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Mantra2 Interview


Please introduce the band; who you are and how you got together.

Well, we are me (CAT MANTRA) aka Matt Alexander, and Geoff, (DOUBLE G), and now also TERRY LEE. (Adam and The Ants).

Mantra II was formed basically from the ashes of Two of my previous bands. Papa Mantra (released one single through Telstar in 2000 called "Get outta your tree" (Charted at 144 woo.), and my own project: "Joshua."

I fucking HATED being in PAPA MANTRA, to the extent that even when we were in London signing the deal I was fucking miserable. It wasnt my project, I was press-ganged into it by my (ex) mate JASON COOLEY, who was the drummer. I was on Keybs, and I had fuck all to do with the creative process. Well, creative process IS what I do. So basically I left the band before the single was released. And was not surprised when it disappeared without trace. Then I formed "Joshua." That band was something Im VERY proud of. I got it together on the "rebound" from Papa Mantra, and we just gigged, and rocked. It was a lot of fun. After a couple of years it just kind of faded, I lost interest. But the guitarist (Double G) was still a good friend of mine. We did a few recordings for a laugh. Next thing we had our first album as Mantra II out. What the fuck?! Terry Lee joined late 2005 through ANT contacts of mine. Which was incredible for me. Basically The ANTS inspired me into becoming a musician. (Oh, so to conclude, the only part of MANTRA II that came from PAPA MANTRA, was the word MANTRA, I like that word.)

How has having Terry Lee (former drummer in Adam & The Ants) helped with media and the bands' pulling power?

I dont know... did it help with getting this interview?! I THINK it has helped in certain circles, but the BIGGEST way it has helped is to add to the sound. Terry Lee is a fucking amazing drummer, and I'm MOST proud that he chose MII to make a return to the recording studio with. .

You use various phases to describe the band from punk, to new romantic; to electro - to narrow it down and give a snap shot which five words best describe the band.

Well, our sound is described in your question, it's a blissful union of those genres!

But 5 words for the band?...
Jack, Daniels, Sex, Sleep, Taxi.

Your second album is due out in a few weeks, please tell the readers a little about the tracks on the album? What is the Werewolf thing going on?

I think the PUNKOI readers will be most interested in our RAMONES tribute. Its called "Dont we miss you now", and comes from the heart! I get sick of all these twats walking around in Ramones t-shirts who couldnt name a single track by them. ARGH. But anyway, the Werewolf thing actually came from Marco (Pirroni). He and Chris (Constantinou) of THE WOLFMEN (www.thewolfmen.net) started the track off, and sent it to me. Well, we finished it, and it fucking rocks. It was originally going to be a single, but as the animators took another 18 Months to complete the promo, we recorded a whole album...!

I should mention some other tracks... well, "Angels are forever" is one of my faves. I wrote it in abt 1999, and it's, well it's got a hidden meaning. "Can you tell what it is yet?!" And that track is also a landmark, because it brings Marco Pirroni & Terry Lee Miall together on the same recording for the first time since 1981, when they completed the ANTS album; Prince Charming.

How did writing the second album compare with writing the first one? Where does the inspiration come from? Which track are you most proud of and why?

I would say the writing process never changes. That's because I only write when I'm "in the mood.",or to sound cliched, when the inspiration strikes. Infact many of the tracks on the 2nd album were written BEFORE most of the tracks on the first album! Because I had specifically targetted a retro 80's sound for this album, I was able to indulge myself and use some of my favourite tracks from MANY moons ago! WiseLies & Confusion for example, were written in 1989...! That makes me sound OLD man... but thats cool, cos now that I have been transformed into an animated vampire type creature I am imortal. (Mwa-hahahahaaaaa etc...) I wouldnt say that I am most proud of any particular track, I'm very proud of all of them.

Your first album was only released in the States, why was that? Have you toured out in the States much?
Simply because we got our first deal through a US distribution company. We havent toured at all ever, because at the moment this is purely a recording project, and now that we are "cartoons", touring would be even more complex. We would need a "Gorillaz" size budget for that. Up until recently, most of our promotional work has been done "on-line", something that has proved to be very effective. Infact that's how I first got Marco's attention, by posting tracks on the adam-ant.net forum and saying "OI! Have a listen!" We've now started to break through into main-stream media, we had a FAB feature in Bizarre late last year, and look out for us in upcoming issues of: Guitarist, Total Guitar, The Fly, NME, Drummer, Bizarre again, Guitar Techniques, and more...

Who have you toured with and who would you like to tour with? What covers do you do when you play live?

Yeah, so the question above answers half of this...! Toured with: Nobody! If we did tour? Well, itd be a laugh if we got all the ex-ANTS current projects together. So that'd be Mantra II (Terry Lee Miall), The Wolfmen (Marco & Chris), The Imbeciles (Kevin Mooney), and The FIXX (Gary Tibbs.) And maybe get Adam Ant himself to headline. Yeah, that'd be a FUN tour.

What bands do you each enjoy listening to; and who would you recommend checking out?

Of the current crop of bands, I would say that the only one that really honks my horn is MUSE. They are phenomenal. It's seriously the ONLY band of the new millenium that has prompted me to cough up for the records.
Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2006.

Immediate plans are, this record comes out on the 21st, and then HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!!! Basically since I got back from the states in New Year, it has been non-stop, with recording, post-production, mastering, promoting.... etc etc etc! So yeah, feet up, LONG break. And then see where we are. See how well "Werewolves" does, and what we want to do next. None of us want to become "mainstream", we like being underworld underdogs. It's great to be appreciated and to sell records of course, but mainstream?! Naaaaaah!

Any final comments?
Well, cheers for the interview Bekster...! Recording this album has been a pain, and a joy. And PUNK & OI readers... get down to HMV and BUY IT! ;o)
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