A bit more than a year ago I had the opportunity to see a great band in small village nearby. This band has been going on ever since and now we have also had the opportunity to talk about the changes that has been going on for all of us.
Me Mark had a great chat and this is what his opinions were on some various things going on in the world and with the band.
Hey Mark howʼs it going? Last time we met was on your last tour through Belgium more than a year ago. What has THE MAENSION been up to since then?
Hey Andy itʼs been a crazy year! Youʼd think that when Satan unleashed the Plague, metal musicians would be spared, but apparently not! We had to cancel two tours and we still canʼt see the light at the end of the tunnel.
How did you keep yourself inspired during this Covid lockdown?
Itʼs been quite an interesting timeline of events. I came to Italy from Los Angeles back in February to record the drums for the new album, I was supposed to be there for a month or two at the most, but then the plague hit us and they closed the borders so I ended up staying in Italy the whole time since. I also kinda felt safer in Europe to be frank, LA is the last place Iʼd wanna be during Armageddon! So I ended up recording the entire new album in Italy which was a great way to keep myself sane (well, as sane as I could be) and Iʼm now close to the mixing stage.
Thatʼs great news! What can you tell us about the new album?
Itʼll be called ITALIA, and itʼs a 23 songs concept album, split in two acts.
I created several characters and unfolded their story throughout the record. It was a very inspiring approach and something I had never done before. Itʼs also the heaviest album Iʼve written to date, with some really brutal songs that Iʼm even surprised I wrote!
What made you go so heavy for this album?
I wrote the album last year when I had some personal turmoil that made me really angry. To add to that many of the people I considered friends ended up back stubbing me rather then supporting me, which further fueled the rage I unleashed in the album.
Another big factor was the personality of the characters themselves. As I said this was a
new writing approach for me and I choose to give the lead characters their own voice and
their own look rather then mine. I designed realistic masks and costumes for each character and since each has a specific storyline I found myself imagining “how would a guy with that look and storyline sound like?” and that opened up a new world of sounds that I never considered before. It was a very interesting way forward and one that I found
very gratifying artistically.
So would you say this is a departure from your previous sound?
Yes and no. This is our 4th album in 10 years of career and we switched things around on every album we put out. We tour a lot and so by the time I get back into the studio at the
end of an album/tour cycle, we played those songs a million times, and for me as an artist I
need to keep reinventing myself to stay inspired and honest to my craft. So in this sense our fans came to expect a new era for each new album. Nonetheless both our sound and image have evolved quite a bit on this last album and it will be interesting to see how the fans will react to it.
What genre would you say this album is?
I donʼt think itʼs my job to define my music in terms of genre. I like for my band to live in that realm of heavy metal where we float between sub-genres within an album and from one album to another. I get really tired of listening to bands who have one sound and one kind of songs only.
When I look at bands like Gojira or Mastodon on the other hand, I canʼt quite say what genre they are exactly and thatʼs why I appreciate their music so much, they do their own thing and thatʼs my approach too.
Very cool, that gets me quite curious to hear it and see what you came up with! Do you have a release date in mind?
Thatʼs a tough one, things are very uncertain in the music industry right now. Our managers are gonna look for a new label to put out this record and that process might take a while in this climate, so itʼs quite hard to say. My wish is to be able to release it next year so weʼll see what happens. Hopefully the plague will be gone by then and we can all return to head-bang in crowded venues again!
I surely hope so Mark! It was great chatting with you, Iʼm looking forward to hear the new album and see you perform again!
Thanks man, ‘til next time.