Credit: Talisa Swanson

Portland-based art-pop project M A N E releasedtheir debut EP, Leo // Lib // Bull on July 23.

Prior to the release, the group shared several singles, including the R&B synth-track “Lot 34 {Bath Bomb},” the cinematic “Mood~Ring” which was filmed at Oaks Amusement Park, and the third single “Rorschach = Lux.”

Discussing “Rorschach = Lux,” singer and songwriter Sam Wegman shared, “this song has this kind of odyssey structure we’ve adopted from time to time in the project. It’s like three little songs in one package, delivered in sequential order. There are themes around waiting for your moment, wavering on if you’re in, out of, or approaching your ‘prime’, and examining + discovering what it is you might do well. There’s this involuntary response of self-security when you feel like you’re in rhythm with yourself.”

“Rorschach => Lux” is the third single from Leo // Lib // Bull following the cinematic “Mood~Ring” which was filmed at Oaks Amusement Park, and the R&B synth-track, “Lot 34 {Bath Bomb}.”

Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?

M A N E began as more of a songwriting + recording project. We (Jed + Sam) had been working on recording a record for another project  with Justin – who’s a producer & engineer – and as that project dissolved we were kind of evolving a sound along the way. I’d say for the first year or more we were working together we didn’t have a name, let alone any plans to play shows or roll out a live line-up. Gestating as more of a “recording” project meant we got to ask artists we love to lend their talents for certain songs. That led us to meeting Grace and Tony, who ended up rounding out what’s now our live line-up. The idiomatic meaning of our project name is, “the time it takes to grow ones hair long.” Which is to say there’s this sense of passage in the work. Almost a weathering.   

What does music and being an artist mean to you?

Making something that you might actually like.

What are some sources of inspiration for your lyrics and storytelling?

 Most of these lyrics are postured as conversations with the id. Introspection kind of points the gaze inward and provides agency to push the envelope. It’s really less linear storytelling and more capturing of moods.

Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?

That’s a revolving door. I think Vince Staples self-titled feels super future-facing. I hold Frank Ocean in pretty high esteem (who doesn’t, I guess). Dev Hynes, King Krule, Porches, etc.

Favorite activity to blow off some steam?

Can’t speak for all the members, running is mine though. We’re about 10 minutes from Forest Park – which is like the biggest intercity park in the US I’m pretty sure. So I try to get out on the trails and roll.

Tell us about your latest release and how it came about

Leo // Lib // Bull is M A N E’s first record out there, released via Literal Gold. It’s an EP, short + sweet, 5 songs. This work was kind of a flash in the pan, or reaction piece. We’d spent a bunch of time on a record (like a year) and basically scrapped it. Then we got together on these 5 new tunes and decided to make it happen in a long weekend. We recorded LLB in 4 or 5 days. It’s kind of touching on existential stress and inquisition. I think we’re also low-key a little goofy and that peeps its head out in brief moments.

You seem to be fusing rap with R&B and other musical genres. What inspires your sound?

We all love hip hop and R&B. I think at our core we’re more of an “Art Pop” project. Our major inspiration is making shit that we actually like, which sounds simple, but I think contemporary music is kind of nebulous or something. So we’re inspired by being authentic to ourselves, while being reactive to the world as it rolls out. 

What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?

I’d say that answer would be different for all of us. I run or try and change my surroundings. I’m always kind of concerned about getting too comfortable – which I definitely tend to. So unearthing that unmoving self.  

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?


Your style is very original and elaborate. How do you take care of your aesthetics?

Well first of all – thanks! I think we’re just seeking match the vessel with its inhabitants. I know that I personally want folks listening to feel welcomed into something, and still not be certain what it is. I think maybe aesthetics are a reaction to that.

What was the most daunting moment in your career so far?

I can’t in good faith say our career has really happened yet. I think in making music it’s been how, and why, and what do we release amid the climate of the world right now. Really grappling with this question of, “should we be taking up space right now?” I still don’t know the answer.

Photo Credit Sam Ortega

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

Some things – magic things – are meant to stay whole. When you look at the pieces, the magic goes away.

Where do you think the music and entertainment industry is headed after this past year?

I think hyper-normalization means that we’ll end up on stages and touring again. It’s hard and confusing. I also think that this time is a generational trauma that will take time – if it’s possible at all – to heal from.