Hi Mads and MANTICORA, first off I just want to congratulate you
on your new album “8 Deadly Sins”. How does it feel to finally
have a new album out?
there ......... And
Well, it feels really good. But it always does. Even though this
is our fourth album I still get the same kick out of it. A little
like a 10 year old on Christmas Eve I guess. But it has been a
long time waiting again. Two years is just way too long between
albums. But last year we had the small tour and other single gigs,
and were using most of the time rehearsing for these gigs, and we
had a little break down in the writing process earlier, but when
all these things had passed, we actually wrote all the new
material pretty fast.
new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
start from the beginning we have to go back to 1996. Lars and
Kristian had broken up with their band (Fear Itself). And Lars (whom
I knew from the record store in witch I worked) came and asked me
if I wanted to to join this power metal outfit that they had just
started. As you can guess I said yes. I left Rip and Tear and a
Megadeth jam band, and we found two guys with nothing, except for
a rehearsal room and their guitars. We were not even close to
being a band. We had no bass player, and we had no songs. So we
started jamming things that just came up that first day, and we
actually wrote the entire song: "Dead End Solution". We
asked my brother in law Rene (Neo) to play bass, and we started
writing like maniacs. In the beginning, we were still playing some
of the old Fear Itself songs, because we wanted to get out and
play as fast as possible. In 1997 we recorded our debut self
financed mini-cd: "Dead End Solution". We used it to
shop around to the record labels with the help of newly started
Intromental Management, but we also sold 1000 copies of it. In
1998 we signed with Greek label Black Lotus, and we also added
lead guitarist Fleming Schultz. In 1999, one week before going in
to the studio we added keyboard player Jeppe Eg. "Roots Of Eternity"
were recorded in Aabenraa with Jacob Hansen. In 2000 we parted
with Black Lotus. And started shopping our new demo around; later
we signed with Italian label Scarlet Records. In 2001 and we
recorded the album: "Darkness With Tales To Tell", still
with J.H. in Aabenraa. Shortly after playing ProgPower in Holland,
Neo left the band, he was replaced by Kasper Gram. In 2002, three
weeks before entering the studio to record "Hyperion"
with J.H., we replaced Fleming Shultz with Martin Arendal. Keyboarder
Jeppe had announced that he would leave the band after the
recordings of "Hyperion". He did however play the some
gigs with us after that. For the tour in 2003 Martin Jørgensen
temporally replaced Jeppe Eg. In early 2004 we recorded "8 Deadly
Sins" with Tommy Hansen producing it, and with Finn Zierler
playing the keyboards.
Line up: Lars, Kristian, Kasper, Mads and as live and studio
guitarist Martin Arendal (who isn’t part of the songwriting
process). Martin Jørgensen plays keyboards live, and Finn Zierler
on the album.
What are your expectations for the new album?
ha ha. Our expectations are always high. And we always say same
things. Like – this time it’s going to be great cause’
we’ve got better material, we’ve got to have a better label
bla bla bla. But this time I actually believe it. Massacre Records
are by far the biggest label we have been working with. We can
already see the changes. Better promotions, more samplers, and
hope, that we can sell enough cd’s to get a good tour,
supporting a great band. And then I hope that if people like this
cd they might say: what else have these guys done. And the buy
some of the old cd’s, which I think deserves a better destiny,
based on the reviews they got.
How has your new album been received by the media?
far we couldn’t wish for much more. We have only received four
reviews, but they have all been either top score or just a little
lower. Also all the interviews we done so far, have praised the
album. But we’re looking forward to all the smaller Internet
reviews, to see what they say. Cause there are so many of them and
some of them has a lot of readers. And too many bad reviews on the
Internet can easily destroy a good review in even the biggest mag.
When I listen your music, I think of it as power metal with an
symphonic edge - how do you feel about that description?
I have started not caring about descriptions and labels any more.
There are so many bands and so many styles, and even more bands
that mixes them. So we have decided in the band, that when some
one asks us what kind of music we play, we simply call it
powermetal. Not that I have anything against your description,
because we do have symphonic edges. But we also mix with thrash
metal, progressive stuff, European and American metal. And some
people then comes up a description a mile long and no one have a
chance to really know what this band sounds like. So Manticora …
well we’re powermetal.
On your last album you dealt with Dan Simmons epos “The Hyperion
Cantos”, what is the concept about this time, and is it free
invented or is there a deeper story behind it?
This time we came up with the concept ourselves.
Deadly Sins" is meant to ask the question. Does God exist…..?
or is he just a fictive person with the biggest fan base on the
planet. The Bible speaks of seven deadly sins, but this guy wakes
up at the hospital, stigmatized eight times in different vital
organs. Not completely sure, why this has happened to him (he
thinks, that he have, at least, tried to be a good Christian
through his life) he goes back in time to see if there is
something else, that could have caused this rather massive
the songs, then takes us through the periods of his life where he
finds, that he has been real asshole. When he comes back to the
present, still in his deathbed, he sees, that deadly sins are
individual, and based upon things as conscience and fanatics. But
even though we hear him actually regretting his deadly sins, he
still asks; did I really sin. And I think, that is whats kills him.
Feel free to make up your own ideas of what his crime against life
is and why he is punished so hard…
Musically you always seem to be put in the same category as Blind
Guardian - surely they’ve inspired you, but does it make your
proud or a bit frustrated?
the beginning, I thought it was cool to sound like Blind Guardian,
but I think we have slowly moved away from that path. When we
write music, we never sit down and say, Hey we want to sound like
B.G. or some other band. We just write, what comes out of our
heads, only thinking; do we like it or not. Some times it sounds
like B.G., but I think most of it sounds like Manticora, and that
makes me proud. What does make me a little frustrated is that some
people keep saying; you sounds like B.G. as their only comment. I
think when you look at the bands last two albums ("Nightfall"
and "A Night At The Opera" against "Hyperion"
and "8 Deadly Sins") I don’t think, that they have
that much in common.
On this album you’ve worked together with Finn Zierler (Beyond
Twilight) - was he involved in the song-writing process or was he
merely hired help?
he was not involved in the actual song writing. But he did write
and arrange all keyboard parts, recorded and programmed all of the
great orchestrations and all the lead parts (with a few exceptions
- Tommy Hansen is credited for additional keyboards).
we really hopes that in the future, he might be involved even more
in the song writing. Cause he has one of the sickest minds, when
it comes to composing dark, yet beautiful music.
I think the addition of Finn’s keyboards on this album, has made
it overall sound a bit more dark - was that intentionally?
yes indeed. As I mentioned above, Finn has a brain, that is
constantly working on dark mode. He has music inside his head all
the time, and when he writes, it goes fast as hell, and it is
usually the same that comes out; hell on earth. We had all been
listening to Beyond Twilight for years and has always agreed that
it is a masterpiece. So when we needed a new keyboarder to record
the album, he was the first and the only one we asked.
He shares the same management as us, and whenever he is in
Copenhagen, we like to hang out together. And we will ask him
again and again and again…….
The album was brilliantly produced by Tommy Hansen in his
Jailhouse Studios in Horsens - how was it to work with him? And
how did you “survive” living in province during the recordings?
time we had in the studio were both extremely fun (people that
knows us really well knows, that we can have a hard time being
serious), but they were also frustrating. We were locked up in
this house for a month in a town, and we didn't know anything
about, what was going on or where to go. So we usually ended up
just drinking a lot of beers, playing PS2 or watching DVD's. But
that is only fun for so long. For the first time during a
recording session, we started to get home sick, so it helped a
little, when we had some friends and girl friends joining us for a
couple of days.
with Tommy Hansen is a really great experience. I have never met a
more professional guy, than him. His knowledge about music and
production is just scary. He helped us arrange harmony vocals and
choirs and he actually sings on the album as well.
he has an idea of what something should sound like and you don’t
agree, you’ve better come up with some really good arguments,
cause he can get really carried away, when he's producing and
mixing. And like Finn, he is just as passionate about it and keeps
telling, that he hears this here and something else there. The
only thing, that beats this is the two of them together. That is
both scary and fun.
have to try out every possible way of doing things before choosing
what to do, while we try to hold them on a leash to keep them from
drowning it in trumpets, bells and flutes and any other instrument
they can come up with.
Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to
have a great cover?
talent Mathias Norén has done the artwork.
I think that as long as you are a rather unknown band, the cover
is extremely important.
Example. Would you have bought the black album by Metallica if you
didn’t know them…?
know that I wouldn’t. We actually had another cover to start
with. It was very different from this one. It was supposed to take
out all excitement, and leave it up to the listener to create the
pictures in their own heads, but we were not sure, that people
knew us well enough to say; wow that’s the new Manticora album,
and then buy it. Luckily for us M.N. had this cover lying around
and offered it to us. And we think that it fits the concept
Do you have any touring plans? And if so will Finn be joining you
on the tour?
we don’t have anything planned yet. But our management is doing
everything they can to get us out on a big tour.
are working on at least two or three specific tours right now,
that we could go on. So far we have not had the luck. But I am
sure that something’s gonna come up. About Finn. We have
absolutely no idea, if he has the time to join us on a tour. I
know, that he is working on his own stuff right now, and he is a
perfectionist, so no one knows, if he is finished by the time that
we goes on tour. But you can be sure, that if he has the time and
think, that it could be fun, then he is the first one were gonna
ask. Otherwise we’ll use Martin Jørgensen, who played with us
on the last tours and gigs, and who is a close friend of us. He
has his own band called Sworn, that you should check out, when
their album gets releases sometime next year.
“8 Deadly Sins” is your fourth album and you are now on your
fourth record label as well. Why? And how do you feel about the
co-operation with Massacre Records label?
it’s “only” our third (we did two albums with Scarlet, 1
with Black Lotus, and the first EP was released through our
mistake - bad counting on my behalf - sorry, Kenn)
Black Lotus Records in Greece simply did not have the ability to
make anything happened at all. Christ, they didn’t even have a
homepage or an e-mail address. The only way you could communicate
with these guy’s was to send them a fax or a letter……? And
when you did try to contact them, they never answered. They also
completely failed to live up to their promises (including
records is an okay label to start of with. But they simply don’t
have the funds or the will to take everything a step further. So
when the contract was fulfilled, we said thanks for this time it
has been great, but we have to move on. They said; you’re
welcome. By deleting all signs of the band on their homepage.
have already been talking about Massacre Records, and they seems
to be very professional. All the promotion they have done so far
looks good, and the future looks bright.
The internet is a very important source for many metal fans - how
do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other
have our own homepage (www.manticora.dk)
and we have a homepage on Intromental Management. There we try to
inform people as good and as fast as we can about the things going
on in the Manti-camp. Everything from releases to gigs. Answering
fan mail and so on.
think the internet is very important as all most everybody have
access. We can also see, that the number of hits on our own page
is rising all the time. Personally, when I look for a band to find
out more about them, it annoys, if them don’t have some kind of
homepage. I usually gives up on the band a little faster then.
How do you see the Danish metal scene at the moment?
what scene is that?
No, I think, that there is a lot of good bands out there, but we
don’t get a lot of back up from anywhere. There is no economical
support from the state as there is in Sweden, there is no support
in the media, except from the ones that only deals with metal (which
usually are the webzines). And most of the smaller venues has so
bad equipment (due to the lack of funds), that the sound is
horrible. So I think it sucks. And it has done for all the time I
have been playing and it probably always will. Sigh…
To finish things off, could you pls. make a Top 5 over the 5
albums, that have had the biggest impact on you?
a hard one. There are so many great albums, but I will try:
- Master Of Puppets (The best album ever. Aggressive, melodic
- Operation: Mindcrime (In my everlasting search of the
perfect melody, Queensrÿche delivers)
Theater - Images And Words (The perfect mix of prog. and
Twilight - The Devils Hall Of Fame (Dark, evil and so
- Keepers Of The Seven Keys, Pt. 1 (The essence of pure power
Thank you Mads
for this great interview, and do check our Manticora's great new
album: "8 Deadly Sins".