Meet Ian Zunich of Mandmelang
I Started making music about a little less than a year and a half ago when my friends started a jazz funk band called Stereotype Threat and i wanted to join in but i was skeptical at first and they convinced me to start an instrument and that ended up being the keyboard. I slowly went through the process of learning basic theory but only through jamming and improvisation shoutout to Mariano Camacho and Nate Rinkel amazing musicians seriously taught me everything. After a short time of just messing around we found a gig for ourselves and decided to take it not having any songs written, so we took it in high gear and wrote about 7 songs for a set and practiced everyday day in and out. That gig went pretty well and we continued to gig for awhile we even played at the house of blues. with new band members in and out as time went on.But then after about 7 months of gigging and always selling tickets the band decided to disband with having a lot of new members summer came and alot of the band went in different directions and we decided to cut it off.
With the band disbanded now i found a lot of time thinking about what i was gonna do with my time and my hunger for music creation. i always loved that 70s genre and the way it made me feel at the time i already and a lot of records in that genre but in my pastime i would always go to hip hop no matter what even before the band or any of that. So i looked to my inspirations and that included MF doom at first, and also tribe called quest those were the first ones. I also had listened to a lot of Odd Future and Joey Badass. During my time in the band i did buy a sequencer and started to plug it into my keyboard and make beats like that, more house and always quantized this started my love for beats but it didn’t complete it, the sounds were dull and i needed something more. I began to plug the sequencer into garage band and make simple beats like that with no samples only garage band default sounds with plugging my keyboard into garage band as well and combining these elements. This pretty much started my portfolio of beats that i could save and turn into mp4 or .wav and email.
Now that i had beats set in my in my mind with that being my only focus i could now turn to my love and that was the 90s R&B vibe. i started to research on youtube and documentaries who Dilla was and who J Rocc was and it really started to inspire me, Thats what i was looking for! Crate diggers showed me a lot and the many documentaries on Dilla and Madlib showed me a lot too. Then quickly after watching all these and spending weeks studying i realized sampling was the way to go and that was where i was going to take my creative lust. Now after knowing what i needed to do i went to my friend Nate again, who owns an Sp-303, and asked him to teach me how to sample a record. I was very set on sampling vinyl and not just youtube because of my inspirations. Once getting to his house in downtown LB we smoked a spliff and started listening to records, I remember we listened to this hawaiian cultural kind of music and Nate was explaining to me what he looks for in records and what kinda sound you want for chops and how that can change the vibe of what you are listening to. After listening and talking for awhile we found the part we wanted and took an 8 bar loop and chopped it up i fell in love with the process. I watched him in silence and observed him playing with the chops in a different order and sequence the drums before i knew it we had a beat!
I went home and all i could think about was getting my hands on a sampler and making my own sequences, i started to make some lofi stuff on my sequencer and cut some mp3 tracks to try and mimic sampling but i needed a real sampler. I started to hit up Nate everyday trying to get some more sampling experience and he was always cool with it so i would go everyday and we ended up posting a lot of tracks on my soundcloud of beats we made that contained chops and keys from both of us. Finally after months of going to his house and making due with my sequencer i got my first sampler off of offer up, it was an Sp-202. I brought it home and instantly wanted to get going but i was far from that, i look in the back of my shitty best buy record player and it has no RCA jack! Also my SP did not come with a power supply only batteries and would turn off every 30 minutes being on but i made due. I made a beat or two like that with it hooked up to my mac and i wanted more. I went to my friend adams house and saw he also had a record player that was very low budget but, included an RCA jack on the back and i needed it so i proposed a trade for mine and he was down. The next day i go over and we trade and I’m ready to sample vinyl now i was so excited. Now all i needed was apogee sup[ply and that was gonna be easy i found an appliance store that had it and got it. After buying more cords and some research i was ready to go. From there over the course of pretty much 2019 i had acquired Logic Pro X, released two beat tapes Piff Loops V.1/2, and was very happy with them all chops some loops and not a lot of experience mixing it was all by ear. Christmas came and i was quickly ready to move onto a new machine with the SP having very limited memory and sample time i researched and found that i wanted to get an Mpc2000xl. My parents and some relatives pitched in and i was able to get one. It sat in a box in my living room for a month and i looked at it everyday i even opened the box and rewrapped it the first day it came i had to see it. Christmas 2019 came and i got it thats all i cared about, christmas night i stayed up the whole night making beats and learning the ways of the Mpc. It was challenging for me since all the SP beats were sequenced on Logic but i was determined to know the ways of the machine. For awhile all music was done through headphones i had no monitors and i liked it like that but once i got some monitors it really changed the game. From then on I’ve been making beats with it everyday since.
The road has been far from smooth in the beginning i just faced challenges of not knowing what would normally be sampled and what the legends would do. Also just not having the best mixing skills has always been a downfall for me.
I think that no matter what music is always gonna be a frustrating path at some points and you always just have to push through thats what makes it amazing and beautiful it can teach you so many life lessons along the way and mold you as a person. Everything you go through outside of music has an effect on it and every life decision makes you ask yourself “how can i fit my music into this” and i think a passion like that can really heal someone mentally. Ive always had anxiety mainly earlier in life but music really helped me through that and it continues to do it. Another struggle I’ve gone through was the obvious one and thats just not having the money for getting all the records i wanted and forcing me to sometimes go to youtube just because i really prefer the vinyl feel.
I also feel at the same time that i am still truly going this journey and its very early. Im still trying to make this a career and be able to express myself for a living. I struggle also with selling beats because i always feel like you cant put a price on music but its weird because alot of the beat business revolves around that plus My family always tried to convince me to sell beats but i always give them away for free.
Now that I’ve had experience with the SP i feel like it helped me understand the fundamentals of sampling and it opened my eyes to what sampling really is. Now i take that knowledge and use it with the Mpc and i feel that having that past experience with a less powerful sampler helped me now. I make beats mainly to study to or do regular tasks i always enjoyed those lofi stations on youtube. Making beats for me is like therapy and i always try to make it a point to put whatever emotions I’m feeling into that music, i feel like the greats really put soul into it and didn’t make it about how complicated the beat was or how much skill was shown it was all about putting yourself into it and sounding good. I feel like I’m known for having upbeat tempo beats. I can see my background of jazz and funk coming into my beats a lot by my sample selection and what i choose to chop. Thats what i feel sets me apart but at the same time all those upbeat funky beats always have filter and somewhat of a lofi feel just to make those drums stick out and slap more.
Alot of my beats also are purely instrumental but I’ve been working on trying to make them have lyrics as well also by sampling. Having a beat that a rapper can hop on and having a beat that can be just listened to by itself is kind big to me because if you have singing already thats sampled it doesn’t always leave room for a rapper to get on it so it just depends on the intention of the piece. I feel that what i take most pride in would be the way that the beats are made, no splice or anything like that its daily samples i have found in a record or youtube. Drums wise i use mainly drum packs from other boom bap guys like Cookin Soul and Le Kreaem just to name a few. Those drum kits really help the vibe because they already slap super hard so its all in just the mixing which i mainly do on the Mpc itself and then just compress on logic and other small things. For voices in a song, that maybe i took from a movie or something, i mainly add them after by running them through the Mpc and then placing in logic.
What sets me apart from other artists i think is the sequencing methods i use which are all unquantized and the swing that the beats feels when you listen to it. Its a combination of funk, jazz, lofi, and old school R&B and i think that the vibe it gives isn’t just give hip hop vibes immediately as soon as you listen to it. I like to think that instead of it just being a beat its layers of sound and contains depth with a combination of chop skills that don’t exactly feel chopped. i try my best to make the chopping the least obvious and have it sound more like a true piece of original music. I hope to be known for having music that is relatable and can help others in some way.
Success for me is a hard subject because at the end of the day if I’m alive making music thats pretty successful to me. Of course being able to make money and be known is also successful but in reality music is a part of me and i cant take away the fact that i love to make it for me just because i want to make money from it. The next Marker I’m looking for is really just to spread my music as far as it can go and share it with as many people as possible i feel that once it is out there and my plays are up that people will start to notice that my music has meaning and is a very important part of me. Another goal for me would have to be to get way more records and expand my knowledge of music overall, i often will spend times trying to enhance myself as a listener and always keep that skill. listening to a lot of music can help you 100% in the way you make it and perceive. I believe that being able to sit down and listen to an album all the way through is a skill and I’m always hoping to increase the knowledge i have of that skill.
All in all my main goal is to continue what I’m doing and just go up from here. Im still very early in my career and i have so much to learn from others and my peers. Im always looking to meet new people and collaborating so hit me up and we can get something goin!