much cinema and any kind of audio-visual art and listen to a lot of music, don’t discriminate genres, learn to listen and view to all styles and make your own selection you like the most. Importantly, don’t pay attention to haters.
ZF: What do you see for the future of Manikeizt?
Where would you like the project to be next year?
Manikeizt: As I said before, I’ll start to release digital Eps on my label “Manikeizt Warehouse”, and in the future, I would like to release albums on vinyl. I’ll start to make some mixtapes to promote future gigs too, but I don’t like to think too far into future at all.
ZF: Which TV series’ has got you hooked recently? Why do you like it?
Manikeizt: Captain Power (1987) – I’m watching this again. The series that made me love science fiction on TV. I was about 5-6 years old when I first saw it and I remember every minute of my childhood thanks to this great production. I mean, as a child I couldn’t believe that a group of guys with special suits and laser guns battled evil machines to protect the post-apocalyptic earth. Watch it on Youtube in 240p, ultra lo-fi haha.
Twin Peaks 1990 –Watching this again too! A masterpiece, one of the first audio-visual productions that caught my eye because of its oneiric scenes and dark sound atmospheres. I remember I was about 10 years old maybe and the TV channel screened it around 2:00 a.m. It was when my family slept, I was so terrified and excited at the same time, you know, those kinds of sensations that become a vice.
Black Mirror (2011) A visionary series. I think its clever production is one of the most important criticisms of the actual connection between humans and technology. Is the perfect hybrid between “Twilight Zone” and “Hammer House of Horror”.
ZF: Can you explain the process behind the design and process of your videos?
Manikeizt: Well, I’m an obsessive audio-visual digger, I love the internet. When I catch a tune that mesmerises me I have a kind of visual Synesthesia with the sound that appeals to my visual emotive memory to find images that fit with the emotion of music. It’s really difficult to me to make a video for someone who asks me to because I don’t make videos by request, because is like to make a “product”, and I don’t like it.
I think “products” are of the marketing world and I don’t make “marketing” I offer “exposure” for free. I don’t create anything, the videos born from an emotional state. I just mix/sample videos for people who make the music, those people who open their heart in front of their machines, I really admire them.
ZF: If you could produce something from scratch,
what would sort of thing would you create?
Manikeizt: I think, when you create something related to art, you put all your experiences, fears, joys, and secret emotions that you have to express in some way. So is very difficult to me describe the kind of music I would do, but I would like to produce a sort of dark emotional house infused with techno. Something near to Baltra, Slim Hustla or No_4mat.