A clear generation gap exists in 2016. Aside from living in one of the most increasingly polarised times – with the resurgence of the far-right in the west, Dickensian levels of inequality and daily deceit delivered by the mass media; there is a whole generation who have slowly slipped into an ether of apathy. Modern pop and rock music now reflects this new paradigm; devoid of any substantive message, or meaning.
This is the stimulus for West London rock band Måntra; they would rather stand up and deliver music with a message for the left-behinds and the disenfranchised. “It started at university”, explains frontman/guitarist and the band’s principal songwriter Simon Stark. something”.
Simon would go on to form Måntra with two friends from Ealing, Richard Leeds (bass) and Rob Emms (drums), as an expressive outlet for these subversive sentiments, underpinned by their shared musical influences.
“It was probably the huge guitars and drums on Queens Of The Stone Age’s Songs For The Deaf, or the melodies in The Beatles”, says Simon in respect of what drew him to the songwriting style of his peers. “I’m really into keeping things simple so people can focus on the true meaning of the song”.
Måntra’s powerful live performance and articulate songwriting soon caught the attention of award-winning producer Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Killing Joke, Pixies, The Family Rain), who invited them to record at his Rockfield Studios in Gwent, Wales.
The result would be the band’s debut, the ‘I Want EP’, which then went on to receive the attention of renowned Canadian indie label Dine Alone Records (Alexisonfire, FIDLAR, Jimmy Eat World, The Dirty Nil) who duly signed the band.
The EP truly embodies all the encompassing sentiment and raw energy that have come to define Måntra – whilst at the same time echoing the band’s social commentary on what they perceive to be modern life. Premiered by Dan P. Carter on the Radio 1 Rock Show, lead single ‘I Want’ in particular wastes no time delving into societal subject matter. “It wasn’t like I wanted an outright political message in that song”, says Simon “But it’s hard to ignore people’s perpetual desire for more than they need”.
Debut single and second track on the EP, ‘Destroy You’, Simon describes as the far more direct interpretation of this theme. “It actually popped into my head after that ‘Miley Cyrus-Robin Thicke’ thing. On one hand it’s satire about this alpha-male dominant bullshit that I think exists everywhere in the music industry; then there’s a counterpoint lyrically of the exact opposite about trying, quite literally, to destroy that. I think it’s expressing a desire to change things that I really dislike about music”.
With the debut EP released in January of 2017, Måntra have received support from Radio 1 DJs such as MistaJam, Dan P Carter and Annie Mac who names the band as one of her ‘New Names’ for December. The band are making their live debut in North America this Spring as part of the first wave of official SXSW invitees. Signing to Dine Alone Records hasn’t diminished the sentiments that breathed life into the band in the first place. Simon concludes “I don’t want to rest on our laurels, this is just the beginning. There is so much more we can do”.
From the mystical depths of Manchester, a band has emerged ready to destroy your false sense of security. You thought that dirty, gritty, rock ‘n’ roll music had gone? They sneer at your misunderstanding of what is to come. They laugh in the face of adversity. They. Are. HUNGDRAWN.
CAVANA are a young four-piece Indie Rock band based in Manchester/ Salford. Writing hard hitting melodic Indie Rock by combining both subtlety with raw aggression. This four piece is one to keep an eye on. Their live shows leave you with nothing but a ripped t-shirt and a few broken bones. With huge aims of making a real noise – These boys are here to stay.
“They put on a ferocious display that was faultless and made all the better by how effortless they made the performance look” Emerging North