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INTERVIEW: The Manatees on their new EP, Stay Now

Southampton alternative indie-rock trio The Manatees released their latest EP, Stay Now, a collection of previously unreleased demos. This sweet four-track release features songs the boys have played at live shows and new songs written over lockdown.

The Manatees are one of the most exciting bands to come from the South Coast in recent years, with an impressive catalogue of singles and EPs blooming since 2017. They’ve become fan-favourites in the Southampton gig scene, playing shows with the likes of Lauran Hibberd and Only Sun. The band have taken the south by storm, and it’s about time the rest of the UK pay attention to their indie-rock tunes!

The EP follows up from their previous singles of the year, including Arctic Monkeys-esque anthem Have It All with its magnetic guitar riffs and scorching hot Know You, on fire with its blazing hooks. With four amazing singles under their belt this year alone, The Manatees haven’t let lockdown stop them, as they finish 2020 with new EP Stay Now, topping off what has been a great year for the lads.

Title track Stay Now opens the EP with its twinkling guitars and toe-tapping pre-chorus, fitting of an indie coming-of-age soundtrack. Worst Way is a shining example of The Manatees’ honest, vulnerable lyricism as it emphasises mental health and burnout - and with the year we’ve all had, damn does it hit hard. The song highlights the importance of asking for help when you need it, wrapped nicely in a punchy rock banger - it’s a personal favourite from the EP.

How Hard Can It Be? is a sultry, dark tune, with its entrancing melodies and riffs. This is the edgier side of The Manatees, and it’s always so exciting to see. In contrast, final track Suffocated is a slow, soft song that shows the complete opposite spectrum of The Manatees’ immense talent. Laced with delicate harmonies, much like earlier 2020 release Guilty Pleasure, the track demonstrates the musical range you can expect from the band - from dreamy, nostalgic songs to catchy, high-energy rock anthems. The Manatees can do it all, and the Stay Now EP serves four tasty tracks to you on a plate to prove it.

We had the absolute pleasure of chatting to the band about the new EP!


Chloe: How have you been doing during lockdown?

The Manatees: We’ve been doing okay! It’s been a tough period for everyone and it’s been no different for us. We’ve all been apart for long periods of time which has made writing/rehearsing difficult but we’ve kept productive and we’re happy we’ve managed to put out some music.

The main thing is we’re all healthy and we can’t wait to get back together when things (hopefully) get back to normal in the new year.

How long has the new EP been in the works?

The EP is a collection of demos we’ve made over the last couple of years really. Stay Now and Worst Way were songs that featured in our live set for a while so we hope they’re familiar to people who have been to see us. Suffocated is an acoustic track which we rarely play that we recorded in spring last year and How Hard Can it Be? we wrote and recorded very recently, over the first lockdown.

The Manatees by Linda Brindley

My favourite track on the EP has to be Worst Way - what's the story behind that?

Ah great! Worst Way is about getting stuck in a routine/mood that you’re really not happy with and wanting to break out of it. It’s something I think a lot of us experience and hopefully people can get on board with it. The song is also super energetic, it was amazing to play live and we hope this comes across in the demo.

What can we expect from The Manatees in 2021?

Gigs, gigs and more gigs! It’s been so great to have some time focusing on our writing and other areas of the project but we really can’t wait to start playing shows again. It might still be a while off but whenever it happens we urge people to come along to see us live, we promise it will be worth the wait!

Treat your ears with an early Christmas gift this year: check out the Stay Now (Demos) EP on Bandcamp, for a pay what you like price.

Catch The Manatees on tour in 2021:

27 January - The 1865, Southampton (Seated and socially-distanced)

19 March - Strings Bar & Venue, Isle of Wight

10 April - Omeara, London (supporting Neon Waltz)

28 April - Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

30 April - Rough Trade, Bristol

2 May - Teddy Rocks Festival, Blandford Forum

8 May - The Loft, Southampton

Tickets on sale here.

Review by Chloe Robbins

Photography by Linda Brindley

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