“Ride that energy with an almost psychotic attention to detail.”
Name: Justin Manville
Place of birth: Yorkshire, UK
Do: Singer, songwriter, musician. Creator of World Unplugged
What inspired you to create World Unplugged?
My life, it is the most natural thing in the world to me, because it’s how I live.
I heard you grew up in a house with no electricity
Yes that’s true, no electricity. Unplugged started all those years ago, unbeknown to myself at the time. I didn’t have it easy, it’s been a long and defining journey so far. My parents looked after teenage boys as an extra way to give back to life, to the community and to the world. 65 individuals over 30 years, all transformed by my parents ability to show love and structure without the need for anything in return. Even though our house was as Ibiza as it gets for Yorkshire–because of the caminos and rustic charm–sometimes dealing with the other tough teenage boys was a challenge growing up. It epitomised Ying & Yang. I had a choice – get tough, or complain and be a victim. I chose to get tough quickly.
What does heritage mean to you and how does it translate to Ibiza and World Unplugged?
Heritage for me is something which stands the test of time because it is timeless and has undeniable quality. I see and feel all Ibiza holds. It’s a stunning but fragile place, just like us. It does have a heritage for me, but it’s a misguided one in order to protect itself from hordes of people. The ultimate secret but so simply beautiful. World Unplugged is always working towards this – to be simple and beautiful. It connects and resonates on the deepest levels, just like Ibiza.
Why keep the World Unplugged locations secret?
We create mystique and fantasy. Who doesn’t love a secret gig?
Do you think of yourself as a storyteller?
Yes. It’s important because it puts us in fantasy. It exercises our imagination and our emotions, without the need for narcotics or alien substances in the blood stream. It is wholesome, beautiful and if done with skill and wit, can be the most humbling and uplifting experience.
5 words that sum up Justin Manville
Cricket was a big part of your childhood. Ibiza isn’t known for it’s cricket – Do you miss it?
I still play! I miss certain aspects: Having my proud father watch me hit a 6 from a fast Aussie bowler. The first victorious cold beer after a long day in the sun having hit the winning run or bowled the last ball. Timing the ball on a piece of willow (the bat) is something else; a special feeling. It’s like you are a small part of an engine, in perfect harmony. It’s just a metaphor for everything in life, so I apply it and don’t miss anything in reality.
What would you bring from Yorkshire and Ireland to Ibiza that you couldn’t fit in a suitcase?
Guinness. The smell of turf in the air. The Irish mentality. The Yorkshire moors. The crisp sunny, frosty days. Denny sausages. Kerrygold butter! (although they do have it here, strangely!)
I bring it all with me in my heart. Hopefully not the sausages and butter though! That’s dangerous.
What’s your songwriting process?
Usually lyrics first, then the guitar, I just feel it and let whatever channels through come to me. Usually it’s something relevant to my life in the current time, even subconsciously. It’s a great way to counsel yourself and just get it out..
Tell us about your favourite guitar
It’s one that doesn’t even belong to me. Tom Sands is a master luthier from Yorkshire – a young man keeping an old craft alive. His guitars start at £10,000 and take him 8 weeks to make. You go into his workshop and choose the wood, grain, finish, size and colour, then he gets to work. The end result is phenomenal and as a lifetime instrument it’s worth every penny. I played his guitars at our Yorkshire hideaway in November and before that for an acoustic shop session. They almost plays themselves. And the tone, OMG. I also love my classical guitar that I use at every gig. It’s my faithful friend.
Your daughter is very present on your record covers and media. How does she inspire you?
She is cosmic, grounded, smarter than me and puts less words on life than me, but at the same time embraces it and grabs it with all her being. She is a representative of me and I take that job very seriously. We have to bring the best young people into this world in order for it to sustain itself in a beautiful way. Plus she’s just a tough little gingernut with freckles and I wished for her!
Tell us something that few people know about you
People often thought I was a girl for the first 12 years of my life, because of my haircut mainly but I was also very sensitive and I guess it projected through my character. Even though I think of myself as a burly Yorkshire man, this feminine energy is paramount to the sensitivity of World Unplugged; how we gauge the feeling of the attendees and ride that energy with an almost psychotic attention to detail. All in order to have no dips or troughs in the curation of the nights.
Does Ibiza continue to inspire you?
Yes. Because I am in love. It is hard sometimes but Ibiza, I love you.
If your music wasn’t categorised as Folk how would you class it?
What’s your favourite lyric by another artist you wish you had written?
It’s a bitter sweet symphony this life.
How would you express yourself if you couldn’t sing or play guitar?
I’d restore old classic cars. And I’d dance. I’m terrible at it, but practice makes perfect.