Emerging from the Finnish coastal town of Kotka, melodic death metal strikers MARIANAS REST unleash their third studio album, Fata Morgana, on March 12, 2021 via Napalm Records. As I liked their latest album I decided to interview them. Jaakko (Vocals) & Nico M (Guitar) where so kind to answer my questions!
You started in 2013. How do you look back at it?
Jaakko: We started out pretty much with no goals. We just wanted to have fun together and see where this thing takes us. I remember that the only thing we agreed on was that we would try to improve constantly and when we could not do it anymore, that would be the right time to quit. So far we have managed to fulfill that agreement.
Coming from Finland it must be hard to jump out of the crowd of metal bands and reach out to other countries. How do you see it?
Nico: Yeah, there are tons of metal bands in here and there is a lot of competition. It can even be quite difficult to get a show booked outside your own town because the venues get flooded with inquiries. On the other hand ‘cause there are so many metal bands there is also a lot of knowledge floating around. For example in this part of the world it is not difficult to find a studio with a producer who at least has the general idea of how metal is recorded or a venue with proper backlines.
What bands influenced you the most?
Nico: Personally I absorb a lot of my stuff from Alice in Chains, but as a band or the general sound concept, maybe Paradise Lost?
Jaakko: Sentenced made a huge impact on me back in the day. Their uncompromising style, raw nihilism and pitch black humour is just something no other band can match. I think you can hear a lot of Sentenced echoes in the atmosphere of our stuff.
I dropped the name of 2 bands: Draconian and Red Moon Architect, is it appropriate? As the promo talk of your record company is talking about some other bands …?
Nico: I definitely understand why these two names come to mind. Although I got introduced to Draconian maybe a year ago I see that there are some similarities in our music. Same goes for Red Moon Architect. I really like the music, but still haven't found the time to really dig into their material.
How was it to work with Lindsay Schoolcraft? How did you get in contact with her and record her part (in COVID-19 times)? Are there more plans with her?
Nico: When we discussed having a guest vocalist our producer suggested we contact Lindsay as he had worked with her before. The recording was done so that we sent her the material and some demo ideas on how it could be sung, but other than that she did her parts from her own studio. Everything went to the album straight from her first recordings without any revising, she is such a professional.
Jaakko: Her voice was perfect for these songs. Hopefully we will get to work with her in the future too, but it really depends on the upcoming song material. It wouldn’t be wise to force anything just because we did it last time. And of course it would be a cool thing to get to do a gig together someday, but the situation being as it is, there really is no point to think about it now.
How are you going through this COVID-19 era? As you can’t perform on stage, can’t even record or rehearse (at least not where I live), what kept you busy all the way since COVID-19 came into our life?
Nico: The situation in Finland has been a bit easier. Or at least so far. We have been able to do rehearsals and were able to carry out the album recordings pretty much normally. With the exception of having only one or two members at the studio at the same time. The album release has kept us busy with all the promo work but still there is huge yearning to hit the stages. That is why we do this in the first place.
Jaakko: I think the main thing is to just try and keep yourself occupied so you don’t have to focus on covid bullshit all the time. So far we have been able to do that, but of course the situation is very hard on the whole industry. Whole careers are being wiped away as we speak.
You also managed to get a cello into the recording studio (Timo Virkkala), that was a very smart move according to me as it gives the right touch. How did you work it out?
Nico: Well… we first came in contact with Timo on our previous album recordings when he played some cello lines on that album and we all thought that it fit our music perfectly. So when we started writing songs on the new album we had it in the back of our heads and already at that point started figuring out if or where the cello could be. When it was time to hit record we knew who to contact. Timo is a great player and all and all a good guy so we asked him to play the parts on this album too.
You managed to record some video’s, how was it (gathering with 3 people is forbidden in my country: Belgium)? What is your favourite one?
Nico: Oh, you can’t select your favorite child. :) I love all of the videos.
At the time of the videoshoots the situation in Finland was still rather good and there were no such strict limitations to gatherings.
Jaakko: Actually the only setback was that we had to change our main actor on South of Vostok video a day before we started to shoot because he came in contact with an infected person. Other than that we didn’t have problems. I think the videos complete each other and it is really hard to pick one. They both turned out really well.
What is Horrokseen about? Is the right translation horror scene? Why did you make such a short song out of it?
Jaakko: The spoken word part is taken from a study paper about frostbites. It is one of the oldest descriptions of what happens to people in extreme cold and it was written by a doctor of Napoleon Bonaparte, when he invaded Russia a couple of hundred years back. So yeah, I think you could call it a horror scene from real life.
Nico: Actually the initial idea for it was to be even shorter. We just wanted to have a melodic interlude to give the album some rhythm. When we were finished with the recording of the song it still somehow ended being almost five minutes long.
Jaakko: It would seem that we just can’t make hit length songs even if we try.
The lyrics of Advent of Nihilism could be part a serious philosophy debate. Where did you find the inspiration for it? Of which sentence are you the most proud and why?
Jaakko: There actually are a lot of references and short citations of philosophers in that song and the name of the song is taken from Nietzsche. There is a legendary quote from the tv-series True Detective in there too. Gotta love Rust Cohle. Nihilistic philosophic ponderings are the basic fuel for our songs, so this was kind of a “best of” compilation.
There is no point comparing my own contribution to the all stars. That being said, I like the verses in chorus. Soothing and eerie at the same time:
We are a river
That wants to reach the end
Soothing lullaby to silence
The voice that tells you to act
What lies south of Vostok? How was it to sing in your own language in the beginning of this song?
Jaakko: I think Finnish fits perfectly for metal and of course it is easier to express yourself in your mothers tongue.
South of Vostok is a very cold and hostile place. The name comes from a Russian research station located in Antarctica. Underneath it there is a lake, buried under kilometers of ice. It is an analogy of the main character of the album, hardened by cold. And still, somewhere under all that ice there is still life left.
As you are completely new to me (and am only into doom since I saw Draconian on stage and reviewed Red Moon Architect), what else should I have had to ask you?
Jaakko: You did well! Can’t think of anything in particular :)
Any clue about what the future will bring you? Live stream gigs, real live gigs, more video’s, more recording …
Jaakko: Hopefully all of the above. There is at least one video still to come soon and we will be playing the new songs live and record the incident, so at least that is happening in the near future. Hopefully we will be able to hit the real stages too later this year but right now there is no chance of that.
And if we can’t get to play live, go on tour and all that stuff, we are just going to make new songs. Lots of work to be done!