Magazine Sixty Music Feature

Magazine Sixty Interviews James ‘Harri’ Harrigan (AKA Manakinz)

James ‘Harri’ Harrigan is no stranger to the ones and twos. Widely respected for his long-held residency at Glasgow’s Sub Club with his Saturday night ‘Subculture’ party alongside Domenic Cappello. On his Manakinz production project, Harrigan joins forces with fellow Glaswegian underground DJ Max Raskin, and they are soon to drop an album entitled ‘Model Citizenz’ on new label of the same name comprised of eight cuts ranging from headsy Alfos chug, to deep down dubby disco, to Detroit-tinged basement filth. Here we catch up with this underground legend and talk about his forthcoming music, showroom dummies, and who he thinks is making great new music. 

He would know…

How are you doing Harri? Have the January blues kicked in yet or are you feeling alright?

I feel good. Pretty mild weather for January in Glasgow, can’t complain.

Where are you today and how are you spending it?

I’m at home, and it’s Sunday, so I may go to a pub quiz at my local.

Where abouts did you grow up in the city? Where are you based these days?

I lived in Springburn North East Glasgow till I was about six or seven. Then East Kilbride about eight miles from Glasgow. I now live in the west end of the city.

What do you love about your fine city the most?

The people are great.

What do you think are the characteristics of a true Glaswegian?

We are friendly and funny.

You’ve been a man in music for a long time. Did have any other jobs along the journey that were into for any amount of time?

I served an apprenticeship as a draughtsman and worked in graphic design.

You’ve been playing at the mighty Sub for over 25 years. How did you initially get the gig?

My older brother’s friend Ewan Dale, was a resident at the Sub Club, and he asked me to stand in for him for a couple of weeks. This was around 1985 or 86.

You must have been playing elsewhere before

Initially, I started a small night in Aberdeen with my pal Jim Rennie in the early 80s.

What sort of stuff were you playing in your early days?

Soul, funk, rare groove, and reggae mostly.

Were you mates with Dom before the Sub?

I met Dom at a party in an old castle near Loch Lomond. I was already working at the Sub Club at this time.

Whose idea was it to call the night Subculture?

I’ve no idea whose idea the name was. Before Subculture I had already been DJing at the Sub on Saturdays for four years with Slam/Soma guys our night there was called Atlantis.

Why do you think Sub has managed to go on for so long when so many other clubs have closed along the way? I know it got a bit close in the pandemic. What’s at the root of its longevity?

I get asked this a lot, to be honest, I’ve no idea. Since I started there, there have been several owners, all of them have been pretty cool. It’s like a nice extended musical family.

At what point in your personal DJ journey did you think, I better start making music?

A local pub/club owner Mark Goldinger asked me around 1992 if I wanted to remix a band that he managed.

Did you start because you wanted to, or did you succumb to the pressure ‘you have to produce’ to be a DJ nowadays?

It had never really occurred to me until Slam guys Orde and Stuart started making tunes. Mark asked me if I wanted to have a shot, I did and enjoyed it.

What was the first record you made?

First thing I ever did was a remix of a track called ‘Can’t Stop’ by Frendzy. I made it with Mark’s in-house guys, Shug Rankine, and Ross Campbell. They later taught my son Jasper (James) when he did his degree in music tech.

How long have you known Max Raskin? How did you both meet?

I first met Max at an early T in the Park in the early noughties. He presented me with a small jotter he had made specially for me while he was feeling cosmic. I didn’t realise till we started making music together and he said, do you remember a young guy presenting you with a jotter of psychedelic ramblings? I said yeah, I have it right here in my drawer. We had been in the same loose group of pals for some time before he revealed this 😀

Tell us a little about Max’s background and what he’s been up to over the years?

Max and myself have floated about in similar orbits for several years. I played with him a few times when he was resident at Sunday Circus. We both live in the same part of town and share similar tastes in lots of things.

What was the moment you decided we will be Manakinz?

I’d not made any music for a few years, and thought, I need to get the finger out. Max lived nearby and we shared a similar sense of humour, and Max has the skills I lack. We clicked immediately. We both liked the whole idea of mannequins, but somebody already had that name, so we just changed the spelling.

Who has the manakins then? One of you must have had some as they actually do look like you both. Ha!

My friend Jennifer found them in a shop in Florida, She found a whole heap of mannequin heads, I asked her to try and find a couple that looked a bit like us. She did and then brought them over. They’re in my house.

How many releases have you had out as Manakinz?

I think we’ve had about six or seven EPs and a couple of remixes. I had to google that. Actually eight now.

On listening to this new album, it’s got a very nostalgic feel to it. Did you have any inspiration for the tracks or are they just what you were feeling at the time?

We pretty much just bowl along with whatever we are feeling that day, anything really from about 90bpm to 126bpm usually.

Have you made a lot of music together then?

Yes, we’ve made loads, well over a hundred tunes.

What are your thoughts on the state of ‘new music’. Do you find a lot of new stuff you like or do you find yourself harking back to past masters often?

My job is finding new music, there’s always something interesting out there. Nostalgia is not what it used to be 😉

Who are your go-to artists for new record purchases?

Mr G (Colin McBean) is a particular favourite, Henrik Schwarz is another…I regularly shop online at Bandcamp and other sites. My taste is fairly eclectic, I really enjoy doing warm-up sets too.

Do you buy much music?  You must get sent a shit load too?

Yeah, I still buy loads and I also get sent loads, I usually spend a couple of hours most days trying to find new stuff.

With your weekly residency at Sub, how much of your sets are ‘new’ music?

Having a weekly residency keeps you on your toes, on a good week for music I can play almost 90 percent new music. it’s probably around 60/70 percent new music most weeks, un shazamable 😉

Who do you think is making the good stuff at the minute? Who do you keep your eyes on?

Loads of people both old and new, I’m liking Cee ElAssaad, Tigerbalm, Oscar P, FNX OMAR, the Innervision guys. Boo Williams, Mr. G, Kink, lots of stuff from all over the world.

Model Citizenz is your new label. What can we hope to hear in 24?

Really, it’s just a vehicle for us to put out our own stuff as we have so much music, we don’t know what to do with it!  Everything from downtempo warm-up stuff, to banging house. We wouldn’t be averse to putting other peoples’ stuff out too, once we’re sorted.

What are you up to once you’ve finished working on this interview?

If I get these questions answered in time, I might make the pub quiz.

Thanks a lot for your time Harri.

Nae bother x

Where to find James’ & Manakinz music

Soundcloud Link
Facebook Link 
Bandcamp Link
Sub Club Link

Share this post: