My Internet: Mano Sundaresan
The No Bells founder was recently told by Zack Bia that a video of his "touched a lot of lives."
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, written by Kate Lindsay and edited by Nick Catucci.
Most weeks, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Mano Sundaresan, founder the music publication No Bells and producer of the hip-hop podcast Louder Than A Riot. Mano watches Milwaukee rap dances on TikTok, plans nights out with the homies in an Instagram group chat, and was recently told by Zack Bia that a video he made “touched a lot of lives.” —Nick
Zach Bia, if you’re reading this—please subscribe.
EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
MANO SUNDARESAN: This carousel of ricotta toast-related memes.
EMBEDDED: What shows up on your TikTok For You page?
Obscure NBA player highlights, Soundcloud rap shitposts, Milwaukee rap dances, people eating things.
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
EMBEDDED: Has your Twitter experience changed since Elon Musk took over? What would it take for you to quit?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Odd enough, on my blog’s Twitter (I barely use my personal atp) I’ve had the most engagement in my life since Elon took over. The app is definitely cooked but idk, still probably the most consistent supplier of laughter in my life.
EMBEDDED: Have you found any good alternatives to Twitter?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Nope.
EMBEDDED: What do you use Instagram for?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I post my little life updates with the homies and plan nights out with them in the now twice-co-signed BOOK SQUAD group chat word to Kieran. I have also been trying to post more consistently on the No Bells account. Rolling out this weird small town bulletin board vibe on there for our posts.
EMBEDDED: What types of videos do you watch on YouTube?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I watch rapper interviews from EricTheYoungGawd and Our Generation Music. Watch pretty much every Fulcrum drop, Mark Wiens food vlogs. I use YouTube for most of my music discovery, too. The cheat code is subscribing to regional rap videographers. Of late, I’ve been going through WaxBando’s channel for my DMV rap fix.
EMBEDDED: Have you had posts go viral? What is that experience like?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Definitely this Yeat fan interview video I made last summer with No Bells. It was kind of surreal—we knew we had tapped into some kind of strange truth in this video, but we didn’t have any idea it would blow up the way it did. Was a whirlwind of a few weeks. Yeat’s producer BNYX reached out to me, and Yeat saw the video himself and apparently wasn’t impressed. It had some real material effects on our future. It gave us the confidence to lean more into video and get sillier with what we do. Not gonna lie though, it’s a little annoying this video is still kind of our calling card instead of something newer we’ve done. But I’m just grateful we “touched a lot of lives,” as Zack Bia told me at the Yeat show a few weeks ago lol.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Giannis Antetokounmpo followed me his rookie year before they purged his TL. Right now … probably this artist/DJ Popstar Benny. He’s just always posting real shit about like, old Atlanta rap and making cool connections in his own music. A reliable poster.
EMBEDDED: Who’s someone more people should follow?
MANO SUNDARESAN: This dude billdifferen, they are always posting the craziest brain melting tunes from all over the world on Twitter. Somebody needs to give them a travel show where they just geek out over tinnitus music.
EMBEDDED: Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
MANO SUNDARESAN: This Detroit rapper Veeze makes me laugh every day on Twitter. Idk it’s hard to explain just scroll through lol.
EMBEDDED: Where do you tend to get your news?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Twitter, the NPR website, and I recently started using this kinda leftist news curation service called The Syllabus.
EMBEDDED: What are your favorite Substack or other independent newsletters?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I pay monthly for Street Night Live, this fashion Substack with great recs. Besides that, I don’t really check for a lot of newsletters. Tone Glow is doing good work on the experimental music beat. My friend Vivian just started one called Scent Song that’s about pairing music and perfumes, really excited for that.
EMBEDDED: Do you have any favorite media company newsletters?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Nah I’m not really subscribed to any.
EMBEDDED: What’s one positive media trend? What’s one negative trend?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Positive is more people blogging. It really feels like a renaissance for the medium. As much as I consume it, I think a blanket negative is TikTok. It’s really killing our attention spans and brain cells.
EMBEDDED: Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I don’t really listen to podcasts, to be honest, since I’m thinking about a podcast all day at work. One of my favorites ever is this short series about the pivot from analog to digital audio called Ways Of Hearing.
EMBEDDED: How has using LinkedIn benefitted you, if at all?
MANO SUNDARESAN: It lets me stalk old high school and college buddies but that’s really it.
EMBEDDED: Have you ever been heavily into Snapchat? Do you miss it?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I had a big phase in high school. I kind of like how it wasn’t really about clout or a social hierarchy unlike the other apps. I used it almost exclusively for messaging people individually or in groups.
EMBEDDED: When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
MANO SUNDARESAN: God I don’t remember.
EMBEDDED: Do you have an opinion about Tumblr?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I never really used it, seems like such an important mode of self-discovery for a lot of people though.
EMBEDDED: Are you in any groups on Reddit, Discord, Slack, or Facebook? What’s the most useful or entertaining one?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I’m in a few music-related Discord servers—some for pure discussion and link-sharing, some for tracking music leaks/snippets. My favorite to lurk in is probably Noz’s, people have real discussions in there about everything y’all are yelling about on Twitter except it’s mostly civil and cool.
EMBEDDED: Do you ever enjoy using Slack? When?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I hate Slack.
EMBEDDED: Do you typically start searches on Google, Reddit, TikTok, or another source? Have you tried AI-powered search on Bing or elsewhere?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Google for most things. Reddit for home improvement / dumb specific questions. TikTok for some music discovery and trend-related searches.
EMBEDDED: What most excites you about AI text and art generators? What most concerns you?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I sometimes like cooking up crazy hilarious shit in DALL-E. I think it is a tool like any other, and can be used in artful ways. What concerns me most is people seriously listening to AI-generated full versions of snippets and things like that. That’s so weird how do you just do that??
EMBEDDED: Do you have any predictions for cryptocurrency, the metaverse, and/or Web3?
MANO SUNDARESAN: No. Most of it makes me jaded.
EMBEDDED: Are you currently playing any games on your computer or phone?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Not really. I wanna buy a Pokémon game for my Switch. Insanely behind on the series if anybody reading this has any recs.
EMBEDDED: What’s your most-used messaging app?
MANO SUNDARESAN: iPhone Messages app, WhatsApp for the extended family in India, and lowkey Facebook Messenger.
EMBEDDED: Do any of your group chats have a name that you’re willing to share? What’s something that recently inspired debate in the chat?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I’m in a group chat with my childhood friends called Falador Drop Party 10k, a reference to these insane events we’d attend in the MMORPG RuneScape. Everyone would go to this room in the game and some rich user would drop a bunch of money on the floor for everyone to pick up. We don’t really debate much in there, just share music links and gossip about people from our town.
EMBEDDED: What’s your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I love the saluting face like everyone, it’s just so commanding and strong and real. I also have been using heart hands it’s so cute. I like 🔕 as a stand-in for No Bells because it could also mean “mute,” which folds into the kinda Luddite vibe of our site.
EMBEDDED: Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Almost never unless I’m driving (don’t text and drive!). I usually am a little annoyed by them unless it’s someone close to me. Just type the damn thoughts!
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
MANO SUNDARESAN: The new Navy Blue album is giving me a lot of answers and comfort.
EMBEDDED: Do you pay for a music streaming service, and if so, which one? When was the last time you bought a music download or vinyl record, CD, or tape?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I pay for Apple Music and SoundCloud Go. I copped the Blonde vinyl reissue and bought a bunch of CDs off the street the other day!
EMBEDDED: If you could only keep one streaming service for TV and/or movies, which would it be, and why?
MANO SUNDARESAN: HBO Max, I think. How else am I gonna watch Curb and Degrassi?
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I love the Dunkin app, the rewards go so crazy.
EMBEDDED: What’s the most basic internet thing that you love?
MANO SUNDARESAN: BeReal.
EMBEDDED: Is there any content you want but can’t seem to find anywhere online?
MANO SUNDARESAN: There’s sooo much music I used to listen to on SoundCloud that no longer exists online.
EMBEDDED: Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What’s a recent thing you’ve bought or sold?
MANO SUNDARESAN: I use eBay sometimes when I’m in aspiring collector mode. I recently bought an issue of the discontinued boys’ magazine Dirt on there.
EMBEDDED: Have you recently read an article, book, or social media post about the internet that you’ve found particularly insightful?
MANO SUNDARESAN: Yeah I really like this loose personal meditation on 2022 and the essence of now from my friend Jameson.
EMBEDDED: What’s the last thing that brought you joy online?
MANO SUNDARESAN: The best rap AI thing so far.
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
Thanks Mano! Follow him on Twitter, read and follow No Bells on Twitter and Instagram. 🔕
More My Internet John Paul Brammer∙ Carla Lalli Music∙ Haley Nahman∙ Tahirah Hairston∙ Kieran Press-Reynolds∙ Nicholas Thompson∙ Max Collins (Eve6 Guy)∙ Delia Cai ∙ All