Playlist: Music To Cut Hair To with Jake Manders


A trip to the hair salon is rarely just purely functional. When in the right setting, it becomes a shared and social experience. Hairdressers behave like friends and counsellors. The salon is a place for relaxation, self-reflection and a good ol’ conversation. Therefore, there is nothing more annoying than bad music. OK, the stylist can be forgiven if they have as much personality as a wet blanket, so long as the haircut is to a certain standard, but if I hear them banging an EDM number or the latest pop drivel, it’s just unacceptable. Not only is it an interruption of what we believe the salon atmosphere should be but when you are working up to 12 hours on your feet, do you want to be listening to rubbish? No thank you.

Here at the About This Place, a salon headed by the Hair Mistress, Victoria Saunders has perfected that blend. She cuts the hair of half the DJs in London and apparently the reason they keep coming back, aside from a damn fine haircut and our ability to talk bollocks professionally, is the fact the music is spot on – hence being asked by R$N to compile a fortnightly feature for them. Music To Cut Hair To, a selection of some great music played in the salon alongside some appearances from friends…

“As many of you maybe aware About This Place is temporarily closed. Hair definitely can’t be done atm but one thing we can do is bring some music to your front room. Who better than Mr Jake Manders. Yes I have finally managed to pin this boy down. I’m not saying he’s a tease ladies..but it was close to me cornering him in dark alley. Anyway I digress. I have been a fan of his music for quite sometime and he never disappoints So thank you Mr Manders and yes it was definitely worth the wait. Fill your boots gang. Missing faces and missing dancing, See you all the otherside, cause your hair is gonna look shit…”

1.When were you at your happiest?

Setting aside the extreme difficulty humanity is currently experiencing, in a weird sort of way, probably now! On a very personal level, Coronavirus and the isolation it has caused, feels like an opportunity to take stock, reset and move forward with the things that matter in life, and to me that means my family, my relationship, my friends and my own individual happiness. Take money out of the situation and what are you left with? The things that should make you truly happy, at least that’s how I’m trying to see it! Plus, as I rapidly approach my forties, I feel like I’ve managed to start getting a handle on who I am and what I want from my life. I guess at this point, you tend to have experienced enough highs and lows to know what really matters to you.

2. What’s your greatest fear?

For me, failure. Or at least my own perception of failure, which is a somewhat fluid concept that develops and subsides over time.

3. Who do you admire?

At the risk of sounding romantic, I don’t admire anyone per se, but I do really admire people who overcome some form of adversity in life. Whatever that adversity means to them, and working through it to get to where they want to be. I genuinely buzz off seeing people getting something from their life (okay, this does sound romantic) because it means they’ve worked hard to get there. And I don’t mean financially.

4. What trait do you deplore in yourself/ other people?

I deplore my own ability to procrastinate, although that’s definitely lessened the older I’ve got. In others, it’s a lack of awareness. I was always told by my mum to be conscious of the impact I was having on others, whether that be walking down the street or letting someone past in the supermarket. But actually, if you’re a person who doesn’t think about others, that generally extends into everything you do and the way you go about your business, so I guess I’m really talking about people with a lack of empathy.

5. What’s your worst habit?

My phone, or at least my use of it. I wish I had the gumption to get a Nokia 3310 so I couldn’t check my emails or Instagram constantly, but then I’d likely just play ‘Snake’ all the time.

6. Favourite word? 

“Wicked”. It’s just such a wicked word. Stick “deeply” in front of it when you’re really buzzing off something.

7. Who would you like to say sorry to? 

I already have, and it was to my stepmum. Such a wonderful woman who had to deal with a troublesome little soul at times.

8. Who do you despise? 

Homophobes. For the obvious reasons. This can be extended to anyone who dislikes someone for their ‘difference’.

9. Who or what is the love of your life? 

Well, music has been the constant thread from my teenage years onward so that’ll certainly play a role, but in love? My girlfriend, Laura. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in previous relationships to get to the point where I understand the effort that’s required to make a relationship truly special, and fortunately I’m now seeing the benefit of making those mistakes (although they were pretty brutal at the time!).

10. What would improve your life?

On an immediate level, an improved economy so all my mates who work in music (or other fields for that matter!) in some form or another can get back to doing what they love. Personally, educating myself more. I’ve always got the intention to do so, but this corresponds to my mentioning of procrastination earlier.

11. Worst job you have ever done?

The worst was selling windows. I was 15 and it was for some seriously low-end glazing company based in Rochdale, which is a relatively short bus journey away from my hometown of Hebden Bridge. Obviously the product is crap, the job itself menial as it gets, phoning people from the phonebook and following a script. But the worst part was that they made our Asian colleagues – there’s a big Pakistani community in Rochdale – use English names. I lasted three days. Cunts. In my late teens, I ridiculously bagged a job working at a health food shop in town. At this point, I was getting bang into going out and nightlife’s associated cultures, so I’d always have to leave some hazy crackon wearing last night’s clothes, stinking of smoke and sweat, to go and sell people vitamins. God knows what the shop’s clientele must have thought of me, looking pale and sleep-deprived. I’d sometimes just nod off at the counter.

12. What’s your greatest achievement? 

Starting my business, Heard. I’d been formulating the concept for a while and then all of sudden my life got turned upside down, which felt very much like a sink or swim moment. Starting the business was me deciding to ‘swim’ so I’m proud of the fact that I managed to achieve what I set out to do in business, whilst also using it as a crutch to keep me going in some dark moments.

13. What keeps you awake at night? 

I used to prang out about work all the time but fortunately I’ve got over that. With time, you tend to realise it’s never quite as bad as you first feared. Now, oddly enough my health, for no apparent reason whatsoever. I’ve started running everyday which helps no end.

14. How would you like to be remembered?

As a laugh. 

15. What lessons has life taught you?

All of the above! 

16. What would your super power be? 

This is surprisingly hard to answer but it would be fucking wicked to be a Jedi. I’ve just watched all the Star Wars films back-to-back so it’s fresh in my mind. Communication with everything across the galaxy, plus you get a dope lightsabre.

17. Favourite smell? 

Depends on the situation! 😉

19. Who would play you in a film?

Jesus, how do you answer this and not sound like a knob?

20. What song would you like played at your funeral?

John Martyn – Solid Air (it’s on this playlist actually!)

20. Top tip?

Wash your hands and be nice to people.

21.Tell us a secret…

When I was 10, I was in love with ‘Jet’ from Gladiators, so my dad took me to see her in a panto. I cried myself to sleep that night. What a woman (although she recently appeared as a talking head on some shite ‘back to the 90’s’ programme and it’s fair to say my love for her has waned somewhat.).