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The Ray Mann Three - Mann Oh Mann

Author: NJ
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

3D’s NJ gets his groove on with The Ray Mann Three, whose debut album Full Of Soul is out now.

Your debut album has just been released, the culmination of three years of song writing, are you pleased with the result and its reception so far-
We managed to condense three years of writing into three days of recording – it’s us in a moment, organic and honest. We’ve only just let the album loose into the world, and the few words we’ve received so far have been kind, so we’ll see how it goes from here…

Did you have a plan for how you wanted the Ray Mann Three to sound before forming – that minimalist soul groove – or did it happen organically when the three of you started jamming-
I had a pretty clear concept long before the project began. We spent a long time getting into character, like musical Method actors. The jamming for us is expression within our particular vocabulary. The result is “organic” purely because the guys I play with have an ear for this dialect, an innate understanding of the concept, amazing instincts and formidable talent.

How does the song writing work- Is it all jam based, do you share lyrics writing duties, or do you each have individual roles-
The album tracks are mostly ditties I’d concocted in my cocoon before bringing ’em to the Menn. I’d have lyrics written and parts “designed”, and then the guys colour them in. We’d test ’em out at live shows, without rehearsal. As far as roles go if I’m the director, then Bart (drums) is the facilitator and Byron (bass) is the court jester.

Ray, you used to be the lead guitarist in Kid Confucius, who have recently gone in a more garage rock direction – was the band’s music policy a catalyst for launching the Ray Mann Three-
The Ray Mann Three had already been gigging solidly for years before Kid C decided to get its rock on – and as lead guitarist in that band, I relished my role in the developing rock element of the Kid C live show. While they’re two very different projects, The Ray Mann Three shares influences with Kid C – after all, they’re the guys I spent years playing, discovering and listening to all kinds of music with – so we’re more connected in that way.

You each play in various other bands, does it get hard to coordinate the three of you to be available for gigs and rehearsal at the same time-
It’s a juggling act. But we have a master-juggler of a manager and a little collective of like-minded players on the reserve bench willing to play when either Byron or Bart can’t make it. The only thing missing now is a sub for Ray…

I noticed you’re also playing café Bon Amici in Toowoomba (where I spent most of my teenage years smoking and drinking coffee) – do you get as much of a kick playing a tiny intimate venue like a café as you do rocking a club or festival stage-
You know, one of the inspirations for this project is Seu Jorge (the guitarist in Life Aquatic who plays the Bowie covers in Portuguese) – the idea that this small, self-contained, muted, cheeky thing was going on in the corner of the frame in that bizarre little world. So yeah, we’re all about the tiny joints.

What’s happening with your residency at Tonic- Will you be back there as soon as this tour is over-
No doubt. This tour is our biggest step out the front door yet, but Tonic Lounge is the home we always return to.

You’re supporting Roy Ayers soon, as well – excited-

So what’s next after this string of dates- Plans to record more, or head overseas-
Yes and yes – and to create more tRM3-related art, and atmosphere, and to keep growing our own little world.

WHO: The Ray Mann Three
WHAT: Self-titled EP through MGM / Play Cut The Rug at theLoft
WHEN: Out now / Sunday 21 September