DJ Spotlight: Slater Manzo
We first heard of this Slater Manzo character when he popped up on our Spotify playlist one day – and we haven’t turned back since. His brand of smooth, dance-y, funked-up pop is just as good for warm summer nights under the stars as it is on crisp winter walks under the moon. His sound is easy, breezy, features gorgeous vocalists, and is local! We hope to hear way more from this up-and-coming producer and music maker (who also happens to be handsome as hell).
Tell us about your name. Is it your real name?!
Slater is my real name! It’s not my first name, though, but I prefer to go by it. I can prove it with my ID if needed.
You’re a producer here in the city. How did you get into this?
It started as a hobby when I was 12 years old, when iLife was a thing, and I was begging my mom to buy it so I could use GarageBand and iMovie. I remember making shitty songs from loops that Apple gave you and sitting there loving every minute of it.
How is life as a producer in Toronto for you?
It’s a hot mess, and by “it” I really mean me. I won’t lie: I’m someone who didn’t get the industry at first. You gotta stand up for yourself and believe in your work for others to believe in you really, and when I realized that, life was kind of like, “Well, now you’re putting in the right effort, here ya go!” I’ve been starting to play some gigs. This summer I played at Union Summer twice, which was an absolute blast. I’ve also been hired to do sound design for some short films and most recently TIFF boombox, so that’s exciting. I’m hoping 2019 has more in store!
Do you have any mentors?
Yes and no. I’d never really call them mentors because they’re my good friends. They constantly inspire me, and they’re all so diverse in their arts. Austen Payne is an incredible visual artist in the animation field, currently working on their own show. Brandon Mints is another music producer I met at music school, and we constantly push each other to do our best. Kyle Kofsky has been a director on many projects he’s included me in, and it’s amazing seeing him in action. Nefe is this incredible singer; she’s told me so much about the music industry and indirectly taught me about finding my own voice. While it’s not necessary, having friends who inspire you can be beneficial when you’re an artist.
What do you bring to the music scene here or globally that the world needs right now?
I bring a vibe that I feel speaks for the millennial generation (not only that but all my stats point to that age group). We’re frustrated, kind of depressed, but still willing to push through it and be happy. With my music, I put a lot of my emotions into my work. It’s usually a good reflection of myself as a whole, and what’s caught me by surprise is how much people relate to my work.
Give us three words that describe your musical styling.
Sexy, melancholy, funk. I’ve named a song after these words because someone described my music like that. It stuck to me like glue.
Give us one word to describe the mix you’ve made for us.
#groovethesadnessaway. Do hashtags count as one word?
Musical pet peeve?
“Bro, you wanna collab?” It’s not that I’m against working together on music. I’ve just finished “Treadin’ the Water,” which was a collaboration with Lea Keeley (in RuPaul voice: Now available on iTunes). I find a alot of people say this, then never follow through – or expect you to do the work for them.
I’ve got too many good songs of my own and by other artists to just have one secret-weapon song. But let’s be real: “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada will get anyone going.
Other producers or DJs in the city that you love?
Double shout-out to my man Brandon Mints, cuz he’s got some seriously good bass house tunes. Adam K is definitely on my list – just figured out he was from Toronto. I love Chromeo and A-Trak; they’re brothers from Montreal. I listened to a lot of Deadmau5 growing up so always will appreciate him. A good up-and-coming producer is Fevra; he’s got some incredible hip-hop-style beats.