A little patience goes a long way. Mano Le Tough (a.k.a. Niall Mannion) is proof of that. These days, the Irish-born DJ, producer, and label owner is one of the most celebrated names in underground house and techno, but his ascent didn’t happen overnight; as recently as a few years ago, Mano was just another expat DJ eking out a meager living in Berlin.
His early days in the city certainly weren’t easy, but Berlin did offer one thing in particular: plenty of opportunities to play. Although Mano had first acquired a taste for dance music back in Ireland, Berlin was a place where he could finally get behind the decks on a regular basis—it wasn’t long before he was playing up to three nights a week and throwing his own party, Passion Beat. These gigs may not have always been glamorous, but they did provide Mano with a chance to properly hone his skills and explore new sounds.
In his mind, DJing is a legitimate art form, and as such, it’s something to be taken seriously. Mano’s eclectic style, which often includes forays into assorted strains of house, techno, disco, new wave, and more, is the direct byproduct of his many long nights in the DJ booth, not to mention his absolute dedication to the craft. When it comes to his own music, Mano is similarly focused. Though he first began making music as a teenager in Greystones, the seaside village where he grew up, it was during a stint in Dublin that Mano first delved into Ableton Live and electronic music production. However, it was in Berlin that his production talents truly blossomed, and Mano soon began releasing 12-inches for a variety of labels, including Prins Thomas’ Internasjonal, Tensnake’s Mirau, and Ben Watt’s Buzzin’ Fly. And while his initial records presented quality bits of melody-driven and disco- flecked house, Mano really began to turn heads once he began to incorporate his own voice into the mix.
By infusing his dancefloor creations with elements of intimate, heartfelt pop, Mano not only stood out from the crowd—he also caught the ear of Permanent Vacation, who issued his widely lauded debut full-length, Changing Days, in 2013 as well as its follow-up, Trails in 2015. Amidst all of this activity, Mano has also been busy cultivating a label of his own, Maeve. Launched in 2012 with the help of good friends The Drifter and Baikal, Maeve has already established itself as a reliable home for thoughtful, melodic dance music, and the young imprint is increasingly being tapped for festival and club showcases around the globe.
Still, there’s no denying that Mano remains the main attraction, and the last few years have seen him make the proverbial “leap” and become a staple of the international DJ circuit and with his undying commitment to his craft it doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.