LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
Manou: Ivy Gold kind of got together by coincidence – OUT OF THE BLUE. We never planned on a big project or anything like that at all. Sebastian and I had done a pre-production of a bunch of our songs. We initially just wanted to see what our songs sound like and that was it in a way. Once recorded, most of the songs actually sounded pretty good and the idea came up to send the demos out to a few people and see what happens. Tal Bergman works with Joe Bonamassa and of course we listened a lot to his music as well as to Tal’s & Joe’s band Rock Candy Funk Party. So one evening I took all my courage I had inside of me and contacted Tal asking him if he would be willing to play drums on our songs. And guess what – he liked our music – believe me – I was thrilled! From that point on we knew we had something special going on – totally out of the blue we had a project and we decided to put a great band together! Our friend Kevin Moore joined right after and then I asked my dear friend Sari Schorr to help me find a great keyboard player – that’s how we found the awesome Anders Olinder from the UK. And then I had put together a very special cosmopolitan band with members from the US, the UK and Germany!
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
Manou: Well, we actually postponed our album release a few months. In fact, we had a hard time to decide what to do last year when the pandemic hit the whole world! In the end, we decided to release our music despite the current problems. The music represents a certain time, mood and vibes when we wrote the songs and we felt that it fits the current time perfectly!
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Manou: Yes, we were really really busy last year getting everything ready for the release! Cutting videos, putting marketing plans together, setting up all social media channels, dealing with contracts and much more….
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it mean to you, why did you choose this genre?
Manou: Our genre is contemporary bluesrock. Well, the blues goes very deep. It’s all about emotions, feelings, the struggles of life and so much more… it’s the best genre for me to put all my experiences, thoughts, feelings into. And of course the rock is the fire and the inner strength never to give up!
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
Manou: The creative process varies of course as writing music is not a linear process. Sometimes I have something on my mind and bits and pieces of lyrics just arise. Oftentimes Sebastian comes up with some great guitar riffs and plays it to me. Sometimes there is a melody right in my ear, sometimes not. At times the lyrics are the beginning. So it’s a mixture of it all. After we have some sort of a structure, we go into the fine tuning of the song…. and finally into the recording.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
Manou: We are all very happy with our debut album. It was such fun to work on the songs, record them and see everything evolve! We have great songs, great lyrics and the production is awesome. One thing I would love to get into more on the next album is the choirs. I love harmonies and choirs. So that’s something I would like to dig deeper into.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Manou: We are really happy and thankful that we got great press feedback for our debut album and as well from our precious fans that bought the cd/vinyl. It is always great to read messages, reviews and comments after you have been working so hard on the album. When people get the vibes and our true and honest intention – this is really fulfilling!!
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Manou: With Ivy Gold we haven’t had the chance to tour yet due to the pandemic. We are hoping to hit the road very soon. Nevertheless I’ve done live performances with other projects that I have done in the past.
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
Manu: The album was just released on March 12 (UK on March 26) so we are still very busy with the promo work, doing interviews, sending out our bundle packages etc. And of course we are also looking into the live booking trying to set up a tour as possible.
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
Manou: I write the lyrics for all the songs that I sing. That’s really important for me because I have to feel the words, they have to have meaning to me. So I tend to write about things that influence me, things that I think about, worry about and laugh about. It’s all very personal. That’s how I bring the energy across later on in the studio.
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
Manou: Sebastian is the composer and the one who arranges the songs & the production.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Manou: Oh that’s hard to tell. I love both – it’s just a different setting and a different way to work. I think that after you have been in the studio, working on every detail it is a great thing afterwards to go on a tour, meet crowds out there and to connect to the audience. That’s almost like when a kid is waiting for Christmas to finally come!
LOMM: What first got you into music?
Manou: I really liked Sheryl Crow a lot many years ago and got inspired to take vocal lessons. Initially I took classical lessons for a couple of years which gave me the opportunity to work on a good singing technique. I considered singing somehow to be my own personal therapy, a way to stay healthy and in a positive overall condition. So over the years things developed and I started to participate in different gospel projects, local bands and finally ended up writing my own songs with Sebastian.
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
Manou: I love the freedom to be able to express everything that I have inside… and the best thing is that when people like that!! It has become really hard nowadays to be a musician. There are not many people anymore that are willing to buy a regular CD, so bands have to tour as much as possible. That is really tough and I wish music gets the value again that it deserves.
LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Manou: I would get rid of the streaming platforms.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Manou: I make the music that I feel is part of me, part of my personality and being. So my music is a part of me and then of course it is our audience, our listeners that I really care about. I love the audience, it is my intention to give something to the audience through my music, my lyrics, my vibes and energy!
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Manou: Considering that “Six Dusty Winds” is my debut album, this is for sure my greatest accomplishment especially after the have gotten so many great reviews from major magazines.
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Manou: Well, if I had one free wish, I would love to work with Joe Bonamassa once in my lifetime 🙂 I love his music, style, voice and his natural way and down to earth way of being!
LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
Manou: Oh there are so many great artists that I would love to tour with….of course with Joe, but I love Glenn Hughes, Richie Kotzen… we’ll see what happens with the live situation. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can do gigs soon!!
LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
Manou: Elvis, Michael Jackson, Joe Bonamassa, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles
LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
Manou: I am hoping to reach out to the listeners heart and soul when listening to our music. Music is the universal language and it builds bridges amongst people, cultures and all races – music spreads so much good energy and brings a strong message across – I would love it when the fans pick up on the positive emotions and vibes.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
Manou: As we are a completely independent band we really appreciate every support we get from the crowds!! We take care of everything by ourselves because we didn’t sign to a label even after getting a few offers. We wanted to stay true to ourselves and be in charge of our musical path. So it would be great if all the fans and readers of this interview out there support handmade and honest music by buying our cd, subscribing to our social media channels, spreading the word and simply enjoying our music!!
Thanks so much for this interview!! And of course for sharing and supporting Ivy Gold 🙂 we really appreciate it a lot – it means a lot to us!!
Lady herself: Thanks as well J