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INTERVIEW: Sleight of Hands presents "Lipstick Shades"

Chromatic mag has the pleasure of sitting down with Phil & Manny of Sleight of Hands. Lets find out a little bit more about them and their new LP.

Can you tell us a little about your experience and your background in the music business?

Phil: I was born in New Zealand, raised in England and have been playing music since I was a kid. But it was really growing up in the UK in the 90's that got me into electronic music - especially early jungle / garage / house.

When my family moved to San Francisco that love for the sound never left and so I soon connected with crews and artists out in SF. Started out doing various gigs and production under the DnB alias of Bachelors Of Science before wanting to try production in some different styles.

Manny: I've got a lot of roots here in the Bay Area as DJ M3, running the label, clubs, record stores - so when a friend connected us, we started to produce music together as Sleight Of Hands. We quickly got opportunities to remix for the likes of Groove Armada, Dirty Vegas, Mr V, Shiny Objects and more before releasing a series of singles and our first album. Now we're back again with our second collection.

Where are you from? do you feel that has a big impact on your sound?

Phil: Definitely think UK has influenced my sound, and alot of the radio there is still what I listen to on a day-to-day basis, but I'm also really appreciative of the SF sound and especially crews like Green Gorilla, Om, Sunset, Wicked, Werd, and folks like Mikee Bee that show a different side to the house that I would typically hear back in the UK.

Manny: There's a great vibe of experimentation and some of the psychedelic influence of SF that you pick up. I try to bring that out in productions... I'll come in with a vibe in mind and we really like to keep the styles varied and fun. That's kinda how the name Sleight of Hands came around ... just when you think you know where our sound is going we'll throw in some tricks and switch it up.

What artists and genres do you enjoy most right now?

Phil: All across the board - actually a lot of indie, punk, but also stuff that has a slightly darker edge. In terms of electronic acts - really diggin folks like Subjective, Overmono, Joy Orbison but also Floating Points, acts like Real Lies, some of the amapiano sound and staples like Omar S, MrG.

What is the story behind your new release? how did it come together?

Manny: We'd been working on a lot of music prior to the pandemic, testing a lot out over the years. With all that happened in the scene during the closures, we really wanted to put out a lot of what we'd been playing in a series of singles. The idea was that you'd have a more straight up a-side, but then a deeper or sample based cut on the flip side. After releasing the series of five singles it felt right to put it all together as an album.

Has your sound changed a lot in recent years?

Manny: Yeah, I mean it's continuing to evolve every time as you discover different things, and with the times and what influences you've picked up. Feels like this latest collection tries not to take itself too seriously, and bring some of that fun back to the sound.

Phil: Also more use of Arps and a whole bunch of synths that I was able to use at the former Oakland Vintage Synth Museum gave it a rawer sound.

Do you feel you can have a more experimental sound in the modern scene?

Manny: Absolutely - but it's so interesting to hear sounds and styles come back around - especially if you've been around a bit.

Phil: Producers coming up are taking a vibe but bringing it up to date, and personally I love that balance.

We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but has it affected creativity?

Manny: I don't think we've ever gone into making a track thinking of sales. So no, the challenging part is the discovery of what's out there.

Can you tell us what's next for you?

Phil: Well, I'll be heading to Detroit for Movement.

Manny: Sun is shining and life is good, so I just hope people are happy and get enjoyment from this record. Appreciate being able to share a little about it!

Ill be playing at Outerlimits with Max Cooper, Doc Martin in SF at the Great Northern.


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