Taryn Manning has floated between the music and movie industries for more than a decade and we are always interested to see what this girl has up her sleeve. You likely recognize her from major blockbuster hits like 8 Mile, Hustle & Flow, and Crossroads… but with a recent focus on music, Taryn is leveraging past experiences with her brother in their electronic act Boomkat for an upcoming solo album. We had a chance to catch up with Taryn to discuss her EP, her dream producers, and an obsession with unicorns.

I heard you just got back from Hawaii, how nice! What were you doing out there?

I was doing Hawaii 5-0 and while I was there I got a DJ gig as well!

How did you get started with DJing?

I have created an interesting situation for myself. It’s kind of hard to explain but, I started DJing as a hobby and it turned into a full-blown career. I love the fact when I DJ I play other people’s music besides my own.

You have an EP set to drop in May! Do you have the title of the project set yet?

No I am still thinking about it!

What can we expect to hear on the EP and how is it different than any other music project you have put out?

Making this EP has been a great adventure. With Boomkat, I knew what I wanted to create. With this record I could explore and express the many sides to me. I would call it electro-pop with depth. I feel I have created something that is well-rounded and true to where I am at now in my life.

Tell us about Boomkat. How did you come up with the name?

It’s spelled “boom” then K-A-T because it’s my brother’s name and mine. It’s like Kellin and Taryn. At first we were going to go as Kat but we wanted to just do more with it, so we added boom and it’s supposed to be like a drum. The boom is the kick and the cat is the snare drum. Boom- kat, that’s it right there son! We have a whole little thing that we do.

Are you and your brother super close?

My brother and I are super-duper close, we’re good friends. He’s five years older than me, so he’s sort of like my mentor, you know. My solo stuff is like, stuff I do, with other producers, kind of on my own. When Kellin and I record it’s just him and me. I don’t write with anyone else. For my solo stuff I’ll go venture out and work with different writers and producers and that’s just like for the experience you know? It’s fun to do and it’s fun to collaborate. But Kellin, if he would only like to make music fast, in my pace, I’d only produce with him.

Who are some producers you aspire to work with?

There are so many! I would love to do a song with Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Prince, Will.i.am, and if Michael Jackson was still alive, I’d kill to do music with him!

Are there any other artists/DJs at the moment really catching your attention?

You know I really respect this DJ named Pretty Lights, he’s sick. I just saw this documentary called RE:GENERATION. I don’t know if you’ve seen it but these DJs each had a task and they were all put up to do these songs. Pretty Lights collaborated with country music. Skrillex with rock. Crystal Method paired up with an old Motown singer… it was real cool to watch what each of them came up with in that genre. I thought that Pretty Lights had the biggest task at hand and he nailed it.

Was being featured in Playboy always a goal of yours?

No, at first I was totally against it, but I have received offers for them over several times. The first time was when Boomkat was out and we were signed back in 2003. They offered me a shit load of money, but I passed on it. I was 24 and I wasn’t ready for it. I was like I don’t want to be naked, with nudity; I’m a big rock star right now. It’s just where I was. I was doing so many things. I was doing so much press that that to me was like, no I don’t even care about the offer.

We heard you always have had an intense obsession with unicorns, why is that?

I mean honestly, just off the top of my head the only way I know how to answer that is 80′s. I’m a child of the 80’s — that was my childhood. And, I don’t know, for some reason I feel like unicorns represent the 80’s.  Unicorns just became a symbol tp me for good memories. Because, this might get a little dark or sad, but my dad passed away in the 90′s, and the 80′s are just good memories of him being around. I’m also into Care Bears, and I’m a Toys R Us kid. It’s like an “I don’t want to grow up” type of thing. They also represent a timeless spirit. Something that isn’t really real. Maybe there’s just this huge fantasy element to my life that they represent.

Also can you tell us about one of your greatest memories working on the movie Crossroads with Britney Spears?

Coming back on a Monday to set and dishing about what we all did that weekend. It was fun just being girls and hearing what the biggest pop star in the world did on her time off.

Can we expect to see you in any movies this year?

White Trash Christmas will be coming out, which was a really fun role to play. It was my first comedic role and I had a blast.

Out of your many career accomplishments, which would you consider the most meaningful to you?

My experiences have been so vast it would be hard to pinpoint one. I’m most proud of preserver of such intense levels of rejection. At the end of the day I am doing what I love and I’ll continue to do what I love.

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Photos by Daniela Voicescu for Disfunkshion Magazine.