-- Marianas Rest gets shredded! --

Stijn Daneels
We first got in touch with the Finnish melodic death & doom metal band Marianas Rest when we were shredding through their second album called “Ruins,” released in 2019 (read our review of that album: https://www.belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/210). The band once again came to our attention when Napalm Records invited us to do a Skype interview with vocalist Jaakko Mäntymaa & guitarist Nico Mänttäri.

So we got in touch with Jaakko & Nico to talk about their signing to Napalm Records, the making of their new “Fata Morgana” album & the music video for “Glow Of The Edge” and finally the guys offer some inspiring advice to all up and coming metal acts.

Interview conducted and written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
BMS: Hello Jaakko & Nico! It’s great to have you here on Skype. First off, congratulations for getting a contract with Napalm Records. They have plenty of A-list metal bands on their roster and I’m sure you must be thrilled to be part of this prestigious label.
Nico: Thank you! Well, our journey to Napalm Records’ roster is an interesting one to say the least. About a bit over a year ago we went to a gig headlined by Amorphis and afterwards we had a couple of beers at my place and I got the idea of sending our old material to major record labels and see how they would react.

Nico: Napalm Records had interest in signing us but first they wanted to hear some new demos from us. So we recorded some demos of songs that would eventually end up in our then upcoming “Fata Morgana” album and sent them over to Napalm. We waited and didn’t receive any answer from the label, or at least, so we thought. Until one of us decided to clean up our spam mailbox and suddenly we saw the mail Napalm Records had sent to us in which they offer us a deal. We were extremely lucky because if we had waited a few more days then the mail would’ve been deleted forever! But we replied to Napalm and they were still entirely on board with the idea of signing us.

Jaakko: It did take me some convincing to get our old material out to those major record labels but looking back, I’m beyond grateful for taking such a seemingly impossible chance. I recall sending them the demos of “Glow Of The Edge” and “South Of Vostok,” all from the “Fata Morgana” album.
BMS: Ah, excellent! Personally, I believe you should always try your hand at the big labels once you feel confident enough in your band and material to go at it. After all, the worst that could happen is that they say “not interested” (or no response at all) and then you just move on to other opportunities.
Jaakko: That’s right. I think that the “Glow Of The Edge” demo was the main reason we managed to convince Napalm Records to sign us because the song has such a hypnotic quality to it, much more compared to the older material. This particular song was our first major step towards the eventual “Fata Morgana” album.
BMS: Yeah, that might be the case! As for me, I listened to a couple of “Fata Morgana” songs as well as some material from the previous “Ruins” album in preparation for this interview and I must say that your sound has received a definite upgrade in “Fata Morgana.” The songs on “Fata Morgana” are much broodier and more atmospheric & sophisticated. I particularly love the contrast between the slow, drawn-out melodies and the raging vocals. It feels very doom metal, but also more melodic and even a bit upbeat at times, especially in the “Pointless Tale” track. I also feel some post-metal vibes in your material.
BMS: So tell me something about “Fata Morgana” production and songwriting. Did you do things differently compared to “Ruins?”
Jaakko: Back when we were writing “Ruins” we didn’t have that clear-cut a plan compared to “Fata Morgana.” I remember that when we were recording “Ruins” we still changed a lot of stuff in the studio right on the spot so overall we were quite ill-prepared. A mistake that we didn’t make when we were producing “Fata Morgana.” This time, we entered the studio with the songs fully finished and ready to be recorded!

Nico: When writing the “Fata Morgana” material, we thoroughly studied our previous material and figured out what worked and what could be improved. There was plenty of trail and error involved but the end result was all for the better.
BMS: Indeed, discovering your strengths as individual musicians and as a band.
Jaakko: Correct! Other than us having a much more coherent idea of what direction we would be going to for “Fata Morgana” there wasn’t much difference in terms of the practical production compared to this album and its predecessor. We did feel more relaxed and confident in the studio this time around.

BMS: I see, excellent! So, let’s now talk about the cinematic “Glow Of The Edge” music video.
Jaakko: We recorded the video during a period when the COVID19 restrictions weren’t as strict here in Finland. Of course we had to keep the safety measures in consideration like facemasks, social distancing and plenty of ventilation. In addition, this was our first real cinematic music video. In our previous music videos we were in charge of every aspect of the video and they simply featured footage of us performing the song without anything else except for some self-recorded tour footage.

Jaakko: This time, however, we hired an entire film crew and had a script written because we wanted a fresh vision for the “Glow Of The Edge” video. I remember we had a crew of fifteen people on set and plenty of high-quality recording equipment and we had a great time putting it all on film.

Nico: Another reason for us to make this ambitious a music video was because this was going to be our first music video for Napalm Records and therefore we wanted to give as best a first impression as possible. And for “South Of Vostok” we had another director (a friend of ours called Jari Heino) to handle the work and he gave us a video that’s very different from “Glow Of The Edge” but still of the same high quality.
BMS: Both are visually impressive videos indeed. So, what are Marianas Rest’s ongoing plans?
Jaakko: We’re planning to do a live stream to promote the “Fata Morgana” album and doing many other social media tricks. And finally we’re going to write new material to make an even better album than “Fata Morgana.”
BMS: I’m very curious to see how it all goes. Tell me, what other activities do you have aside from Marianas Rest?
Nico: I think we all have one or two side projects and we all still have our own daytime jobs. Some of us even already have families to take care of. Marianas Rest remains our primary project for all of us.

Jaakko: I do enjoy sports like football and ice hockey from time to time.
BMS: All right! Final question, you’re a young band that has now signed to a major label, so tell me, what advice could you give to other aspiring bands to get noticed?
Jaakko: Make sure to create your own sound and identity, so don’t copy any random successful act in an attempt to emulate their success. You don’t have to the perfect musician, it’s more important to be passionate about what you’re doing and to keep on improving your act. Also be sure to get in touch with other bands and contact record labels, webzines, promoters etc.

Nico: And remember to have fun. Being in a band is a lot of work but also a lot of play.
BMS: Thanks for the interview guys! I hope to see you guys in Belgium in the near future.