Rapper Manillio thinks “I’m tearing my belt a little”

Rapper Manillio thinks “I’m tearing my belt a little”

After the high-flying album “Kryptonite” Manillio from Solothurn now presents “Plus Minus”. Here, too, he plays the brooding thinker – a role that suits him well.

Solothurn rapper Manillio. (Photo: Boris Bürgisser (Zurich, November 20, 2018))

The transition from night to day is a magical moment. It is at its darkest just before the sun rises, the birds are silent, even in busy cities this is a moment of calm. At the age of twenty one experiences this transition after exit. Somewhat drunk and mostly very happy. Staying until it gets light is a party maxim. With «Bises Hell Werden» by Manillio, one could assume from the title that it celebrates the hedonistic attitude to life, this immoderate, excessive one. But Manillio doesn’t. For Manuel Liniger, this moment of enlightenment is the light at the end of the tunnel, picking yourself up after the crisis. Manillio is no longer twenty, but has now arrived in his thirties. You go to bed earlier and you even enjoy the excess a little more moderately. Or as he himself raps: “In the past, some rom dinn gha, let’s talk about the rum climate” – somehow life becomes more serious.

The album sounds like an autumn day under a blanket of fog

But it is not very surprising with Manillio. There was always a certain melancholy in his rap, the themes were heavier than elsewhere. “Actually, I always thought you wouldn’t notice that I’ve gotten older,” says Manillio, “but to be honest: Of course, a lot changes. My view of the world is not the same as it was when I was twenty.” The Solothurner is sitting in a café in Zurich, his new album is called “Plus Minus”. For a long time he brainstormed what his album could be called. It was an up and down production. “Rodeo” was therefore an option, or “roller coaster”. “The energy is between the two poles plus and minus, I liked that,” says Manillio.

The title fits. His new album may be his most fleet-footed, but there is no plus without a minus with Manillio. It always sounds a bit like an autumn day under the blanket of fog. The sun struggles at the top, sometimes it gets through, sometimes it gets swallowed up. “I can write less well when everything is good,” says Manillio. He has always had a penchant for melancholy, and you can hear it. He wasn’t going to pretend either. You appreciate the positive much more if you also know the negative. Manillio remains Manillio. Even after his album «Kryptonite», which went straight to number 1 in the charts, and performances at almost every major open air event. Sometimes, Manillio says, it all annoyed him a bit, when he could barely shop in his hometown of Berne without thinking, “Are you looking at me right now? Are they talking about me or am I imagining it?”

The success allows him to fully focus on the music

Liniger is not the type who likes to be in the center away from the stage – he makes up for that in the song “Psst”. He is more the observer who stands a little to the side. One with a good sense of humor. And an ambitious creator: “I’m incredibly self-critical.” The normal writing process is to write two lines, then spend two hours thinking about how bad they are, then do the same thing again. It was also the mentioned ups and downs in the album process – together with three producers. They tinkered with beats, raised sounds a semitone and added a transition. You can feel the sound aesthetics of the record. Overall, however, it has become very heterogeneous. Sometimes an almost happy trap beat beats, eventually a dense depressing soundscape slowly surges forward. “I can follow my gut when it comes to music. The common thread is my rap, my voice,” says Manillio. What he doesn’t want are rap songs that are completely ordinary, so he mixes all sorts of influences in, including pop stuff, but without losing the rap character.

The fact that he is his own biggest critic has the advantage that he has not felt any pressure from outside. “There’s no guarantee it’s always going to go up,” says Manillio, “but I’m not afraid of a crash with this album—it’s just too good for that.” He laughs it off, but he’s pretty sure he’s serious. He wishes it could go a step further, he says, with the main stages at open air shows at good times. Because: «Success happens. You can’t just talk that away.” The success also gives Manillio the opportunity to put music completely on the map. “But I wouldn’t see it as a defeat at all if it ever changed,” he says. This serenity that you can hear in every line of his, can also be felt in the conversation.Manillio does not stubbornly seek success, he makes it as easy as possible for success to find it.

Perhaps that is why «Plus Minus» has not become just another «kryptonite», but a testimony to further development. A rather clever record that strikes a nerve with many of his generation’s peers. It’s about constant availability, lack of content and always something to argue with yourself and the world. “I only know e gueti Zit ha and chli meh sii from niemer / D’Wäut river fescht a üs aune, mig üs z’wenig on the belt,” raps Manillio in the incredibly good “24/7”. A crisp beat stomps along. You can also dance to it. Until it gets bright. At least.

Manillio: Plus Minus (Universal) is released on November 30

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