There are all kinds of music out there. There are songs that make you want to dance the night away in a club in the big city. There are the tracks that spark that special joy of nostalgia, the guilty pleasures and childhood throwbacks. And then there are the melodic explorations that feel so intimate, so true and honest that they leave a permanent mark on your heart thanks to their rare beauty. Man-Made Sunshine’s debut single ‘Life’s Gonna Kill You (If You Let It)’ fits neatly (and very deservingly) into the latter group.
Born out of the talented hands of Conor Mason, lead singer of the popular British indie-rock group Nothing But Thieves, Man-Made Sunshine exists as a side-project birthed during the trying times of lockdown and marks the next great step for the artist. Diving deep into the emotional turmoil of his past and discussing themes of self-discovery, inner growth, and mental health, the solo-outing sees Mason tear down all the walls around him and glistens with pure honesty, vulnerability and a personal closeness that is rather hard to find these days, as he explains: “I started with the question of ‘Man-Made Sunshine’ – am I able to find it and make it myself, or is it made for me? I headed into some heavy places to find healing from loss and focused on thoughts and feelings around death, grief of others and my old self.”
Twirling in the realms of alt-indie, psych-pop and electronica, ‘Life’s Gonna Kill You (If You Let It)’ almost resembles an intimate conversation that is happening between Mason and the listener. Beautifully fragile, with a delicate piano leading through the song and Mason’s magical, soul-infused falsetto finishing everything off, the track feels incredibly familiar and unlike anything that’s ever been done before at the same time. Yet again uncovering themes of personal struggle and the power to overcome them on the other end, the heartfelt hit sees Mason hand over a piece of himself to whoever’s ears are touched by his melodies, with lyrics like, “So you wanna get out of this town / Dye your hair bright like a peach / The smoke from bridges that you burnt make your eyes waterfall in defeat / I gotta be honest you have to find solace you gotta find something In what you’ve got / And don’t got”.
“Ultimately, this song is about survival and trying to find the strength to not give up. Survival from oneself, survival from the darkest, loneliest places you can reach in your mind,”, the enthralling singer illuminates. “The way I survived this was by the purest love and connection of a best friend suffering with the same condition. The ability to hold onto one another and keep each other afloat ultimately gave us both a valuable life lesson…that love can truly triumph over anything. As corny as it sounds, the feeling didn’t need an explanation. In turn, this helped us to look into ourselves and slowly find the self-love we were lacking all along.”
Standing proud as the first release to come out of the musical vaults of Man-Made Sunshine, ‘Life’s Gonna Kill You (If You Let It)’ offers a taste for what is to come, with an EP already having been teased by the London-based artist. As an invite to look deeper into your own self and find happiness in the spaces nobody would usually go to, Man-Made Sunshine has managed to do something one can only ever strive to do – connect with people all over the world and create a safe space that you didn’t know you needed until now.
Written by Laura Weingrill // photography by Lewis Vorn