Manatapu: ‘We all want to be the pirates in Pirates Of The Caribbean’

A very serious interview...

Maori for a supernatural force within anything existing (Manu), and the controlling factor that creates a restriction (Tapu), this multicultural band is deeply rooted in reggae and ska, but its sonic mesh comes together with the dynamic of Maltese members James Saliba, Ryan Abela, and Dario Vella, Pupachile from France, Jogy Bo from Germany, and finally Tete (aka Camacho Criminal) from Spain

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Check what year it is …

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Ryan: Jogy actually gave me this advice,after a weekend bender at 7am while driving to the studio and discussing drum parts: ‘It’s not what you play. It’s what you don’t play’.

What do you never leave the house without?

R: My hoverboard.

Pick three words that describe yourself

R: International, energetic, family.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Jogy: 10 years looking back and forward without stopping.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Pupa: Mary-jane all by my side… is the guiltiest pleasure.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Dario: To keep Babylon aside… oh, and to get a spare guitar on stage.

Property and cars aside, what’s the most expensive thing you ever bought?

J: How do you define expensive?

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

J: Sounds like a speech from Miss Universe… that growing up you’ll want to be a child again.

Who’s your inspiration?

J: The puhara-marai … In Maori it’s where the eldest of the tribe live. This must definitely be the source of my greatest inspiration.

What has been your biggest challenge?

All: Getting off the island and organising our own gigs.

If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing?

Everyone would probably be playing in some other band, or doing some solo musical project. Definitely something related to music.

Do you believe in God?

We all believe in some kind of god. We are all spiritual persons, and we believe in the ‘Mana’.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

P: Leonardo da Vinci.

What’s your worst habit?

James, Ryan: Being late.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Come to one of our live shows and see for yourself.

Who would you have play you in a film?

We all want to be the pirates in ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Being late.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

We’d choose a Manatapu song, but that would have been too ego-centric, so we go for Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca.

What is your most treasured material possession?

Our merch… we still have around 80 unsold shirts.

What is your earliest memory?

J: It all started in my parent’s bedroom ...

When did you last cry, and why?


Who would you most like to meet?

J: Donald Trump, to take his wig off.

What’s your favourite food?

Pupa, Dario, Ryan, Jogy: Seafood and fish. James: Meat. Luca: Pasta.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

The whole band came to a consensus to not answer this question.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

J: Back to the point when I invented the time machine. I would destroy it, to create a universal paradox to see what it’s like.

What book are you reading right now?

J: Sports Almanac - Complete Sport Statistics 2000-4500.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

J: Time travel.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

J: Travel in time, so I won’t die.

What music you are listening to at the moment?

J: (Sings Civil War) Guns ‘n’ Roses.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

We don’t shower or work out…