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At Ragged CULT we are always looking for creative talent. So when we were presented with the chance to interview Manon – a creative, photographer, zine maker, exhibition curator, art school graduate and DJ – we were ecstatic. Check out our interview with her below.
Who is Manon Williams?
“My name is Manon Williams and I’m 18 years old from Wales; never bothered with going to University, either. I started my career at 16 by launching a freelance photography business and setting up my own string of solo art exhibitions whilst at art school.”
Tell us how you first got into music?
“I first got into music through my mum who used to play Boney M records every Christmas. That’s my earliest memory of listening and engaging with music, I was around 14 when I decided to pursue music further via purchasing my first 5 records at Sister Ray’s in London. They were: The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow, The Doors’ “People Are Strange”, The Sex Pistols “Live at Ivanhose”, Pil Part I and II. From this, my mum had given me her collection of music which included original records by The Clash, The Stranglers, The Rolling Stones, and The Specials.”
Do you have a favourite band or genre of music you consistently return to?
“I don’t really subscribe to one genre of music, but I rarely listen to anything current. I think new music is very ingenuine and bland. I often go from listening to Post-Punk to Mississippi Blues music, Ska, Rocksteady, Garage Rock and 60s Psychedelic. But, mostly bands like The Specials, 13th Floor Elevators, The Rezillos, Delia Derbyshire, The Pleasure Seekers, The Monks, The Fire Engines, Spacemen 3, Scars, The Cramps, Jesus and Mary Chain..stuff like that.”
What is the music scene like in Cardiff?
“It’s boring and disinteresting. I think in general a lot of people oversell it, though. It’s very generic at the minute. There’s no really interesting bands or places to go, but Cardiff is divided into the Techno/Drum N Bass scene and the Indie scene. Womanby Street is good for the Indie scene. There’s a growing underground scene that I’m more a part of with my collective, ‘No Future’, Lumin Library, Blue Honey Night Cafe. So, I think I’ll just build on that instead.”
Was the photography an extension of your love for music?
“Yeah, 100%. I wouldn’t have pursued Photography if the link with music wasn’t so evident. I knew I was interested in music but never really knew how to develop it further than listening to music. So, once I started learning about Photography, I just began going to gigs, asking for press passes and now I’ve photographed for the BBC, Festival No.6 and TATE Modern.”
What is the MMBH photography award you won last year?
“That was an award by the Martin Martino Benevolent Fund. I won the ‘Photographer of the Year 2017 Award‘, and received funding to build a film studio and darkroom lab.”
Who is the favourite artist/band you photographed?
“My favourite band I’ve photographed has to be The Jesus and Mary Chain. I photographed them in Birmingham on their most recent, ‘Damage and Joy‘ tour. Prior to this, I’d only heard the album but I was instantly taken by it. On the night, I decided to only use film which, is always a risk because film is far more sensitive to light than digital cameras; I wasn’t even sure that I’d get any shots. The ones I did get are really grainy and dark which fit with the sound of the band. It was also the loudest gig I’ve been to so far.”
How did you get involved in Radio Platform?
“I got involved with Radio Platform through presenting on Radio Cardiff. I’d been a presenting for a few months and heard about the opportunity. So, now I present my own show on Radio Platform once a week, called No Future which falls under my collective. It’s a mix of Post-Punk, Punk, Psych and Garage.”
Can you explain to our readers what Radio Platform is, and does?
“Radio Platform is a youth-led radio station based in the Wales’ Millenium Centre. It’s first online broadcast was last year as part of Wales’ Millennium Centre’s first ever ‘Festival of Voice’. The aim of Radio Platform is to give a voice to all young people.”
As the Founder of “No Future” zine what was the idea to start it?
“I wanted an outlet for my opinion, artwork and to share a different side of music. Launched in November 2017, ‘No Future’ is a bi-monthly zine, drawing inspiration from the zine cultures of the late 70’s and 80’s. It was created after a growing disinterest in conventional music magazines and named by the perverse lyrics of The Sex Pistols’, ‘God Save The Queen’. No Future aims to provide an alternative view of modern-day music focusing on interviews, reviews, playlists, suggestions, poetry and artwork that provoke and intrigue its readers.”
Do think there is a shift towards young people eschewing mainstream media for a DIY/punk ethos instead?
“I think there is, but only young people who share in this desire to create. They’ve become so disinterested with the vulgarity of modern life that the people who are creative have found outlets to share their work that can be seen as ‘DIY’. The idea behind Punk is still relevant where you have young people who have drawn inspiration from the 70’s Punk scene and contextualised it in various ways.”
What’s in the pipeline for you and your work?
“The 15th of this month, I’m DJing a Psych set at the Blue Honey Night Cafe, Cardiff. On the 23rd, I’m showing my current Photography series and selling Issue No.2 of the ‘No Future’ Zine at the Lumin Library Exhibition and Journal Launch; the 3rd of March, I’ll be at the ‘Zine Fair’ at Three Doors Up Gallery, and on the 18th of March, I’ll be doing the Craft Fair at Little Man Coffee Co. After that, I’ll continue building on my zine, doing the radio show, and DJ sets .”
Wow. She may be still young and only entering adulthood now but Manon has achieved a hell of a lot already; she proves that you don’t need to go to university to be successful. Take pride in your craft, develop it and go out there and get it; make a name for yourself. Check out Manon’s photoshoot below.