Kareful and Mannequin have once again combined forces to bring us a dark and chilly new single: “Adele,” out via Liquid Ritual. This isn’t the first time these two names have appeared side by side in recent history. Last year, Liquid Ritual brought these two producers together for multiple historical events, including the first-ever wave music showcase at The Amsterdam Dance Event.
We were lucky enough to connect with Kareful and Mannequin online and have a conversation about their history, making history, as well as what’s in store for the future.
If you’re a fan of the wave scene… then you know it’s time to pay attention.
In Conversation with Kareful and Mannequin:
Ambur Masen, The Electric Hawk: Hi there! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us at Electric Hawk! Could you please get us started by introducing yourselves to our readers?
Mannequin: “Hey, thanks for doing this! My name is Guy, and I make music under the name Mannequin.”
Kareful: “Hello! I’m Kareful, a wave DJ and producer since 2014, best known for co-founding Liquid Ritual and Dektora. I am also one of the first wave artists to tour the music globally; I promoted some of the first-ever wave shows and try to provide a general voice for the community.
I always saw my role as an ambassador for wave music–I still do!”
AM: Congrats on your collab dropping. I was wondering–what’s the story behind “Adele?” Is there anything in particular that makes this one special?
Mannequin: “It’s actually a really interesting one. Kareful and I had been chatting for some time, and it was the first time we had ever met up in person. I went down to Brighton, and we just clicked straight away. We’ve been really close mates ever since. We’re both in the same year at school and have a lot in common; it felt like we’d been amigos for years.
So for me, ‘Adele’ is what started our friendship, which is something that I value much higher than music. We were hanging out before making any music; at some point, I showed Kareful some tracks I’d started prior to coming down, and that one jumped out
From there, we just sat down and figured it all out.
It has more meaning when you find that spark in person and can share that moment of ecstasy when you make something that is a bit special.”
Kareful: “[Like Mannequin said], we first connected during the pandemic. Lockdown was a lonely time for most people, but I used the time to discover a lot of amazing wave artists and started making plans for when things calmed down in the world.
Mannequin came to visit me in Brighton, and we jumped in the studio, and ‘Adele’ flowed out. The process was very natural. We were very excited [about] making it, and I think you can hear that on the track.
I still feel that excitement when I listen to it two years later.
We were quite slow on releasing it; we both were patient. [But] we knew it would come out when it felt right, and that time is now.”
AM: That’s really beautiful, honestly. But what’s up with the name? Is it “Adele” like the popstar, or–? What’s that about?
Mannequin: “The working title I had before coming down [to visit] was ‘Adele,’ so it was set in stone already, I guess. I tend to have obscure names for tracks just to be different; it’s just a thing of the moment. It’s nothing to do with anyone!”
Kareful: “I had no idea where the title came from — I never asked why.”
Stream “Adele” by Kareful and Mannequin:
AM: This isn’t the first time I’ve seen your names together recently. Last year, you two went B2B at the first-ever wave event during ADE, right? How did it feel, making literal history like that?
Kareful: “The whole build-up from [us] meeting, making ‘Adele’ and then playing a fair few shows in 2022 was crazy—a real roller coaster. I’m a strong supporter of Mannequin’s music and am always calling him to tell him he needs to do this and that with his music…
He’s fantastic, and I see a lot of potential in him, so I’m always pushing him as hard as I can.
Mannequin had never played any shows before we met; I basically forced him to do it. I didn’t ask him if he wanted to play; I told him he had to! [laughs]. He’s actually a natural performer–a real showman, to be honest.
I sometimes am too focused on DJing to hype the crowd up or dance, so going B2B with Mannequin is great because he’s jumping on tables, hyping up the crowd, while I get to focus on mixing. He’s a great hype man!”
Mannequin: “It was pretty surreal; it was only my second show under this alias, so to be able to play at ADE with that lineup was incredible. We didn’t even plan our set; we just bounced off the crowd.
Kareful is an amazing DJ, so it gives me more confidence when we’re up there together. To be able to enjoy that moment. To test out some tunes (‘Adele’ being one of them) and get a feel for the reaction.
It was really special. All you need to do is surround yourself with great people; the rest is easy.”
AM: How did that experience in Amsterdam compare to last year’s two-day Liquid Ritual “Conference” in London? Are they even comparable?
Kareful: “They were both amazing but very different. The London shows were special because they were the first shows back after the pandemic. The music had grown a lot online [then], but we didn’t realize how popular the sound had gotten in the real world, too.
The shows sold out very quickly and attracted a lot of international fans. I can’t quite remember how many Americans flew in for it, but it was a lot.
AM: I lost track, too. But you know I was one of them…! [laughs]. Please, go on.
Kareful: I think it was probably the first time a lot of the community had actually met in real life, too. Meeting [many] people I had spoken to or worked with online for years for the first time is always special.
Aside from that, the shows were fairly different. The London shows were a homage to the grassroots of many UK bass genres. A dark, sweaty basement in London, no visuals or décor–just good music and great people. It reminded me of the dubstep documentaries you can watch on YouTube.
The ADE show was different; we now know there was a demand for this music, so we went bigger and better: big visuals, lights, smoke, the production was higher…
ADE is special because it’s the biggest electronic music industry conference in the world.
The Amsterdam show was more about showing the music industry what wave is about.
I think with everything that’s happened since that show, it’s clear that the mission was a success.”
Mannequin: “I couldn’t compare them, to be honest; that was one of the best weekends of my life. There is something special about bass music being played in dark, dingy clubs in London.
I think growing up raving in England, in those environments, imagining being up there on the stage, and then being able to do it for real was an important milestone for me.
It was really intimate, and the first time I’d met any of the artists, bar Kareful & Eone.
The energy and excitement in that room were palpable, and I met some amazing people.
I think what’s important is that each event is a unique moment in time and an individual from one another, [making] them both unforgettable experiences.”
Experience these historic moments:
Amsterdam Dance Event:
AM: Given the fact that we hit all of these huge milestones last year, like ADE, as well as North America’s Pantheon festival, where do you see wave headed in 2023? –and beyond?
Mannequin: “I think with the hands it’s in, there isn’t any limit. I see glimpses of the work and effort behind the scenes through my friendship with the lads, and they work tirelessly to bring it further and further.
I’d personally like to see more on the UK festival circuit. We’re all desperate to get out and play, and we have to tip our hats to the people facilitating it; they’re a really amazing bunch of humans.”
Kareful: “Well, the real-life scene is developing globally, and a lot of new promoters are popping up, and the shows are doing well! So, I think 2023 [will] be the year where a lot of new people discover the sound.
This month, I leave to tour with Australian wave producer vowl., for his first European tour! And we’re planning a lot of exciting stuff, but I’ll reveal more when the time is right. I have a strong feeling the scene is going to double, or even triple, in popularity in 2023.
Listening to the music online is one thing–but experiencing it live is totally different.
That’s when you become a super fan like the rest of us!”
AM: Lastly– what are you both most looking forward to this year?
Kareful: “Personally, I’m most looking forward to releasing a lot of new music! I took a bit of hiatus from my Kareful project while I focused on the shows and the labels. But I recently switched to Ableton, which made me feel like I was learning to produce all over again!
I stopped being so hard on myself because I felt like a beginner again–where everything is fun, and you’re just impressed that you’re able to make music at all. The secret is that I already knew how to produce, so the tracks I’ve been making are incredible!
I’m starting with ‘Adele,’ but then I plan to drop music regularly from there. I have a lot stacked up and am making new music all the time. I’m currently putting the final touches on my next EP–which is coming very soon!”
Mannequin: “Getting more music out! I feel like it’s time I can get out of my shell a bit. Kareful & I have a bunch of collaborations to come, too, which I’m excited about. We’re both on the same software, so it’s a bit easier to make more music. Maybe a joint EP?
I know Kareful has some of the best-unreleased wave tracks yet to come out, and everyone should be very excited [about] that. I hope everyone continues to grow and succeed.”
Want to follow the lads’ advice and get to a wave show pronto?
Find more information about the vowl. tour that Kareful mentioned here.
And if you’re looking for new music, keep up with our weekly Spotify Playlist, Fresh Hunts, or follow us on Twitch. Whether it’s the newest drops from Kareful, Mannequin, some old school, or underground—we just want you to hear it.