MANRAZE - "Push The Boat Out A Bit" Page 2
by Martin Popoff

And where does the band's odd spot of reggae influence derive from? "Well, in England, we grew up in a big West Indian community," explains Paul. "We grew up listening to ska and early reggae stuff. It was really big over there at the time, because like I say, the West Indian community is strong, and they had songs all the time in the charts. It was massive in the early '70s, in the UK. We grew up listening to that stuff and we were kind of influenced by that, you know? And around the punk time as well, reggae was really big as well. All the reggae bands that came along were huge, for punk. And all the reggae bands were kind of brothers in arms with all the anti-racism stuff. For concerts, they pulled together bands, like reggae bands and punk bands, and so we grew up around that stuff. You can't help being influenced by it really."

"I think it's like a progression, really, from the first album," continues Cook, examining the two record catalogue thus far. "That was when we were sort of pretty new, obviously, with what we were doing and the sound we were creating. This one is a lot more grounded. We know what we're doing a bit more, I guess, in which direction we're going and how far to go. We're a bit more on the case now, as far as our sound and songwriting is concerned. The first album was a bit of a learning curve, really. Now we know where we want to go."

Finally, by the end of all this, I was proud of myself for figuring out how to spell Manraze, but I still didn't know where the name comes from... "I don't know either, really, to tell you the truth," laughs Paul. "Basically, Phil and Simon were getting this project together before I joined, and they kind of agreed on the name before hand. I think it had something to do with Fay Wray, who was an actress. She was in King Kong or something, and it just kind of worked out around that. And the Surreal thing... people constantly got us mixed up with Man Ray, the photographer, all the time, so the name of the album, Surreal was just a play on that."

OK, still don't get it! But maybe we'll have 'er straight after our scheduled chat with Phil Collen later this summer, as the album sees launch and a likely touring schedule take shape.