Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Spit; an interview with Mantar.

A week ago, I first opened my ears to a band called Mantar, and I've been licking my wounds since. There aren't enough bandages, painkillers or jars of Manuka honey in the world can ease the agony of the sonic beating I took that fateful morning. They're rough, they're stripped down, they remind you why you love heavy music. Armored elephant riffs and deeper-than-hell drumming comprise the backbone of this colossal two-piece from Hamburg, Germany, and if my ridiculous similes haven't convinced you, then listen to them for yourself. Then ,when you've finished listening, adopt the fetal position and cry. It's all you can do. It's fucking vicious and it hurts so good.

Death by Burning, cover art by Aron Wiesenfeld

How did Mantar come about? For a band that has only existed for less than a year, you sound very taught. Have you played in bands together before?

Always been stuck deep to the underground of Germany. We both played in several local bands. Did some records with other bands but mostly stuff that has been only available in Germany. We both saw shitloads of rehearsal rooms and small clubs. We are very happy to get this much attention right now. You know, we aint 18 anymore, which means that we had plenty of time to get tight as musicians in general. We both play music since we are kids or at least early teens. Furthermore we are close friends for a very long time and always jammed together from time to time within the last 15 years. The drummer actually was some kind of a role model for me as he is some years older and always introduced me into bands when I was young. He is a big part of my musical socialisation.

There's no bass whatsoever on Death By Burning, yet it still sounds filthy as a whore's mouth. Did you decide at the beginning to exclude bass guitar from the recordings or was it a happy mistake?

We more or less knew pretty early that we wanted to play as a duo. It´s just so simple and we knew that we both were up for hard work and always have been pretty focused on the band from day one. Actually it wasn't any kind of a master plan to exclude the bass guitar but due to the fact that it was just the two of us we haven't had the chance to come up with a bass. So we just played with drums and guitar. Like other two piece bands do as well. Not because it was fancy or "cool" or shit like that. We just wanted to play as the two of us. Easiest way was to set up a line up with guitar/drums only. We never thought that there´s any need for a bass. I play a pretty bad ass guitar set up and we basically compensate the lack of bass with pure volume and rage.

You mentioned on your Bandcamp page that Mantar shouldn't be thought of as a sludge band. How important is it for you to remain separate from the genre? It has definitely become very popular over the last few years.

I think that the genre "sludge" isn´t something you can rely on any more as a trademark for something particularly good. It´s pretty worn out these days and a lot of bands use it in 2013 as a brand because they don't have any own character or don't know about their own roots. Maybe due to the fact they never had any. Don't get me wrong I love shitloads of stuff that is branded as "sludge". Great bands out there, but well... some kind of inflation is going on nowadays.

Judging by the tracks posted on your Bandcamp page, this is shaping up to be an extremely confident record. There's a lot of different elements and influences thrown into the broth, but the music doesn't sound like a tribute or a caricature of anyone. If you had to describe yourselves to someone who hasn't listened to you yet, how would you?

Thank you for your kind words. I hope people understand Mantar as that what it is: pure rage. Display of power. We don't have any message. It´s just about power and violence. In a good way, a powerful band. A powerful record. Pretty mean from time to time. Pretty dark, but not in a cheesy, gothic way. Not even in a classic black metal way, even though I love a lot of black metal stuff. I guess we have too much real groove to be labeled as a real black metal band, but yeah, it´s dark. Too dark for rock ´n roll music. I guess a lot of people from different music genres can agree on the band as pure power is something that is more important than a certain genre. Basically if you like heavy music you might like the band. If you don´t it´s easy, fuck off then.

As a two-piece, how does the music translate in a live setting? Have you played many gigs as of yet?

We haven't played to many shows yet as we are just together for a short time. Hope to play a lot of shows/tours asap. We did the record pretty quick, self-produced and for less money a usual band spends on drinking on a regular weekend. As we are a 2 piece band its pretty easy to come up with new songs. The music always comes out from jamming. We usually don´t do any overdubs and no guitar solos on a record. That´s why the recording process is pretty easy and basic. The record is basically what the band stands for.
What you hear is what you get. No tricks, no image. You know, it´s a two piece band, we have to play super heavy to keep up with 4 or 5 piece bands. And that´s what we do.

The album drops on February 7th 2014, are there any plans for a tour yet? If so, can we expect to see Mantar visit Ireland in the near future?

February, 7th the record comes out. We did a 7 inch in advance which is desperately sold out. But we are about to drop another one. Hope we will play a lot of shows all over the country or even the world.. We will go to Turkey and likely play south East Asia as I have a lot of friends over there and been there 2 years ago to check out the local scene. And seriously, it´s awesome! So many good punk/metal band. A very healthy underground scene. For sure you don’t get any money over there. Actually you lose some, but it´s good fun. We are just together for a band for a year now, so no side projects at this time. We never have been to Ireland. we would love to go there. If you or your mates can set up a gig, we will be there. Sure thing.

Thanks for speaking with me. Is there anything you'd like to say to the listeners, new and old? How badly are they going to shit their brains out when they hear the new record?

Yeah, seriously, make sure to check out the record. Get a shirt. Tell your friends.

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