“I used every chord of Casio”-how we made Manchild with Neneh Cherry | Neneh Cherry
Neneh Cherry, singer and songwriter
I saw Cameron McVeigh [producer and now husband] One day he suddenly asked me: “Why don’t you write songs? You can write songs!” I used to work at Rip Rig + Panic, and the songwriter Gareth Sager was very creative about everyday things. Manchild is the first thing that comes to my mind.
When I walked up the stairs of the double-decker bus, I thought of the first verse. “Is it the pain of drinking/or the sinking feeling on Sunday?” I think I have a hangover. When I got home, I started to arrange music on the Casio keypad using the “Auto Chord” setting. I don’t know what I am doing.Be my dad [late jazz trumpeter Don Cherry] Hearing it, he said, “Wow, it’s kind of jazzy. You have seven chords in this poem!”
The people in the song exist, but they have nothing to do with them. “The car can never seem to work/when your girlfriend is late for a date.” I just imagine a person working nine to five in the garage, but with dreams and feelings, and an unfaithful girlfriend. I am exploring the more fragile aspects of men from a female perspective. Some men’s sensitivity is okay, while others are based on three levels.
Manchild is a very important song for me: it is where I find my own style. I like the simplicity of the original hip-hop beat with choreography. When we finished recording in Eastcote Studios, Tim Simenon from Bomb the Bass scratched and came up with a great electronic hook.
Our way of working is very domestic: we work a lot at home, there are children in the studio, and I have a baby under my arm. So we walked into the radio station. Before we discussed the idea of the video, director Jean-Baptiste Mondino was sitting outside our little Fiat Panda house while listening to Manchild’s music, While watching my fabulous Jamaican neighbor wearing a gold chain sweeping the house. My other neighbor is doing laundry. Then I opened the door with a towel on my head and a baby under my arm. Jean-Baptiste said: “That’s it! That’s the video.”
Cameron’Booga Bear’ McVey, producer
I started out through punk, but ended up working with Stock, Aitken and Waterman on the PWL label. We will play trivial pursuits with people like Kelly. All PWL artists are good, but none of them are real musicians—unlike Stoke, Aitken, and Waterman, they really understand their shit. The music media sees them as enemies, but they are more punk than punk.
My partner Jamie Morgan and I made an embarrassing single Morgan McVeigh called “Looks Good Diving”. I just met Neneh, so side B is an early version of Buffalo Stance, with a different title and Neneh rap. A year later, a suitable version became her first single. This is really an iconic track. The simplest thing is to do five more Buffaloes, but that would be despicable, so Neneh did something completely different to Manchild. This is why her career really took off.
We met all these company throwers who are so heavy on us
I remember copying her chords from Casio. As a result, she used all the chords available on the machine. Producer Nellee Hooper just taught me how to sample, so I added a snare drum. Nellee then obtained 3D from Massive Attack to write Manchild’s rap part. Will Malone did all the string work on Fairlight, but we left Casio when we finished the recording. It sounds like your leg has been sawn off, but its background is really good.
Everyone likes Manchild-except for Neneh’s American record company who refused to release it. They want another Buffalo Stance, which is already ranked third in the United States. They say that Manschild is not white enough, or black enough, and not enough left field. We met all these corporate throwers who are so heavy on us, because if you mess up in America, they will declare war on you. When I was on the plane for the first meeting, the plane broke down over Greenland and we had to turn around. I use it as a sign. Except the United States, Manchild has been hit hard everywhere.
Like to try Catch lightning exist A bottle of Martin Terefe’s 40 years of composing music at Eastcote Studios Published by Thames and Hudson Press. A limited edition of 550 signed copies available from eastcotestudios.com
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