Interview by Michael Oshust ~ August 20, 2019
“If you want longevity, then you keep reinventing, which we try to do on every record,” says singer Josh Ramsay.
Once again the Vancouver JUNO Award-winning quartet has proven adept at exploring different avenues in pop-rock with their latest release Phantoms.
The album showcases the band’s creative side and opens with a capella “Eleanora” which reminds fans of Queen harmonies.
Photo Source: bmf PR Group
It has been over three years since their last album, Astoria.
The songs on Phantoms talk about long-term, messy love and coping with memories of past relationships. Every song on this album is brilliant and highlights lead singer Josh Ramsay’s incredible vocal range.
The band kicked off their Canadian tour on March 6th and “practiced their butts off” to prepare for a great tour.
Lyrically, vocally, and musically, this is Mariana Trench’s finest album. The album is authentic.
Currently, the band is on their second leg of the Suspending Gravity Tour which is bringing them to the United States and Europe.
Photo Source: bmf PR Group
Music Speaks Louder caught up with Mike Ayley to discuss the new album.
The album cover shows a closeup of a woman with a hand over her ear. How did you come up with the idea?
A: We have worked with the same team for album art since Ever After. When it came to the album cover he showed us a few options and that one on the cover was the one we liked the most. With the inside album artwork we gave him some direction to help set the tone and to make sure the music and album theme were cohesive.
Phantoms is different than your previous release Astoria. Was that the idea when you began writing it?
A: The idea of setting the album in the haunted house came about as we were finishing up the Astoria album cycle. We had a day off in New Orleans and the vibe of that city really helped inspire the haunted feel. It's always our goal to change and grow from album to album. There are always new developments in recording, in our own abilities and in Josh's songwriting skills. Setting the theme for this album ensured for us that we would have lots of creative options that were different than the previous albums. The haunted setting alone permitted things like the theremin, lots of strings/orchestra, the harpsichord at the beginning of Echoes of You, etc.
On Phantoms, you talk about personal ghosts. Did you see how fans can relate to the songs when you wrote the album?
A: I think everyone has ghosts of one sort or another. It's part of living. To me the theme is one that can connect with so many people on different levels. I have always liked music that can do that and not to just one particular scenario of human experience.
My favourite is 'The Killing Kind.' I feel it is your finest song to date.
A: Thank you! That is my favourite song on the album too. I love to play it live. I think it takes the listener on a roller coaster of a journey that mirrors the one you get when you listen to the album start to finish, but with “The Killing Kind” you get it all wrapped up into one track. I also think, for the most intense experience, it should be listened to including the transition between “Death Of Me” and “The Killing Kind. “
The album is well done. Every song is slightly different.
A: There is always a goal to make each album a different experience from the previous as well as to make each song one that could not be interchangeable with another from the album. The track sequencing is very deliberately chosen. It's great to hear that's how you feel.
The band is tight and watching you play live the group shows how fun it is performing together for almost 20 years.
A: Well, it's only been a little over 15, contrary to Wikipedia's reliable information but still long enough that we had better be tight as a band by now. If we weren't tight with over a thousand shows and practices I think that would be an indication that we might be in the wrong business, haha.
Do you have a favourite song to play live?
A: That changes all the time. Sometimes it depends on which song the audience's energy is highest or sometimes it depends on my own mood and sometimes it's just dependent on how well the group performs a song.
What's on your iPod these days?
A: Sad but true, it's pretty much the whole Marianas Trench catalogue as I'm rehearsing for the second USA leg of the Suspending Gravity tour.
Who were your inspirations growing up?
A: I dipped in to my older brother's music a lot. The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Jane's Addiction and even Metallica were significant influences for me.
Marianas Trench tour dates are listed here
Special thank you to Mike Ayley & Jessica Valiente.