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Middlesbrough-based prog-rockers Manfrog have been busy bees trying to bring something a little different to the Teesside music scene. They have just released their single, Drown and are performing at Goosed Records’ Sound Surgery at Sticky Fingers on Thursday 19th March and so we decided to find out a little more about them.

Who are you?
ManFrog – the name was actually from another band when we couldn’t think of a name.  Steven (the lead singer) had a look on a random band name generator and this came up.  The band at the time didn’t like it but when we got together in this band the name was put forward again and we all agreed it was unique and suited us.

What is it you do?
We play a progressive-rock influenced style of music. Where we are not in the traditional style of progressive rock we maintain some of the roots and fundamentals.  There are no 25 minute keyboard solos, but we attempt to aim for interesting music where the music changes within the same song. Time signature changes and altering tempos mid-song are what we are about.  The aim is to create engaging rock music that’s different from a lot of the local music scene, but trying to hold on to our love of progressive rock.

How long have you been doing it?
We’ve been together for just under 2 years. We formed in July 2018 after the other bands we were in broke up. Andrew and Steven had been in a few bands together and were looking to do something, Steven also knew a couple of other musicians whom he’d been in a previous band with, and we all came together.

What inspires you?
We love rock music in general. The band has very eclectic tastes, some of us love Pearl Jam, Faith No More, Alice in Chains, some of us like some of the more heavier music like Metallica, but running through it all we all have a love for progressive music.  There’s a love of everything from Pink Floyd, Yes, Porcupine Tree, Tool, Dream Theater, Queensryche, Iron Maiden and even some of the more obscure in that style like Leprous, Opeth and Soen. We can draw influences from anywhere though, where we would develop a simple riff into a much more complex and engaging song, something that excites us and that we both love to play and the audience can get something from.

Tell us about your music.
As we say we love progressive-style music, we tend to write songs that have a hook/catchy riff and build around it, but we add to it and build it into a much more complex affair, where sometimes the song will transform into something that’s very different from the start.  Most of our songs will be 5min at the least, but we’ve also written some songs closer to 10 mins, which incorporate a lot of time signature and tempo changes. Having 2 lead guitarists gives us a lot of flexibility with our lead work, sometimes we’ll switch between who is soloing and some songs we’ll write a lead harmony in the style of old Iron Maiden or Queensryche, there’s no ego here and it’s all about what’s right for the song.  We all have our creative input, songwriting usually involves someone with an idea and everyone building on it, seeing where the song goes is a lot of fun, if the song feels like it is a goer we run with it and see where it leads. There’s no one way in which we compose songs, so some of them will have a lighter side to them like our first single Drown, it’s based on a clean chord riff and a heavier chorus, whereas our second single (due for release soon) Revolution Lost is slower but heavier and is much longer as it incorporates different aspects like a longer breakdown in the middle before the solo, our final single due for release in April is Rise, this is different again as it is much faster-paced, but we’ve added the 2 guitar solo into it where we each have our own solo and then a harmonised dual solo, it has a much more different dynamic than the other 2.

What have you got coming up in the future?
We have quite a bit coming up in the next few months.  We’ve just released our debut single ‘Drown’ on all digital outlets and we’ll be following that up with ‘Revolution Lost’ in the next few weeks and then our last one of the 3 ‘Rise’ at the end of April.  We have a couple of gigs in that time, one at Sticky Fingers with the guys from Goosed Records in March and we will be playing at the Wensleyale Festival at the end of May for the very first time. We’ve got a video for ‘Drown’ coming soon too, we’re just doing the final edits, so we are hoping that will be released by the end of March.  We are finalising some gigs further North for the summer, but we can’t release those details until they’re all done, we’re very excited about it all though so we’d encourage people to look on our social media channels for the gigs as and when they are announced.

Where can people find out more about you?
We’ve been pushing our outlets lately and we are active on Facebook (manfrogband), Instagram (@manfrogband), Twitter (@manfrog4), and we actively update our website (www.manfrogband.com).  If people want to contact us they can message us directly through those channels or email us on manfrogband@gmail.com.  We have our own YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music pages too with the releases on there as they come out.

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