Please introduce the band; who you are and how you got
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
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,
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
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
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!
Please note that the opinions expressed
by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website.
Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made
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