The idea of idolization and worship of a fabricated image couldn’t be farther from Idoru’s anti social media mentality and repellant attitude towards human brain-drain. Raised in Detroit and a born traveler who has lived across the US, Idoru’s music has a driving pulse with a toughness that pulls inspiration from the euphoria of a free mind and the depths of the bubbling subconscious void. After gathering a lifetime of experience by means of raw curiosity and experimentation, Idoru is ready to declare her presence and make her sound known as an up-and-coming artist. We caught up with Ash to talk about early raving memories, the music scene in Detroit, her label Manta Recordings and plans for 2022.
Hi Ash and a very warm welcome to We Own The Nite! How are you today?
Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to chat with you guys. Another crazy day in LA, so I can’t complain. Hopefully you all are well!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your artist project Idoru, and your label Manta Recordings.
I grew up in metro Detroit, traveled and moved around to different cities and states, then followed an instinct to come to LA about 7 years ago. While I only started producing music a couple years ago, music has always been the most influential substance in my life. My Idoru project is kind of an experiment, not only as a debut project but because I am not using the typical social media platforms as a means to launch myself into the scene. Sounds crazy but if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s me. It’s a way for me to put my music out there by using different standards. I don’t have any social media accounts, not even personal ones, because I am a data privacy advocate and I simply don’t see the current platforms having a place in the future. Disclaimer – I did sign up to Twitch this year to learn how to DJ, though! Manta, on the other hand, has had and will maintain a social presence – I plan to make sure that Manta artists have a voice in the social atmosphere without a doubt. As for the label, I really want to carve a unique path for Manta, putting out sounds from indie dance to electro and dark disco. We are off to a great start with big releases from our favorite artists and collabs with Grammy-award winning artist, Latroit. It’s an honor to work with these artists, and I’m super excited about Manta’s future.
What’s your creative vision for Manta, and how would you describe the style of the label’s output?
I’m fascinated by the unknown future we are facing and that totally influences the creative vision. Uncertainty is a breeding ground for imagination. Technology, AI, the crypto movement, environmental doom, privacy, philosophy – all of my favorite subjects affect the creative output and choices Manta makes. Quite a few of Manta’s past releases have a cyber-futuristic style which resonates with all these ideas floating around my head. Combine that with my favorite musical influences – from 80’s disco and funk to EBM and indie dance – and you get a serious curiosity of mixing different genres together. I see Manta working with new and established artists that break the rules of so-called genres, and that naturally gravitate towards being a little weird. But, to keep it simple, the music we put out just has to move your body.
What was the motivation behind setting it up?
I make music that doesn’t necessarily fit perfectly with a ton of other labels, a pretty typical origin story in that regard. Sian initially set up the label as a place to release music that was slightly off-brand from Octopus, a place with freedom to go more electro or disco or synthwave, even. I want to take it from there and provide a launchpad for artists who are creating records that fall somewhere between DJ club tracks and timeless dance tracks that travel within and beyond club dance-floor sets.
You had an amazing release out in October 2021 from British duo Maximum Love. Can you tell us about the release and how this came about?
Absolutely. Maximum Love is a long time favorite duo of mine and Sian’s. Funny enough, we actually got to know each other quite well through hours gaming in VR. ‘Sometimes’ has this dreamy 80’s vapor-wave vibe accompanied by their usual genius for writing transportive melodies. To be quite honest, there have been days I listened to Maximum Love records all day on repeat, this song included. After having some releases with Latroit already, we knew his trailblazing pop background would be an absolute smash for a remix on this track.
We’re obsessed with the remix from Latroit, and we see that he’s released on Manta previously. Have you known Dennis for a long time? How did you initially meet?
Sian introduced us a couple years ago, and we clicked right away based on our shared roots in Detroit. Sian and Latroit met a while back at a Roc Nation event and have worked on multiple projects together, including the past Manta releases.
Do you get particularly involved in the creative direction when it comes to artwork and content creation for the label?
Yes, we act as a team and handle all of the artwork, videos, and photography in house. I really wouldn’t approach it any other way than hands-on. That way Manta will always have a recognizable look that naturally fits our aesthetics.
Please can you talk to us about the music scene where you grew up.
I grew up in the Detroit area, which is totally renowned for it’s raw, experimental sounds no matter the genre. It’s also the US birthplace of techno. People from all over the world and the states have traveled to experience the underground club scene in Detroit. How many places can you take friends from another state and run into people they know? That happened the last time I visited City Club, a famous goth/industrial club from the 80’s that’s still running parties today. I guarantee anyone with stories clubbing in Detroit came to know and love the dirt floors and dripping ceilings in the abandoned buildings. There was a voo-doo in the experience, it entranced you on the dance floors. The music scene was a total life experience, and I’d be willing to bet it still has a very tight-knit community.
Any early raving memories or stories you can share with us?
I have to say, I really miss the out-of-hand dancing. I actually spent most of my raving years in Cincinnati, Ohio – another amazing place for music. I saw my first chiptunes show, complete with 3D image-mapping on cardboard boxes, maybe 13 years ago at this really cool, medieval looking venue called The Mockbee. People were totally losing it to this kid playing music with an old gameboy. Nowadays, I see far more people getting lost in their cell phone screen than getting lost on the dancefloor.
Back to Manta, are there any other artists you’re releasing that we should be keeping our eyes on?
Definitely. We are sticking with a small roster of artists that we are keeping close to us at the moment.
What else do you have coming up? Any exciting solo projects or touring you can talk to us about?
I have a couple more one or two-track EP’s nearly finished, while putting my first album project together in the background. I’m super excited to focus a little more on the visual aspect that goes with putting an album project together. Pretty soon I’ll also be releasing a remix from one of my favorite artists, so I’m completely stoked for that.
Thanks for your time Ash!
Idoru – Hesteresis EP is out now via Manta Recordings