Manipulate Interview


MANIPULATE - NYHCI had the chance to interview Iván of Dead Wrong, Unforgiven, Skarhead, and most recently, Manipulate. Iván grew up in Connecticut during the golden years of CTHC (in my opinion) and now lives in New York doing vocals for Manipulate.

How did you get into hardcore?

The first music I probably got into was Hard Rock/Metal. The first album I fell in love with was Guns N Roses Appetite for Destruction. From there on I got into more Metal stuff Like Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth. Slowly from there, I started checking out punk stuff. I got Nevermind the Bollocks and slowly made my way deeper. I let a friend borrow a video of something, cant remember what. But he lost it. So he had a bunch of tapes laid out around his basement. The one I was immediately drawn to was Black Flag Damaged. From then on I discovered Minor Threat and the Misfits and it steamrolled from there. I took the Black Flag tape as part of repayment for losing my VHS tape. Best trade I ever made.

What was the first show you ever went to?

1994 at the Tune Inn in New Haven. I had a friend and his older bro was a HC kid. He used to rave about Integrity all the time, so he took us to see them.

That must have been a crazy first show to go to!

The bands that I remember seeing that day were Jasta 14 and Mindwar. Funny thing is, Integrity had a penchant for no-showing shows. SO we left early. I guess they wound up showing after we left. At the time I didn’t know any better but a couple years later I realized it was probably my only chance to see the OG lineup and was pissed! They are one of my all time favorite bands to this day. The show was pretty crazy. I’d never seen anything like that up close.

You grew up in CT, what was your favorite memory here?

Theres so many. I grew up at a time when CT was really on the upswing and it seemed as if most shows were packed. Seeing local bands like Dismay, Higher Force, Follow Through, Fastbreak, Tenfold , Death Threat, and the rise of Hatebreed was pretty awesome. CT was a very violent scene when I first started going to shows. Seems like there were fights at every show. Its weird though, after a while you get desensitized to it. I remember being outside of the Tune Inn and some dude getting smashed in the head with one of the mini baseball bats. It was pretty crazy shit. My other memories that stay with me are the friendships and the traveling to shows. That’s the stuff you hold on to. Also, the way that I can hear a song and it just takes me back to that time. I’m fortunate I came of age in CT during that time.

It rules hearing you talk about CT like that. I am a transplant here (Moving from Chicago about 4 years ago) and CT has so much history in hardcore.

Yeah CT gets thought of as an after thought because its between NY and Boston but its had a pretty good impact on HC. Big example is I always hear guys older than me talk about the Anthrax club that was in Stamford and then Norwalk. Legendary venue that I missed by a couple of years.

As you have seen hardcore progress over the years what changes have your seen for the better and for the worse?

As far as changes that are good, I’d say the availability of the music and the way you can obtain it is good. When I first started going to shows, the internet was in its infancy. I remember some records that were out of print for example, Side By Side, the first SOIA record, all the Youth of Today stuff besides Break Down The Walls. If you didn’t know any older guy who had that stuff or didn’t have a local record store you could go to, you weren’t gonna hear that stuff. Now it’s just a click away. That is cool but on the flip side you might not appreciate it as much. I remember when I would find something that I had been looking for and it was exciting. You put in the legwork and there was a pay off. Honesty, I have a few gripes but for the most part, I’m not gonna be that guy that says things were better in my day. They were better for ME. I was 16 and it was exciting. A kid who’s 16 today will have the same excitement and it will be just as exciting to him. I’d say one thing that bothers me about today compared to the 90’s though is that Socially conscious HC is kinda non-existent. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t a picketer or even vegetarian or shit like that. But certain bands and people made you aware of stuff. I think HC today isn’t really aware as much.

Let’s talk Manipulate, what bands do you guys draw influence from?

I’d say NYHC and a good dose of Thrash Metal. I don’t write any of the music but that seems to be the vibe we have touched on.

What would you say the main themes of your lyrics are and what is your process of writing them?

I’d say personal feelings. I wrote 2 of the songs, “Look The Other Way”, and “Living Lie.” Look The Other Way is about people I’ve known who once had it together and let certains things ruin their stature. Living Lie is just about the fake. These are things that are staples of HC. We just try to put our twist on it. I didn’t write lyrics for the other 2 songs so I can’t speak on them. I just try to find a subject or thing that inspires me and take it from there.

What does 2014 have in store for Manipulate?

Well we are playing Keystone HC Jam 2 in PA at the end of this month and that should be cool and we are on United Blood too. We are siked on that. We will record a 7 inch at some point and it will most likely be released on Reaper Records. Hopefully play as many shows as we can. Its hard because we are all older except Ricky, who is in Backtrack and Lucas are drummer. The rest of us are mid 30’s so we cant do much.

What is the most memorable show you have ever played with any of your bands?

Well my old band Dead Wrong got to play CBGB with Hatebreed and American Nightmare and that was pretty cool. Manipulate recently played with Judge and that was pretty great. Oh another show that I just thought of, I got to play Colombia with Skarhead. My father was from Colombia and I have a brother who is older who has never been to the states who I had never met. So Ezec from Skarhead knew this and he offered to take me to Colombia with the band and to be the 2nd singer so that I could meet my brother. We played a couple of really cool shows. Kids down there were really excited to see us and I got to meet my brother. It was great and I’ll never forget it.

Last question: Are we ever going to see a Unforgiven reunion show?

Yeah, Unforgiven will play again. We were scheduled to play a couple of shows last year. The one show got shut down after a Jagged Visions set that got too wild. The next show we were gonna play with Death Threat in Milford got cancelled. I still keep in touch with those guys and we will definitely play again this year at some point. We may even record again too.

Shout outs

Shout out to the CT Brotherhood and CT Straight Edge that are still kicking around. Also, shout out to my DMS Fam in NYC and Nationwide. Check out that new Backtrack track record and also check out our drummer Lucas’s band Grudges.


Manipulate Bandcamp

Grudges Bandcamp


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