A Wild Ride with Bad With Phones

Dive into the creative world of Bad With Phones, also known as Manny, who recently released his latest single ‘drive.’ This track, a unique blend of synth-pop and indie-electro, encapsulates the dual themes of literal driving and the metaphorical drive needed to navigate life’s challenges. With the upcoming release of his album ‘CRASH,’ Manny brings a fresh perspective to the music scene, combining personal experiences with a distinctive sound. From his near-death experience to a six-month phone-free social experiment, Manny’s journey is as compelling as his music.

Amping up the roll out, Bad With Phones has just released another single from the album, ‘TICKET,’ a stunning, psychedelic anthem that sweeps the listener away with its intimate spoken word and mesmerising chorus. Join us as we explore the inspiration behind his latest works and the transformative moments that have shaped his artistic path. 

Congratulations on the release of your new single ‘drive.’! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this track and the story it tells? 

Oh hey! Yeah sure. Well, ‘drive’ kind of has a double meaning. It’s quite literal, as in driving a car, the feeling you have when you intend to get somewhere, and the different changes that happen in-between the drive. On the other hand, it is also about the kind of drive you may need to have when dealing with life and all its numerous assault courses. I wanted to make something that encapsulated the feeling that no matter what you were going through, you could overcome it with drive. The world is far from perfect, and music has always been a tool to boost energy and bring encouragement to us all. For me, ‘drive’ is our contribution to humanity to bring about a feeling of hope. 

‘drive.’ combines synth-pop with indie-electro elements. How did you develop this unique sound, and what influences shaped the creation of this song?

The core of this song is only really like 2 chords. It’s mega simple. It was initially written on an acoustic guitar. I had a couple of drum patterns and bass lines to begin with, but they weren’t quite clicking, so I took the project over to Minde, a friend and producer who I worked with on the project, and started to rebuild the parts. We wanted it to move, so the new drums really set the pace, then everything else just seemed to fall into place. The process was very experimental. We really just wanted to do what felt good and tap into something pulsating. 

The single artwork for ‘drive.’ features a jeep crash. How does this visual representation connect to your personal experiences and the themes of the song?

The artwork is quite ironic. The picture is of an accident I was actually involved in. I was driving the car with my partner at the time, a fellow musician and stunt woman Talulah Ruby, and yeah, we completely stacked it basically. All I can really say is I’m thankful we’re alive and miracles are real. Might I add this disclaimer: if you’re going to be pumped with enthusiasm and drive, wear a seatbelt and consider possible outcomes both good and bad. 

‘Don’t Talk To Me’ has received critical acclaim and repeated spins on BBC Radio 6 Music. What inspired this track, and what message do you hope listeners take away from it? 

‘Don’t Talk To Me’ was one of the last songs to get on the project, and it was produced by Mindaugas. It came about at quite a frustrating time in the process of making the album. I was feeling hard-pressed to deliver and pretty much just being burnt out and bored of everything that was happening and not wanting anything to do with talking to anybody. It’s really a song addressing the haters, critics, and inner doubt. It’s for anyone who knows they have something to do or accomplish—just do it. 

Your upcoming album ‘CRASH’ is described as a “sonic therapy session.” Can you elaborate on what listeners can expect from this project and how it reflects your personal journey? 

The album ‘CRASH’ is a real mood board of sounds and tones, techniques both vocally and musically. It’s a mesh of sounds I’ve grown to love as a fan of music myself. I wanted to bring into the project frequencies that are vibrationally giving and that gave me a feeling of the sounds I was exposed to growing up. It’s important as musicians to give the best we can when creating sound for others to consume, as it affects us deeply. I wanted to share that with the new generation of kids growing up in the world today. 

You’ve mentioned that ‘CRASH’ is a collection of songs exploring highs, lows, and ultimate redemption. Can you share some specific experiences that influenced the writing and production of this album? 

‘CRASH’ is really my personal pursuit of love, freedom, truth, and peace of mind whilst living within the confines of society. And longing to find a way to integrate who I am with the world using my humanity as a fellow member of the human race, but also feeling like an outcast because of the color of my skin or because I don’t support a football team or any of the stupid divisive tools. Tools groups of communities use to create false illusions about another group’s worth. “CRASH” is a personal experiment for myself and a reminder that I am in touch with my feelings and the greater feelings of our collective subconscious at large. An opportunity to flex on the shadowy aspects of reality with some light. 

The name ‘Bad With Phones’ came from a six-month phone-free social experiment. How did this experience impact your music and your perspective as an artist? 

It was indeed, and it changed my life. I recommend everyone who lives in a city to try it and document to see how you cope. I took the idea that we are already complete. When we are born into this world, we don’t need anything but love and nurture—basic survival fundamentals. Humans don’t need much, and FOMO can really have us living someone else’s idea of life. So it’s nice to stop and ask yourself what makes you happy and feels fulfilling to you. I gave myself the break and just allowed myself to connect back to my own thoughts and desires, to listen to my inner self and take direction from my intuition, and it led me to Bad With Phones. The rest is, as they say, history. I say that if you’re lacking direction or purpose, tap into yourself. Be still, keep it simple. Help the people around you by helping yourself first. 

You mentioned that you had a near-death experience that led to a two-year hiatus. How did this event change your approach to life and music, and how is it reflected in ‘CRASH’? 

Almost dying really does shake things up, and for me, it just made me want to go harder and get my ideas out from my head and into the world. It was a humbling experience and also very miraculous, a

reminder that life is precious and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. We should live to our fullest while we have it and make the world better by healing ourselves and accepting who and what we are. 

Your label, Don’t Sleep, is celebrating its 5th anniversary. How has working with them influenced your music career, and what does being part of this label mean to you?

DON’T SLEEP is a great outfit; they’re supportive and understanding with their artists and genuinely just want to see the best outcome for them. I haven’t met a team that’s small but works hard and as efficiently as the guys over at DS. I call it a Think Tank more than your traditional type of label. It’s oozing with ideas, and everyone is extremely talented at what they do. Most importantly, their passion for music and pushing culture forward is contagious.

Follow Bad With Phones on Instagram

Words: Tara Choudhary