Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what were/are your goals with it:
After the release of Laniakea in 2016, which was a concept-album set in the prehistoric ages, we wanted to see how far we would go with a new idea. The new record, MEDIUM, is a record about the separation of the body and the mind. It is made of two songs that make up one side of a vinyl record each: one is the Body, the other is the Mind. The idea is that while you can listen to the songs by themselves, like you would do with a normal record, you can also play both of them at the same time, and reunite the body and the mind into harmony! It’s really a new experience for the listener, and it was a real challenge for the band and everyone involved in the production of the record.
Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
The band has always been into the progressive side of music, some of us more into the “classic” prog genre and some more into the modern of doomy side of the force. However we have evolved lately by maturing our sound, by exploring new kind of textures and arrangements, and by always taking our time within the songs to properly set the atmosphere we need for the best immersion. So this new album is probably the softest, but also the truest to our sound. It sounds very organic and warmer than the previous one.
How does your writing process normally work out?
The writing in the band is really specific. We usually lock up ourselves together in a place for a week or two, and compose pretty puch 24/7 during that time. Every band member is involved in the composition and arrangements of all instruments. We also write the lyrics together. Especially with Medium and its superposition concept, we have to record every little idea, riff and arrangement and test it in the context of the album. Technology allows us to really expand the possibilities: while everything on the album is played by instruments, a complex project like Medium probably couldn’t be done without a computer.
What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?
We hope the challenge we set ourselves with this concept will attract the attention of listeners around the world. We really tried something different here and we hope people will notice that. While it is a complex and experimental record, it is probably the most accessible to non-metal listeners as well, so we have started to think it could reach new audiences that are interested in art in general. We also work a lot on the “live” side on the band: we have been incorporating contemporary dance into our live shows for a year of two, and try to create real ritual atmospheres during our shows. So we hope Medium will bring us to new places to play this show!
What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?
The biggest influences might be the band Tool, and probably Gojira which is the greatest french band of all time! Outside of that, we all listen to a lot of different stuff that probably gets reincarnated in some other form into Mantra’s music. But we try to stay true to our sound and direction, and not to pick too much stuff from the great music that’s out there and that we enjoy!
What’s next for you?
The MEDIUM era begins, we hope to get great feedback from the record release. We are working on a pretty crazy music video that should come out soon after the release. We are also planning a new tour so stay tuned for that too!