Sifting through photos of dogs at the Big Hearts for Big Dogs rescue in Florida, you don’t get that same queasy gut feeling you get watching that tear-jerking commercial of battered animals featuring Sarah McLachlan.
The dogs at Big Hearts for Big Dogs were rescued and rehabilitated. They’re playful. They’re adorable. They’re looking for homes.
Taking the circumstances and future of these dogs into his own hands, New York-based DJ and producer MANIK is harnessing his two major passions – music and basketball – to show the non-profit some love. On March 19, MANIK, in association with VIS A VIS Consulting, is hosting the Red Blue Classic, a charity basketball game played by some of today’s most recognized names in our dance music niche. Among them are Matt Tolfrey, The Martinez Brothers, Lee Foss, MK and our good friends Jesse Perez and Diego Martinelli.
Aside from our willingness to help out the pups, we’re definitely looking forward to watching these guys throw down on the court. Click here to buy tickets.
In light of the event, we got to chat with MANIK about how the Red Blue Classic came about, and his doggy love, of course.
Featured photo of MANIK by Charles Roussel
We’ve been enormously moved by the effort you’re putting into the Red Blue Classic. Have you always had a soft spot for dogs? Where does this doggy love come from?
First of all, who doesn’t love dogs? Dogs are just the most honest creatures on this planet. My sister Victoria and I grew up with a Bullmastiff, and she was the most loving, protective animal in the world. It’s hard not to love dogs, and so anything to support them is something I want to do at any opportunity. Actually, a few months ago I got a Miniature Schnauzer, and he is the funniest little guy. I miss him a lot while on the road. Dogs are awesome.
How did you decide to make the event a basketball game?
Other than music, my two loves are dogs and basketball. If I wasn’t lucky enough to pursue music in the way I have, I would have definitely done something with basketball. This game is a fun and unique way to execute a charity event. I most certainly want to make this event a success, and that means doing something we are passionate about. My sister Victoria has done so much work on the RBC as well. It’s been a team effort.
We can tell you’re pretty comfortable in front of a crowd while mixing tunes, but do you think you’ll have the same confidence on a basketball court?
Absolutely. I used to play for many teams around NYC when I was younger. I won’t lie, it’s been awhile that I’ve played a full game, but I’d like to think basketball is in my DNA and I haven’t lost my skills. I look forward to seeing all the other player artists too.
Miami is our home base, so we love that you’re hosting the Red Blue Classic during WMC. Are there any plans to take it elsewhere? Maybe back home to NYC?
Maybe! A major reason why I chose to launch this event at the WMC was because the WMC is an event that brings all of us djs, music producers, and fans, to one city. Everyone is already here, so I wanted to take advantage of it, and throw an event like this. If it’s a success, maybe in the future I can do another charity event, with a different theme, back home. I am such a diehard New Yorker that to do something beneficial on my home turf would be an honor.
One unrelated question: We’ll be honest. Before we knew much about you, we saw you and totally thought you were European. Your haircut is rather Euro – very Richie Hawtin. How important is a DJ’s look in terms of being unique and memorable? Is that something that even crossed your mind with that haircut?
Well, this haircut just fits me. My mom is actually a brilliant hair dresser in Manhattan so we always grew up having an edge with hair products and things like that. At the end of the day, whatever you can do look-wise to help your brand is a good thing.