Interview med Erinc fra Mantar

Mantar

I anledning af Mantars kommende album fik vi en snak med bandets trommeslager Erinc om, hvad vi kan forvente af albummet, hvordan det er at spille i band med sin bedste ven og om, hvad der sker for deres store fascination af ild.

Hvad kan jeres fans forvente af jeres kommende album?

Erinc: Jeg tror ikke, at Mantarfansene vil blive skuffet. Vi har forsøgt at tage alt det, der får os til at lyde, som vi gør og så mixe det sammen på den bedst mulige måde. Altså de heavy-riff, de hårdtslående trommer og vores type af vokal. Det sjove er, at vi som oftest øver uden vokal. Når Hanno kommer med sangene, og der ikke er lagt vokal på, synes jeg nogen gange, at de lyder lidt poppede, og jeg undrer mig over, om de mon stadig vil være lige så heavy, som dem vi tidligere har skrevet, men så snart jeg hører dem med vokal, tænker jeg: Okay, vi har det sgu stadig, det her er Mantar.

Så I skriver det instrumentale først?

Erinc: Ja, Hanno skriver nye riff nærmest hver dag, hvorefter han optager dem og samler det sammen. Nogen gange får han en idé om hvilke riff, der ville spille sammen og hvad for noget af det, der kunne bruges i en sang, og så forsøger vi at finde et fedt simpelt trommebeat til det. Måske har han allerede nogle ideer til vokalen, men som regel vil han starte med det instrumentale og så vokalen derefter.

Hvordan mødte dig og Hanno egentlig hinanden, og hvad fik jer til at starte et band?

Erinc: Faktisk mødte vi hinanden for 20-21 års siden til en koncert med hans tidligere band. Det var et lokalt show i vores hjemby Bremen. Jeg missede hans band, men en af mine venner ringede og sagde, at de var fede, så jeg tog ned og snakkede med dem, og de virkede sgu også cool. Så blev vi så småt venner og begyndte at tage til koncerter og drikke øl sammen og alt det der. Han var en smule yngre end mig. Det er lang tid siden, men selv dengang var jeg gammel haha! Han havde sit band, og jeg havde mit, så der gik en 15-16 år med, at vi kendte hinanden, inden vi startede et band. Måske fordi vi havde respekt for de bands, vi hver især var i, og vi ikke havde lyst til at stjæle den anden, fra det band han var i. Det er lidt dårlig stil, og vi følte os lidt for høflige til at gøre det.

Da vi startede Mantar, var det bare med tanken om at lave noget, der var hårdt og tungt. Vi har måske været en anelse frustrerede over vores gamle bands og haft lyst til prøve med noget, der var vores eget, så vi gav det et forsøg, og det var fedt! Jeg mener, vi havde kendt hinanden i så lang tid i forvejen, så det var meget spændende at arbejde med at skrive musik og lave albums på en daglig basis som en duo, hvilket ikke rigtig var planlagt. Til at starte med havde vi svært ved at finde et tredje medlem.  

Så dit og Hannos stærke venskab lagde altså et godt fundament for bandet?

Erinc: Ja! Der er rigtigt meget, der bliver meget nemmere, når man har en god ven at arbejde sammen med om det. Det er ligesom, når man turnerer meget… Det er godt at have en med sig, som man kender. Det er ikke altid, at vi snakker vildt meget sammen, da vi allerede har snakket en del, og vi ved alt om hinanden. Men når man har været venner i så lang tid, danner man et nærmest familielignende bånd. Jeg siger ikke, at der er noget galt i at lave musik eller være i band med nogen, som man ikke kender helt lige så godt, men for mig gør det det hele meget nemmere. For min skyld var vi nødt til at kende hinanden rigtig godt, da hele denne her “band ting” kan kræve en masse hårdt arbejde. Nogle gange er man mere som forretningspartnere, men så er det rart at vide, at man stadig er venner.

Er det her stærke bånd imellem jer grunden til, at I valgte at forblive jer to, og I aldrig fandt en bassist?

Erinc: Nej, da vi startede bandet, havde vi bare lyst til at gå i gang og så lægge alle vores kræfter i det. Vi kiggede efter et tredje medlem, og vi ville også gerne have en bassist til bandet. Vi havde ikke lyst til, at vi kun skulle være to i bandet, for at virke unikke eller specielle, men vi kunne ikke rigtigt finde nogen, og vi gad ikke at vente et halvt års tid, inden vi fandt en. Vi ville skrive nogle sange, optage dem og så gå ud og spille det live. Så fordi vi ikke kunne finde nogen, valgte Hanno at lave sig selv en tykkere guitarlyd. Han spiller gennem to guitarforstærkere og en basforstærker samtidig. Så da vi så gjorde det live, så vi ingen grund til stadig at lede efter en bassist, da det gik op for os, at vi kunne gøre det bare os to. Vi kendte nogle bassister, som vi gerne ville have haft med i bandet, men de havde travlt med deres eget, så vi valgte kun at forblive os to.

Mantar er kendt for at mixe en masse forskellige genre såsom punk, black metal og rock n’ roll, hvilket har givet jeres musik en meget speciel lyd og stemning. Opstod dette bare, da I begyndte at spille sammen, eller var det noget, I havde planlagt?

Erinc: Det skete ligesom bare. Jeg har ikke en kæmpe baggrund i metalmusikken, så det kommer primært fra Hanno. Som regel spiller han et eller andet black metal riff for mig, hvorefter han spørger mig, hvad jeg ville spille til det. Jeg er ikke en metal-trommeslager, og jeg benytter mig ikke særligt meget af dobbeltpedal. Så jeg går ind og klarer min del, og hvad der sker, sker. Vi har begge vores indflydelser, og så går vi ind og mixer det til “den unikke Mantar stil”, som du formulerede det. Jeg husker, da alle crossover begyndte at komme frem. Vi tænker ikke rigtigt over, hvad for nogle genrer vi mixer. Vi tager bare det musik vi kan lide og laver vores eget ud af det.

Hvad for noget musik inspirerede jer?

Erinc: Faktisk lytter jeg til en masse 80er hiphop. Henover årene har Hard Rock og Grunge taget en smule over. En masse fra 90’erne også. De Alternative bands, Punk og senere også et par Hardcore bands. Især 90’ernes Noise-Rock, jeg er en stor fan af Helmet og Melvins, så det er meget af det musik, der har inspireret mig til at gøre det, jeg gør.

Nu hvor Mantar har spillet sammen i et par år, er der så kommet nogen nye inspirationer til?

Erinc: Der er nogle, jeg virkelig sætter pris på. Jeg er begyndt at dyrke det her band kaldet Sumac. Jeg sætter virkelig pris på at se dem live, og jeg kan rigtig godt lide deres trommeslager.

Alle jeres albumtitler har noget med ild at gøre. Er det fuldstændig tilfældigt?

Erinc: Vi har begge forskellige ting, vi godt kan lide ved ild. Jeg synes ild er enormt smukt, selvom det kan være farligt og ødelægge en masse ting. Hvis noget brænder ned, kan det også være en ny start. Vi er begge meget fascinerede af ild. Ild er meget naturligt og har en masse kraft og ser fedt ud, selvom det ødelægger så mange ting.

Hvad betyder det for jer som et tysk band at spille på Wacken, både i år og tilbage i 2015?

Erinc: Wacken er en af det største metalfestivaler i verden, så vi blev ret overraskede over, da vi blev tilbudt at spille der for tre år siden. Vi havde et rigtig stort publikum. Vi spillede indendørs for 5.000-6.000 mennesker, og alle så ud til at kende bandet godt. Det er meget overvældende, når man er et nyt band, at have så mange folk foran sig. Det betyder meget for os at spille der, da der er hundredvis af bands, og det er rigtigt fedt at være en del af.

Der må være en stor forskel sammenlignet med de shows I spiller, når I normalt turnerer?

Erinc: Personligt foretrækker jeg faktisk at spille mindre shows for en ca. 100 mennesker. Men det fede ved festivaler er, at det aldrig er så varmt på scenen, så man sveder ikke så meget. Når man spiller de mindre spillesteder for en 50 mennesker henover sommeren, er det som at være i en sauna, og det kan være svært overhovedet at få vejret. Både festivalerne og de mindre shows er super sjove at spille, men på forskellige måder. Festivaler er gode, fordi det føles fantastisk at se så mange mennesker foran dig, som nyder dit band, og som giver dig så meget energi tilbage. Man får nærmest en følelse af, at man lyder af mere.

En af sangene på jeres kommende album hedder “Age of the Absurd”. Er der noget specifikt, der har fundet sted for nyligt, der har inspireret den sang?

Erinc: Jeg kun huske, at Hanno kom op til mig og sagde, at han havde det her riff, og at jeg skulle prøve at spille et blastbeat henover, men jeg er ikke rigtig til at spille blastbeats overhovedet haha. Så vi prøvede det, og det endte faktisk rimeligt udmærket. Da vi sad og skrev det instrumentale, havde vi ikke nogen tekst, så da han lagde det på, mindede det mig om vores sang “Era Borealis” fra vores sidste album.

Hvad med teksten? Var teksten på nogen måde inspireret af nogle begivenheder, der har fundet sted for nyligt?

Erinc: På den ene side er teksterne skrevet af Hanno, og jeg blander mig ikke rigtig i hans tekster. Han fortæller mig om dem, og vi taler om det. Men på den anden side… Vi bryder os ikke rigtig om den politiske situation lige nu, men vil ikke komme ud med politiske budskaber, hvor vi fortæller folk, hvad de skal gøre eller tænke. Vi har vores egne holdninger, og det der hører med, men vi dømmer ikke folk for at tænke anderledes.

I skal ud og turnere med Skeletonwitch. I spiller begge meget forskellige typer af metal. Hvorfor valgte I at turnere sammen?

Erinc: Vi har kunnet lide Skeletonwitch i lang tid. Vi turnerede også med Kadavar sidste år, som også er meget anderledes, end vi er. Hvis jeg stod i publikum, ville jeg ikke have 3-4 bands, som alle spillede den præcis samme type musik. Jeg synes, det er fedt at have bands, som spiller i forskellige stilarter. Vi synes, der er et fedt mix af genrer, men hvor hovedgenren stadig forbliver metal. Der burde være noget for alle.

Så det var på grund af forskellen mellem jer, at I valgte at turnere sammen?

Erinc: Tjaah, ikke kun på grund af forskellene. Det er et band, vi rigtig godt kan lide, og vi har også mødt hinanden. Vi sætter stor pris på deres musik. For os ville det ikke give meget mening at turnere med et band, der lyder næsten præcis, som Mantar gør, eller som spiller på næsten samme måde. Det ville blive en smule kedeligt.

What can your fans expect of your next album?

Erinc: I think the fans of Mantar won’t be disappointed. We tried to put all the things that makes us sound like we do, and mix them together in the best way. It’s like heavy riffs, hard drumming, and the Mantar style of vocals.

The funny thing is that we usually practice without vocals. When Hanno bring in the songs and there are no vocals they sometime sound a little poppy to me and I wondered if they are still as heavy as the ones we wrote earlier, but when he adds the vocals and I’m like: Okay it’s still there, this is Mantar.

So you always write the instrumental part first?

Erinc: Yeah Hanno writes riffs almost every day, and when he records them and collect them. Sometimes he’s got an idea about which riffs fit together and which of them that could be made into a song and when we will try and find a good easy drumbeat that will fit to it. Maybe he already got some vocal ideas but usually he will just do the instrumental part first and then he starts working on the vocals.

How did you and Hanno meet and why did you decide to start a band together?

Erinc: Actually we met like 20-21 years ago at a show where his band played. It was a local show at our hometown Bremen. I missed his band but a friend of mine called and told me they were a cool band so I went down there and talked to them and they did seem cool. When we kind of became friends and went to shows together and drank some beers and all that stuff. He was a little younger than me. It’s a long time ago but I was already old at that time haha! He had his bands, and I had mine so it took us like 15-16 years of knowing each other before we started a band together. Maybe because we had respect for the current bands, we were in and we didn’t want to steal the other guy from his band. It is a bit uncool, and we felt a little too polite to do that.

When we started Mantar was just an idea about trying out something hard and heavy. We were maybe a bit frustrated of our old bands and we wanted to try something of our own so we gave it a try and it was cool! I mean we had known each other for so long so it was very interesting to work on a daily basis and put songs together and make records as a two-piece band, which wasn’t really planned. At first we couldn’t really find a third member.

So because you and Hanno were friends for song long it created a good foundation for the band?

Erinc: Yes! It makes a lot of things much easier when you have a good friend who works with you. It’s like when you tour a lot it is good to have someone with you that you know. We don’t always talk that much because we already talked a lot and we know everything about each other. But when you have been friends with someone for so long you get kind of a family type relationship. I’m not saying it is wrong to make music or be in a band with someone you don’t know as well but for me it makes a lot of things easier.

For me we had to know each other very well because this band thing can be a lot of hard work. Sometimes you are more like business partners, but then it is nice to know you are still friends.

Is this strong relationship between the two of you the reason why you decided to keep it a two piece and never got a bass player?

Erinc: No, when we started this band we just wanted to go in and put all of our energy into it. We looked for a third member and we wanted to have a bass player for the band. We didn’t want it to be a two-piece to be unique or special, but we couldn’t really find anyone and we didn’t want to wait for like six months until we found one. We wanted to write songs, record them and then go on stage. So because we couldn’t find someone, Hanno decided to make a thicker guitar sound. He uses two guitar amps and a bass amp at the same time. So when we did that live we didn’t see no reason to still search for a bass player because we realised that we could do it just the two of us. We knew some people who played bass that we wanted to have in the band, but they were too busy with their own thing so we decided to stay a two-piece.

Mantar is known for mixing a lot of different genres like punk, black metal and rock ‘n’ roll which gives you a very unique sound and vibe. Did it just happen when you started jamming or was it something you had discussed beforehand?

Erinc: It just kind of happened. I don’t have a big background in metal so that part mainly comes from Honnan. Usually he shows me some kind of black metal riff and then ask me what I would play to it. He knows I’m not a metaldrummer and I don’t use a lot of doublebass. So I go in and do my part and what happens, happens. We both have our influences and when we go in and mix it to “that unique Mantar style” as you would say it. I remember when all of the crossover bands started appearing, We are not really thinking about what genres we are mixing. We are just taking the music we like and then try and make our own thing out of it.

What music inspired you?

Erinc: Actually I listen to some hip-hop from the 80’s. Over the years Hard Rock and Grunge took over a bit. A lot of stuff from the 90’s as well. The Alternative bands, Punk and later some Hardcore bands. Especially the Noise-Rock of the 90’s, I’m a big fan of Helmet and the Melvins , so that is a lot of the music that inspired me to do what I do.

Now where Mantar has been together for a couple of years, have you gotten any new inspirations over the years?

Erinc: There are some things I really appreciate. I’ve gotten in to this band called Sumac. I really enjoy to see them live and I really like their drummer.

All of your album titles have something to do with fire. Is it just a coincidence?

Erinc: We both have different things we like about fire. I think that fire is really beautiful yet and can be very dangerous and destroy a lot of things. Also if something burns down it can make a new start. We are both pretty amazed by fire. Fire is very natural and has a lot of power and it looks cool even though it destroys so many things.

What does it mean to you as a german band to play at Wacken, both this year and back in 2015?

Erinc: Wacken is pretty much the biggest metal festival in the world so we were really surprised that we were asked to play there three years ago. We had a really big audience. We played an indoor venue for like 5.000-6.000 people and everybody seemed to be really into the band. It is really overwhelming when you’re a new band to have so many people in front of you. It’s a big deal for us to play there because there’s like hundreds of bands and it’s so cool to be a part of.

It must be a big difference compared to the shows you usually do when you tour?

Erinc: My personal preference is actually to play smaller club shows where there is like 100 people or something. But the good thing about festivals is that it is never that hot on stage so you don’t sweat that much. When you play in the smaller venues for like 50 people during the summer it’s like being in a sauna and it can be hard to breathe. Both festivals and the smaller shows are a lot of fun, it’s just a different kind of fun. Festivals are good because it feels amazing to see so many people in front of you who enjoy your band and give you so much energy back. You kind of get the feeling you get a bigger sound.

One of the songs of your new record is called “Age of the Absurd”. Is there anything specific at the moment that inspired that song?

Erinc: I remember Hanno coming up to me saying he had this one riff and I should try and play a blastbeat over it, but I’m not really into playing blastbeats at all haha. So we tried it and it actually ended up pretty good. As we were writing the instrumental part we didn’t really have any lyrics so when he added it, it kind of reminded me of the song “Era Borealis” from our last record.

How about lyrically? Was the lyrics in any way inspired by any recent events?

Erinc: On one hand the lyrics were written by Hanno and I don’t really mix around with his lyrics. He tells me about them and we talk about it. But on the other hand, we don’t really like the political situation right now, but we don’t want to put out political messages where we tell people what to do or think. We have our own opinion on stuff, but we don’t want to judge people for thinking differently.

So you try to stay politically neutral?

Erinc: Yes. Of course we have political opinions, but we don’t want it to be a part of our music.

You are going on tour with Skeletonwitch. You both play very different types of metal music. Why did you choose to team up for this tour?

Erinc: We have liked Skeletonwitch for a long time. We have toured with Kadavar last year which was also quite different from us. If I was in the audience I would not like 3-4 bands who all played the exact same type of music. I think it is really cool to have bands how play different styles. We think this tour is a cool mix of genres, but where the main genre still remains metal. There should be something for everyone.

So it was due to the diversity between you and Skeletonwitch that you decided to team up.

Erinc: Well, not just because of the diversity. It’s a band we really like and we have also met each other. We really appreciate their music. For us it doesn’t really make sense to be on a tour with a band that sounds almost exactly like Mantar or who played almost the same kind of style. It would be a bit boring.

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