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Ase Manual aka the "most hard working man in New Jersey" dropped his debut project 'Gems' last month, marking the inaugural release of his new label, Like That Records. His hybrid sound, which lies somewhere between Jersey and European club music, sees him join the ranks of other producers from his home state who have been making an impression across the Atlantic, with the likes of UNIIQU3 and Nadus coming to mind.
Ase has also been kept busy programming nights on the East Coast of the US. Having been a founding member of the CLUBJERSEY Newark parties alongside R3LL and Arghtee, he now plays host and curates his own party in New York, Bounce Gallery, which has seen LSDXOXO, $JAYY, DJ Haram, Byrell The Great, Bassbear and other notable names in the underground US club music scene pass through its doors.
May 13th marked the release of Ase Manual’s debut project 'Gems'. Boasting feature collaborations with J Heat, Blanco, Young Luxenberg, Gianni Lee and Kieran Loftus – 'Gems' is undoubtedly a fulfilling listen from start to finish.
Featuring 10 original and very different tracks, the variation in musical styles is indicative of how Ase is looking to set the tone for future releases. Uncategorised and unlabelled – 'Gems' gives Ase the freedom to explore in the music yet to come.
We talked to Ase Manual and dug deep into his thought process and find out the inspirations behind his debut project.
Ase Manual: "One of my all-time favourite movies is Belly and I had it playing on mute in the background for the majority of this project. Few directors can capture so many different feelings and emotions on screen in such a cohesive way the way Hype Williams did."
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Ase Manual: "I’ve been getting more bookings than ever whilst working on the project and I think that watching people dance and vibe to music has been a strong inspiration to me. It’s not that the club in particular but the energy of people that really speaks to me."
Ase Manual: "I have grown an appreciation for fashion design over the course of the past year, and of all the designers, Raf Simons work has just spoke to me the most. I appreciate his taste for minimalism and reading up on his time at Chanel house really drove inspiration for the tape."
Ase Manual: "Fela Kuti inspired this project, from the drums to sound progression. Throughout making 'Gems', I listened to a lot of his records and watched a bunch of footage from his live shows. Peep: Fela Kuti's Water No Get Enemy."
Ase Manual: "Jersey Club will forever inspire my music. SBF, Gutta, and SJayy have been going off for a while now."
Gems' is out now.