With the hype of his “Wonderment” album still burning from its release last week, we caught up with Manu Zain to delve deeper into this unique collection & more.

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“Wonderment” seems to be a deeply personal album. How does it reflect your own life experiences and artistic growth?

The inspiration comes from the feeling of wonderment by the ever-present beauty in nature. I feel completely exposed in that one specific moment.  I try to focus on one thing in as many daily routines as possible. When I have breakfast I no longer look at my screen, when I walk the dog I no longer have my phone with me, etc.  This created more and more wonder in perception, ‘Wonderment’. Where you observe with full attention

Also Inspired by Ensõ.  Ensõ is Japanese for circle. The Ensõ is a symbol of focus, energy and unity. Painting the Ensõ is a widely practiced meditation exercise in which you place the circle on paper in one flowing movement with full attention.  I increasingly approach my music projects as if I were sketching an Ensõ.

Your music is known for its tranquil and immersive qualities. What techniques or instruments do you rely on to create such a serene atmosphere?

I’m trying to blend analog (piano, guitars) and digital instruments more and more. Where I thought Digital sounded too clinical, I am discovering more and more techniques such as Atmos recording that evoke an organic feeling. In short, the instruments and the digital synths seem to breathe more. gives a little more depth.

How did the single “Thoughtfulness” pave the way for the album, and what does it represent within the broader context of “Wonderment”?

The opening of the album with a prelude where, in addition to synths and sequencers, I also play the theme with Cello while you hear the waves of the sea in the background is actually representative of the entire album. These layers of sounds I used in all the compositions on the Album.

As a producer and DJ, how do you balance the demands of live performance with studio work, particularly during the creation of an album like “Wonderment”?

I spend most of the time in the studio. I studied at the Bass at conservatory, but I hardly ever play with bands at live events anymore. In collaboration with DJs, I provide the music and leave the performance to DJs more or less as a ghostwriter.  There are plans to perhaps play the album in a live setup.
What role do you believe your music plays in the listener’s life, and how do you hope “Wonderment” impacts your audience?

I hope to put listeners in a state of Unwind for a moment. Escape from a lot of stimuli for a while. during a walk, running, in the car on the beach, etc.. those moments for yourself…

The album has a clear emphasis on natural sounds and their connection to our existential experience. How do you capture and integrate these sounds into your music?

it is quite easy to capture soundscapes with a recording device… on the beach, in the forest, at the metro station…etc… then I use such a soundscape in the intros, interludes and outros to add some imperfection, wabi sabi in music composition.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic philosophy that appreciates the beauty of imperfection, transience and incompleteness. It celebrates the natural cycle of growth, decay and finds beauty in things that are simple, modest and unpretentious

 “Wonderment” has been described as introspective and transcendent. How do you personally connect with these themes, and how did you convey them through your music?

The natural world is always humming and we are the natural world. We calibrate ourselves to the world through sensations of geophonic, biophonic and anthrophonic sounds. Our senses are inextricably linked to our existential experience, our feeling of being in this exact place, right now with these particular Sounds. These layers of sounds I used in the compositions on the Album.

Can you talk about any specific influences or artists that have shaped your sound and style over the years?

People who make sculptural compositions, like Magical Ólafur Arnalds, blending classical elements with analog synths and can transform this melodies & atmosphere into an Techno style with Kiasmos.  Another example is Tycho, Scott is originally a visual designer and is able to visualize the atmosphere and sound with Tycho… Also blend analog with digital.

Also Jakob Ahlbom, Ben Bohmer, Lycoriscoris, Thomas Newman, etc..

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians and producers who are looking to create music that is both personal and resonant with a wide audience?

it is impossible to think, let alone feel, for another. believe in your own composition and release it.. empty mind is an open mind.  You almost never regret the things you have done, but the things you have not done. What’s meant for you always arrives on time.

“Wonderment” is out now and available here.

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