Gesang – Jaakko Mäntymaa
Gitarre – Nico Mänttäri
Gitarre – Harri Sunila
Bassgitarre – Niko Lindman
Keyboard – Aapo Koivisto
Schlagzeug – Nico Heininen
On March 12th, 2021 Fata Morgana was released, thethirdalbumbyMarianas Rest, a Finnish Death / Doom band ofthe extra class, which will leave a lastingfootprint in 2021 withthisalbum. Wespoketothebandaboutthenewalbum, thefurtherdevelopmentofthepreviousalbum, therecord deal withNapalm Records, musicalpreferences, influencesandgoals.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: I would start with a “real talk” question because it is ubiquitous right now. How are you guys coping with the corona pandemic and its effects? How are you doing? Do you have severe restrictions in your own life as well as in your band life?
Marianas Rest / Nico: The situation in Finland has been quite good up until now when the numbers are going up and new restrictions are being planned. Luckily we have all stayed healthy and have been able to work somewhat normally. We have been able to rehearse and have band meetings etc. We sure miss the gigs though.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: I would like to switch to a more pleasant topic again, because this is about you, your music, your art. So we’re talking about the album Fata Morgana. How did it come about? How was the creative phase (songwriting, rehearsals, etc.)? Who is responsible for writing the songs or do you do this together?
Marianas Rest / Nico: The writing process was similar to the previous albums. We basically write all the songs together. We have some early demos that me, Harri (guitar) or our bass player Niko have done, with some basic ideas, maybe a riff or two, that we start working on as a group. Everyone can bring their own ideas and everyone is heard. For us I think this is the only way to work. We invite our producer also to the writing process when we have a “pre production camp” where we go through the songs and see what works and what doesn’t. So it’s definitely a group effort. I think this album took about a year or so from beginning to end.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: To me Fata Morgana is very different from your last album Ruins, which I like a lot. What did you do differently than before? The album name is also rather untypical, German fans tend to think of a song version of the band Excementory Grindfuckers, which have nothing to do with Death / Doom.
Marianas Rest / Nico: I have only heard the Lesson In Making Music or something by Excementory Grindfuckers. It is great though! 🙂 But yeah. I think the last album Ruins was more of a learning curve for the band. We did a lot of experiments on how the band should sound and I think that gives the album some variety, whether it is good or bad is up to the listener. I think this time we tried to focus on the things that worked the best on Ruins and tried to make the album a bit more coherent. That and having a bit more confidence on letting the songs develop more by themselves rather than trying to force them into something else.
The title. Well… it refers to the mirage that can be seen in extreme conditions, hot or cold. On this album it symbolises the distortion in the view a person has on the world. How your experiences and surroundings, for example, may alter the way you see things.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: Please tell us something about the lyrical themes on Fata Morgana. In my interpretation it is about longing, illusions, disillusions and hostile coldness, am I interpreting it correctly? Maybe you can go into the songs a little and talk about them.
Marianas Rest / Nico: I think there is no wrong way to interpret the lyrics. It’s nice that people bring their own experiences and reflect them to the lyrics. We try to leave some room for that. But from our perspective the lyrics end the story of the previous albums. The building feelings of emptiness in the middle of wealth and plenty that was the story of Horror Vacui, the first album. The mental breakdown that came on Ruins.
This album tells the story of our main character starting his path to exile, picking the pieces along the way. How he tries to find out what went wrong. As the album progresses he gets closer to the edge of the world towards the dramatic conclusion. Whatever happens to the character, I’m not sure. He may have a new beginning or he withers up and dies. I think it’s up to the listener.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: Musically, I find the entire album very emotional, very atmospheric, very dense and also melodic, but never loses its coldness and brutality. Sometimes that is a big balancing act. How did you do it?
Marianas Rest / Nico: I think it is a case of trial and error more than anything else. We just try to come up with parts that work well with the atmosphere and try them out. I think because we all get into the composition early on and no one has spent tens of hours on it on their own it’s easy to just throw stuff away if it doesn’t work and try something else.
Another huge deal for us is the fact that our producer Teemu Aalto has worked with us for so long that he instinctively tends to know what we are trying to achieve and can offer his ideas to the table also. He can bring something new to the atmosphere with different sounds and effects and on the turnside can strip down the soundscape if the instruments have a lot going on.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: You are now under contract with Napalm Records. The deal came about in September, in the middle of the pandemic. How did it come about in this extraordinary situation? Did Napalm Records approach you?
Marianas Rest / Nico: Actually we approached Napalm late 2019 and sent our old records to them. They were interested and asked for demos once we had new songs (since we didn’t have any ready at that point). Well, we sent the demos and waited for a reply but didn’t hear anything back. Naturally we thought the demos simply weren’t good enough and they had lost interest. Then someone of us went through our junk mail folder and found Napalms reply there, a month or two later. That was horrible. We thought there would be no way a label like Napalm would sign a band that can’t answer to a simple e-mail. But I’m glad our A&R Sebastian and Napalm didn’t lose hope! We had some meetings and discussions during the spring and summer of 2020 and finally inked the deal in September.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: What are you planning now with the album? Live concerts are currently rather difficult to realize. Do you have any live streams planned? If concerts can be possible again, when and where can the German fans see you? I would be very happy to see your show in one of the clubs or even at a festival. Do you already have contacts there?
Marianas Rest / Nico: We have released the first part of our Cabin sessions where we play the new album and its recorded live. Not a real streaming show but something along those lines. I don’t actually know whether we will do more “virtual gigs”, I guess everything depends on the pandemic. We would love to go on the road and see fans from different parts of the world and I know Germany will be among the first places we try to get on our schedule . So far we have no concrete plans or anything but I know there are things brewing on the sidelines.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: I have a few more questions about the scene and the metal world in Finland. How do you perceive the Finnish metal scene? How is the cohesion? Is the scene closely linked to each other?
Marianas Rest / Nico: I think Finland has a good scene. The general public is very accepting towards metal music. The recording, live shows and radio time are probably more available to metal bands than in some other countries and there is a lot of knowhow over here on how to run a touring metal band. As far as I understand and have experience the people in the scene are very helpful and try to push each other onwards. It’s very enjoyable to be part of the scene here.
Time For Metal / Dave S.: In your music (across all albums) I heard some musical Finnish characteristics again, e.g. in Insomnium, Dark The Suns or Swallow The Sun. Where do you see your influences? Do you let yourself be inspired or are you left out?
Marianas Rest / Nico: Personally I think my biggest Finnish musical influence has to be Sentenced. But other than that, when considering bands that influence me, I don’t necessarily see other Finnish bands playing such a big role. Although I do love bands like Swallow the Sun for instance.
The Finnish characteristics I think come from the music we are surrounded throughout our lives. You pick up some melodic ideas from lullabies, chants etc. that you unconsciously or consciously include in your music. It’s not something that we think about when composing, but somehow the songs end up sounding Finnish, or at least that’s what I’m told 😉
Time For Metal / Dave S.: We are at the end of the interview. I want to thank you guys for your time and your answers. It was my great honor. I also come out as a big fan of you and the new album Fata Morgana, since March 12th, 2021 it has been rotating on Spotify and now also on the turntable, I just had to access it. Would you like to say something else, add something? Do you want to give the German fans something else?
Marianas Rest / Nico: Stay strong, better days are ahead of us! Hopefully we will meet each other somewhere along the road and can have a beer or two or ten or twenty… 😉