The Chronicles of Manimal And Samara is a UK-based duo. Their music is a lovely fusion between literature and Rock, Electronic and Metal music, as their songs have spoken poetry for vocals, over music that varied in heaviness and style over the released material so far. We will talk about their latest two released singles, ‘Deus Ex Machina’, released last September, and ‘Mata Hari’, released 2 days ago. We also had the chance to interview Daphne Ang, vocalist of TCOMAS. Click here to jump straight to the interview.
‘Deux Ex Machina’
TCOMAS describe their single as a “musical revival of classical literature’s greatest tragedy – the story of Oedipus Rex” and “an arresting sonic and theatrical experience of man’s perennial struggle between fate and free will.”
Honestly I didn’t know how I’d feel about listening to poetry over music. I am a fan of poetry, being a poet myself. And I am a fan of Metal (duh). However, I didn’t know if I’d like them together. Well, I loved the way TCOMAS did it in Deux Ex Machina. The music is catchy and melodic, infused with many elements and effects that add an epic feeling to it. I believe the main difference about this band is that if we miss a line in the lyrics, or the whole lyrics in some cases, from songs we’re usually used to listen to, it wouldn’t matter. But in poetry, the spotlight is only on the words being said. What I loved most about Deux Ex Machina and the Mata Hari as well is that the music was made in a way that the spotlight was on the spoken words, but at the same time, listeners still enjoy the beauty of the music.
Mata Hari is not a Metal song, but an Electronic one. Aside from the things mentioned before, I loved the beat of the song. Although it’s a far simpler song than Deux Ex Machina in terms of elements infused into it, it’s a song that you can chill at and maybe think.
We recommend TCOMAS to our readers. If you’re a Metalhead that enjoys literature and loves listening to tidily arranged words, this is your chance to enjoy both at the same time!
And here’s the interview we had with Daphne between the two releases. We hope you enjoy reading it.
Hello Daphne. How are you doing today?
I am very well, thank you! Bracing myself for another imminent lockdown here in London, here in the UK, but otherwise am healthy and in good spirits.
Oh, hope you and your loved ones stay safe. We will talk about your new released single, Deus Ex Machina. But first, how would you like to introduce your band to our readers who are learning about you for the first time?
We are The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara (TCOMAS) a female-male duo based in London, United Kingdom, consisting of myself and Andrea Papi. The music we make is very eclectic, it unites the disparate worlds of musical genres – blending rock with electronic, metal with techno. We also integrate poetry and theatre into our songs – with lyrics delivered as spoken performances.
So you released your new single on the 18th of September. How are you feeling about the reception this song received so far?
It’s been received really well. We’ve had good reviews, both from the metal community and from people who normally would not listen to metal.
Your approach to music is very different from the common music we hear. There is much more emphasis on the words of the poetry you are saying behind the Metal music. Do you believe this formula you created will be attractive for Metal fans?
I really don’t know whether it will, hopefully! We always try to push boundaries with every song we make, pushing away both ego and personal preferences in order to bring across the message in the best way possible, so we never stick to just one style. We both deeply love metal, but we will never conform to the expectations of musical genres.
In your released songs so far you are telling a story. One about the creation of the universe and another about King Oedipus. When you think of releasing an album in the future, do you imagine the album being a whole story, like an opera, or a concept album with all songs revolving around one topic?
We are releasing our first album as singles. The album, “Full Spectrum”, comprises 11 tracks lasting over 67 minutes. Each song has a different sound, and addresses different themes, each blending different music genres. What reunites the album is the full coverage of “Full Spectrum” of human emotion. Our wide coverage of musical genres is not coincidental, but with the intent and aim of taking listeners through the full spectrum of human experience – some tracks offer dark and grim reminders of mortality and the human condition, while others offer messages of hope and declarations of love – covering the full range of human emotion. Also, some recall stories of creation, while others imagine the world at its end….
That’s really deep! In order to get to know you and TCOMAS better, and because we’re nerds here, let’s play a game! Since you love visiting myths and history in your music, I’ll ask you myth-related questions! Ready?
Ooh yes, I love nerdy quizzes!
If you and Andrea were reincarnations of Greek gods, which gods would you be?
Andrea would be Hades (or Pluto if you prefer the Roman version), God of the Underworld. As much as I would like to be Persephone, and rule with Hades as Queen of the underworld. I think I would much rather be the female version of Bacchus or Dionysus, god of wine, pleasure, madness and ecstasy.
If you could have any mythological creature as your pet, which one would you pick?
Cerberus, three-headed hound of Hades for sure. Who would guard the gates of the underworld otherwise?
If you had to make the same choice Paris made, giving the apple to either Aphrodite in return for love, or Athena in return for wisdom and glory, or Hera in return for wealth and power, who would you give the apple to?
I would give the apple to neither of them. I think one of major flaws of classical thought and patriarchal society is the association of femininity and beauty with with womanly weakness, and because attributes like wisdom and political astuteness was considered a male domain, women who had those attributes were considered asexual, their beauty rarely commented on. Perhaps this is still the case in contemporary society. Why can’t women be both wise and beautiful and admired for having both attributes?
Brilliant answer! If you were a god in Olympus, would you side with the Spartans or the Trojans?
Spartans for sure. You just don’t get to steal someone’s wife and expect to not start a war for doing that (in those days at least).
If TCOMAS had to pick one song from the singles released to play in front of the gods, knowing that you’d be rewarded if the gods loved the song, and killed if they don’t, which song would you play?
I would probably go with “Atoms” to have a chance to be spared, as it glorifies the works of the gods talking about the creation of the world and criticises the actions of man with the decline of civilisation. “Deus Ex Machina” talks about mankind’s struggle between fate and free will as being subject to the wrath of envious gods, think we’d definitely be struck down and killed by Zeus for playing that in Olympus.
If you were Ra, and you could change one thing about how this world, what would that thing be?
Thank you for playing Daphne. Have you ever been treated in a sexist manner? How would you face sexist and what advice do you give to young people who face discrimination on daily basis?
I definitely have had my fair share of sexual discrimination, having grown up in Asia, and for being a heavily tattooed woman. But I would say to all women, know your rights as a woman, be it on the domestic front, or in the workplace. Know the law and know what your rights are, don’t be a pushover.
What is your most valued music-related moment from when you were growing up?
My love for music started with my dad. He’d introduce me to everyone from the Beatles to Queen, to Deep Purple and the Eagles. I was the official CD switcher in the car on family road trips.
Thank you for the interview Daphne! It was a pleasure chatting with you. Good luck for you and The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara in your future projects!