Get to know the singer behind the hit single “In My Head”.
Currently making waves in the underground R&B scene is multi-instrumentalist Peter Manos. With his own signature style of intimate indie-meets-R&B, Manos’ lyricism encapsulates his own real-life experiences and marries them with his unwavering love for music.
The LA-hailed singer dropped his debut EP “Do You Turn Red?” today, showcasing ominous synths and crooning vocals. Having amassed over 300 million streams on his debut 2017 hit single “In My Head”, we sat down with the rising star talking creating the EP, new music and what’s next.
Check out the interview below…
You chose to work with Sam Ricci who has engineered for SZA and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Jeff Ellis to mix – who has done much of Frank Ocean’s music, and Dale Becker to master who we know from Khalid, how did those collaborations come about? What do you feel they each brought to the process? At a time when so many artists are making their music at home, you chose a more traditional route here, can you tell us about that?
I met Sam about two years ago and we became good friends which makes creating great music so natural. It’s all about chemistry. It’s also all about working with good people. Talent is obviously important, but ideas are born out of relationships. Don’t love working in larger rooms with a lot of people, but I do love working in smaller spaces with people that I trust. I love working with people that have a similar process that also brings good ideas. My relationship with Sam feels like so much more than just a structural work relationship. It’s organic, personal and honest. No one wants to feel like they can’t express an idea. That’s dumb. No ego. It feels like we make music together the way it’s supposed to be made, and it takes a friendship and the same outlook to complete good work. It’s all about relationship for me. The reason that Jeff came into the picture was through my friend Blake Slatkin who’s good friends with Jeff. Blake programmed the drums on “my mind” and introduced me to Jeff, someone I’ve admired for a long time. His mixing genius really showed up in the process and we got to become friends during it as well. Dale mastered the album and has a close working relationship with Jeff. I really appreciate and respect the process that Dale has in mastering songs — a personal approach as well. Like I said previously, it’s all about relationships: Sam, Blake, Jeff & Dale; these guys are incredibly talented but more than this, they are my friends.
What made you decide to create your new magazine When I Close My Eyes You Glisten? Which publications do you love that impacted this choice?
This magazine feels like a physical and tangible way to experience the music I’ve made. Photography and design, including books and art in general, have significantly impacted my process of music making. It’s really important for me to expose myself to other mediums of art besides music, and creating this magazine was a way for me to share my creative taste with the world while also being inspired by the creative work my friends and I were doing as I was making the music.
You work with two creative collectives, Mouthwash and Sturdy, how did you end up a part of those teams? What do you feel is most important about these relationships?
The relationships with the people that work at Mouthwash and Sturdy have come from friendships. Having friends with similar tastes are hard to come by. Both Mouthwash and Sturdy are so special in their unique ways, but I’m thankful for the personal relationships turned collaborations I’ve been able to do with people that, at the end of the day, are just some of my best friends.
How did growing up in Dallas influence your music? Did it change when you were in college in Nashville? How about now that you live in LA, what has changed?
Growing up in Dallas definitely affects my music today in a lot of ways, but not necessarily because of the music scene in Dallas but more just because of the house I grew up in. My parents both have great music taste, so I grew up surrounded by a broad range of good music. My taste and influence transitioned a little bit and expanded once I moved to Nashville. I went from listening to good music to being around people who made good music. And living in Downtown LA has been a dream in a lot of ways, mostly because of how much the space around me has inspired my creativity. I also have just been able to surround myself with humans that I really respect living in LA, which has gone beyond influencing my music to inspiring it. Downtown LA is a special place to me. A lot goes on in the art community down here.
When did you begin writing, how did that come about? And how has that process changed now?
It just came natural to me. Growing up, I played piano and the guitar, and I was just drawn to it. I’ve always had a love for music and my parents were super supportive of my interest. My dad had a Takamine that I played until he gave me my first guitar years later. My mom’s friend loaned us an upright piano for me to play and I taught myself. This passion shifted into my wanting to write songs, which didn’t really begin until I was in high school honestly. I was always putting together words and music. Along the way I developed a process for writing. That process has changed over the years because I’ve learned new ways to say and convey feelings that I’ve felt or wrestled with for a long time. I’m constantly learning and discovering how to create a different dialogue and come up with new ways to say things. I want the way I am voicing things to come across in a way that people are taken back by. I’m not there yet. I hope I get there. I’m working on it though. People consume so much music every day. I really want to take the time to grow and make the music right while still keeping up. I want what I give to people to last.
Describe your style, in your own words?
I think that I have a special and unique care for the things that I make and the people that I make them with. It’s important for me to connect with the people I surround myself with, mostly because I want to be around people that I trust, people that push me to be better creatively and personally, and people that are excited and really just eager to be a part of building something real, uncommon and special. I want to be humble, driven, kind, honest, and personal. I’ve said that a couple times lol
In 2017 your debut single “In My Head” amassed 300+ million streams, what about the song do you think resonated so well with people?
I wrote it in my dorm room, and even though I was particular about how I wanted it to sound, I just had no idea it was going to amass that many streams. I think it resonated so well with people because when I wrote it, I was being honest. When I listen to that song now, it feels like a younger version of me, but I think it’s supposed to, you know? It’s exactly who I was when I wrote it in 2017. It’s incredibly special looking back at something that was so true for me and also true for so many other people. I think that most people found my song through Spotify, which is a platform that has been super supportive in my career so far.
Previously you have shared that “Do You Turn Red?” was you taking a step outside of an isolated, alienated time period you were in; what was happening in your life that made you feel this way? How did you handle that time and then pass through it?
The isolation really stemmed from a season of my life that was heavily centered around transitioning. I had just moved to LA from Nashville, originally thinking I was only going to be here for a few months. I lived in two random Airbnb’s for my first six months here, a relationship I was in ended, and simultaneously my music career was moving in a direction I’d always hoped it would. But it can be all the more isolating when experiencing new kinds of movement in your career while also trying to figure out new friendships, a new city, and just adjusting to a huge life-change at the same time. I think that’s why the people I work with now and want to surround myself with are so important to me and my process.
This latest music and artwork is all about collaboration it seems, your best friends, roommate, and brother all participated and contributed, have you always worked that way? Who else would you like to work with in the future?
Yes, I definitely think that collaborating with people that I know and in turn know me and spend time with me on a daily basis is really necessary to working in the way I want to. Being around people that know my taste and see eye to eye with me creatively is what (I hope) makes the art come across more personally. I really want what I produce to connect and inspire other people, and I think that working closely with people that know me well helps that happen. Even though my close-knit circle is made up of people I collaborate with frequently, I’m always open and interested in working with different people across different mediums. It is special to work with people I already know so well especially for the first body of music I’m putting out, and I want to continue that moving forward. I’m also excited and eager to bring others into the picture. There are people I want to work with musically but also on other creative spectrums like making clothes, creative design, and video. On a larger scale, I have dreams of working with artists like Dev Hynes, Justin Vernon, and Toro y Moi. In my ideal world I’d have King Krule produce my album, maybe have James Blake program some drums and synths and get John Mayer on guitar.
Globally we are in very unique times, how has being under home stay orders impacted you? How have you dealt with being unable to work with your regular collaborators?
I’ve been really fortunate enough to be able to make everything from home for the most part, and also live with someone that I work and collaborate very closely with. Because the people I work with are also my close friends, it’s been an ongoing dialogue throughout the stay at home order, which I’ve been lucky to be able to have!
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians and fellow visual artists?
For other musicians — First, figure out what you want or need to say. Then take the time to figure out how to say it exactly like it is felt or experienced. Also, realize when something is done. For fellow visual artists — Moodboard, collaborate with other artists, watch movies, take photos, explore as much as possible, and communicate with a diverse group of people.