Marianas Rest – A Celebration of SadnessSaturday, 6th March 2021
Slowly moving up the ranks since their formation in 2013, Marianas Rest capture that dreary, melancholic vibe that pulls us towards melodic death/doom metal. Jumping over to Napalm Records for their third release, the upcoming Fata Morgana (pre-order HERE), the band continues on their ascent to be one of the strongest and most consistent acts in the field. Fata Morgana displays a potent sense of gloom, beckoning the listener to investigate further. As such, we reached out to vocalist Jaakko Mäntymaa and guitarist Nico Mänttäri to get their thoughts on all aspects of the release.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that Fata Morgana compares to your other two releases?
Nico Mänttäri: I think it’s probably a bit more atmospheric. You can hear that it’s also a bit more relaxed. We didn’t try to force anything so it’s more free-following. I don’t want to use the word ‘mature’ [laughs], but maybe I have to.
Jaakko Mäntymaa: When I listen to the record, I can hear that we weren’t trying to force the music into different directions. Had this been a previous record, we might have tried to force the songs into more of a harsh direction, but this was the right choice for this time.
Dead Rhetoric: Was there anything that you learned from your last releases from either a musical or business perspective, knowing you put them out on separate record labels as well, that you applied to Fata Morgana?
Jaakko Mäntymaa: On the business end, I have to say that we learned that we need help [laughs]. We don’t know what we are doing, business-wise. Without help from the record label, I don’t know what we would have done. Our last album kind of went on its own weight as far as it could go. But with a bigger label on that release, maybe it would have been bigger. Musically, we don’t think of those things. I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to think what might be a hit or what wouldn’t be a hit. You can always hear when the song comes naturally and it feels good. Then everything is usually fine. The biggest lesson from the last album we learned is that however big of a mess the song is, it usually comes together fine – we didn’t take in any of the pressure this time.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about the cover art for Fata Morgana?
Nico Mänttäri: We’d like to say that it was our own idea and that the visions came from our own heads but all of the pictures were made before the music was ready. The guy who took the pictures – one evening, when the songs were in the demo phase and we were figure out what the songs would be like, we searched the internet to come up with ideas. None of us in the band can draw worth a shit, we are not very good at that sort of thing. But when we came across those pictures from Kjetil Karlsen, we knew that would be it if he was willing, and luckily he liked our music and thought it was a good idea. So we picked one picture for each song from his huge catalog.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s important when you are trying to craft a feeling of melancholy and sorrow?
Jaakko Mäntymaa: I think it’s a subconscious thing. We are not in any way melancholic dudes [laughs]. It just flows through when we start playing. It’s probably something in the water here I think. Whenever I hear a good melody or a good chord progression, it has this sad aspect to it.
Nico Mänttäri: I always felt that this band was like of like a ventilation system for all of the crap in our everyday lives. We get to come together and laugh, and make music. Maybe it’s all the shit in our lives that’s just filtered into the music. But it’s a natural thing. We don’t know how to make happy music. I think it’s the same for a lot of Finnish bands. Not a lot of bands that we know that make this kind of music are melancholic in the backrooms or gigs – it’s always a happy thing. A celebration of the sadness in our lives. It’s an important part also, that you cannot be happy all the time. If you think that’s possible, then you have a few screws loose. You need to have the yin and the yang.
Dead Rhetoric: I see a lot of pictures of snow and forests on the Facebook page. What images do you feel come to mind with Marianas Rest’s music?
Nico Mänttäri: On this record, I had a mental picture of Antarctica and of a blizzard – extreme cold. I don’t know how it went that way. But it’s something in the songs that pulled me towards those images. On the previous album, it was more like a city burned down in a war, or something like that. It has a lot to do with the song with the mental image that comes to mind. We don’t have to look like this or that – it varies by album.
Dead Rhetoric: You guys mentioned before about the melancholic piece being natural. What do you draw as inspiration for the lyrics for Marianas Rest?
Jaakko Mäntymaa: I usually need to have a concept of some sort before I can start to write. I need to narrow it down so that I don’t get distracted. On all of our albums, many of the things have come from some sort of issue in my private life that could be told using metaphors or allegories. It needs to come from me when I write lyrics. I can’t tell stories or create fantasy situations. It’s good that some people can – I have tried and it always ends up sounding like crap. There’s a small part of me in every lyrics I’ve wrote. That being said, I don’t do this on my own. People can pitch in and we make it sound like something we can all get behind as a band. It’s not my personal manifest. It needs to fit the songs.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you like about melodic death/doom?
Nico Mänttäri: The sensation of being hit by a tidal wave. You can see it coming but there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s like a bass solo [laughs]. It always hurts like hell. I think good examples of this sort of music, they feel overwhelming when you hear them. I can’t get that sort of emotion from other styles of music.
Jaakko Mäntymaa: It’s funny that soundwise, you can achieve it in a lot of different ways, but the goal is usually the same. It has everything to do with the mood. That’s what we are all about. If we lose the mood or feel, there’s nothing to be done. When we are playing live, we have had a hard time trying to look a bit more like our music. We can’t tell jokes or things like that. We try to tone that done, because people were telling us that it kind of fucks up the whole thing – even if it’s a good joke. It’s like we are pissing on our songs.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s planned for the rest of this year?
Nico Mänttäri: We had a lot of different plans, and none of them exist because of the current situation. It’s hard to make plans, because everything is changing. We can say that we have something coming live – one way or another – when the record comes out. It probably isn’t going to be a straight stream show. It will be something like that but not necessarily a streaming gig. After that, we are thinking very hard about what to do after the record comes out. It’s kind of impossible to plan a tour now because it’s not realistic, but we will see. It’s not an easy thing. If we can’t do anything else, we will write more music, definitely. We already have new songs, but when we get to really make them, it might not be until the spring.