About Me

Interview with Marianas Rest

Finland has the best Metal bands of the world. That’s a fact without a doubt. But that’s not all. It has nature, that can inspire everyone. Marianas Rest will release a new album, called “Fata Morgana”, via Napalm Records (12th March). Jaakko Mäntymaa (vocals) and Nico Mänttäri (guitars) talked to Metal Imperium about the album, the guests, nature and its importance and more.
If you like Nordic countries and everything related, feel free to read this interview and listen to the record!

M.I. - Hi there, guys. How are you? Welcome to Metal Imperium.

Jaakko Mäntymaa (vocals): Hi! We are having a beautiful winter weather here, so can’t really complain. 
Nico Mänttäri (guitars): Hello! Thank you for having us!

M.I. - First things first, it’s an amazing album. “Fata Morgana is a voyage into isolation. A passage to a place where minds get distorted by the cold.” What kind of voyage are you willing to take us on? To the coldest places of Finland? How hard was it coming up with this title?

Jaakko: It is a long trip into isolation, to the edge of the world. You can take it as a mental journey, a physical one or both. The place I tried to imagine, while writing lyrics, was Antarctica, which is one of the most hostile places on earth. 
The narrator has been in the cold so long, that it has started to distort his view of the world and that is why he wanders off into nothing. He doesn’t see things that are good or beautiful anymore. Along his way, he ponders his past life, choices and mistakes that made him the way he is. When he reaches the end, he finds himself again. Or this is one way of looking at it. I like to think that every interpretation is as good as the other. 

M.I. - Congrats on signing with Napalm Records, one of the most important underground labels. How did feel when you signed a contract with them?

Nico: Scared, definitely scared. But also, great. It's good to see someone else besides us, who sees something in this band and in our music.
Jaakko: It was a huge surprise to us, something we have hoped for a long time. When it finally happened, it was hard to believe it was true. But here we are, and everything has worked very well so far. The people are very nice and professional.

M.I. - This album marks the final chapter of a trilogy that began with “Horror Vacui” and “Ruins”. Was it difficult to write the end of it? Will you consider making another trilogy?

Jaakko: The story has personal aspects, so eventually the lyrics kind of wrote themselves. Having a concept to begin with, makes it easier. The songs had a cold but somehow beautiful feel to them straight away, so it felt a good idea to place the story amidst snow and frost. 

M.I. - These series talk about themes of isolation, eventual mental collapse and emergence from that woeful state, respectively. Did you write about more themes, since we are facing a pandemic? How are you dealing with it?

Jaakko: I think we have had it easy since all of us - families included - have managed to stay healthy. But, of course, it is frightening to see how easily society descends into a brink of chaos. There are plenty of people out there who are trying to take advantage of this situation, which doesn’t make it easier. 
Of course, this all has been very frustrating, because it would have been great to get on the road and play these new songs live, but what can you do? You just have to make the best of it. All in all, it is a great thing to have something like a band to keep your head together during all of this. We can keep ourselves busy and that is a good thing.

M.I. - This album is very much influenced by the Finnish nature and its beauty. Therefore, you delivered such beautiful melodies. Do Finnish bands go to forests, to get inspiration, specially you? What more inspires you?

Nico: I believe some Finnish musicians do go and wander in the forests looking for inspiration. I have to say that it is not a huge thing for me, personally. I find my inspiration better in my typical everyday life. 
Jaakko: It is a good thing to have some sort of mental image, when writing new material. And Finland has plenty to give to Metal bands in this department. 

M.I. - How did you create this awesome atmospheric guitar tones and gloomy melodic death notes, combined with Doom Metal, that makes the listener imagine that are in Finland? What guitars, pedals did you use?

    • We use a few of different brand traditional Les Paul and SG -type guitars. 
    • On this album, for all guitar sounds, we used a Peavey 6505, for amplification.
    • Also, we had an assortment of pedals: Some old fuzz-pedals, oldest I think were from the seventies or something, and a variety of delays and some reverbs. 
Our producer Teemu, of course, played a big role in creating the overall sounds.  
Jaakko: And, of course, we had Harris’ (guitar) Meatporridgegrinder, which is a key element in our sound.

M.I. - This melodic melancholy album was produced by Teemu Aalto (Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum) and recorded and mixed by Teemu Aalto, at Teemu Aalto Music Productions and mastered by Svante Forsbäck, at Chartmakers West, who received a Grammy nomination for Candlemass, feat. Tony Iommi, as Best Metal Performance. Did you feel any pressure, working with such famous people? How did it go?

Nico: We have worked with Teemu and Svante from the first album onwards, so working with them, this time around, came naturally. Of course, the first time we worked with them, I remember us all being a bit nervous, but they are both very easy going and nice people. So, once we started working, it fell into place pretty quickly. 
Jaakko: Teemu has been around so long that I kind of see him as a seventh member of our band. He knows very well what we try to accomplish, so we rarely need to explain ourselves to him. A very easy guy to work with. 

M.I. - Kjetil Karlsen is the responsible for the cover of “Fata Morgana”. How did he manage to capture the essence of your minds and did he take the photo, at your hometown, Kotka? The images he took for each song, will be included on the record?

Jaakko: Actually, Kjetil already had taken the photos, when we approached him. His work goes perfectly with what we were doing and, luckily, he felt the same way. Kjetil is from Norway, so I imagine most of the pictures were taken there. And yes! There are eight images, one for every song and all of them will be in the CD printing. 

M.I. - Let’s talk about the guests, shall we? Cellist Timo Virkkala and Lindsay Schoolcraft (ex-Cradle Of Filth) helped on this record. Why did you choose these guests and not others? Was it a challenge for them?

Jaakko: We have worked with Timo before, so he was a no brainer. A very professional and nice dude. I am pretty sure that we will do this again with him on the next record as he always delivers. Hope to get to play some gigs with him as well when the world opens up again. 
Nico: Lindsay was an idea from our producer, when we started thinking that we could use some clean female vocals. I’m very glad Teemu presented us the idea and was able to lure her into this project. She is such a professional. 

M.I. - “Glow From The Edge” is the first single and, on that song, Lindsay sings. It’s very mysterious and mystical. Does it have any symbology behind it? Which one? What will the next single be?

Nico: I think the symbology comes down to the listener. How do you see it? Personally, I find that it may be the glow that lures you over the edge or an echo of something that could have been… either way, I guess. 
Considering the next single, I’m afraid I can’t give that information just yet.

M.I. - “Horror Vacui” was released via Sliptrick Records, “Ruins” via Inverse Records and “Fata Morgana” via Napalm Records. What are the main differences between these labels?

Jaakko: Size is the biggest difference. Sliptrick and Inverse are both small labels, which both treated us well. But, of course, it is a different thing in being on the roster of such a distinguished label as Napalm.

M.I. - On the same day of the release of the album, you will rerelease “Ruins” on vinyl, via Napalm Records as well. What differences will fans find from the previous release?

Nico: The difference is mostly on the artwork. The songs are the same as is also the production. Of course, the mastering has to be done specifically for the vinyl but music wise that's pretty much it. We have had a lot of inquiries regarding a “Ruins” vinyl, and finally we have something to offer. 

M.I. - “Glow From The Edge” is featured on the Spotify’s playlist: “Metallia Suomesta”. How do they choose the bands and songs? By quality and streaming? What is your opinion?

Nico: I can’t say that I know a lot about Spotify song policies, but “Metallia Suomesta” is a Spotify curated playlist, where Spotify editors select songs based on what has been pitched to them. With that in mind, I think it's a combination of both where quality at least plays a significant role. 

M.I. - You’ve toured with Dark Tranquillity. You also toured in Europe in 2019. “Ruined in Europe” was the tour and you visited Latvia, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, to name a few. How was the tour with Dark Tranquillity? Do you think that this album might open more doors to tour, such as Portugal? Which bands/singers would you like to tour with?

Jaakko: Actually, we just played a couple of shows with Dark Tranquillity, so you can’t really say we’ve toured with them. That being said, they were amazing gigs for a young band such as ourselves. We really had not played in front of audiences that big, so we were pretty much scared shitless before the shows. But everything went really well, and the guys of DT were really awesome.
Of course, we hope to get to as many places as possible when it becomes possible, and Portugal is one of them. Never been there, but I’ve heard great things about your country. So really looking forward to it!

M.I. - Thanks so much for this interview and much success for the album. Any words for Metal Imperium and the fans, please?

Jaakko: Stay healthy, stay sane, drink Pople and listen to Black Metal!
Nico: Stay safe and hopefully we’ll see you somewhere down the road!!!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda