Savage Messiah at Metal Gods TV festival last year performing Iron Maiden’s Be Quick or Be Dead, which is featured on the 10” bonus vinyl that comes FREE with their album! Buy it here: http://bit.ly/1f3JcDj
Mares Of Thrace
By Morgan Y. Evans
Thérèse Lanz is half of Mares of Thrace, the acclaimed Chicago and Calgary based black/noise metal duo, composed of Lanz and longtime drummer pal Stefani MacKichan. Mares are a duo like Jucifer who just defy expectation and are too awesome and brainy to be pigeonholed. Lanz is known for her great sense of humor and witty banter that contrasts with the boiling estrogen in an Am Rep cauldron of rage that Mares delivered on albums like The Moulting or psychological delving/skin shedding sophomore effort The Pilgrimage.
I caught up with the Filipino riff machine to find out what Mares have been up to lately between albums.
How was your recent show at Subterranean in Chicago? What is your favorite part of playing live? I am really glad you are still keeping Mares going. Our recent show at Subterranean was great. Wrekmeister played one of the best live drone sets I’ve seen in recent memory, and Billie from The Paver really shreds that violin. Also, I ate a really good empanada there. A good empanada can really turn an evening around, know what I’m saying? I think my favorite part of playing live is carrying my amp (which probably weighs a third of what I weigh, maybe half) up a giant flight of stairs in the pouring rain. Just kidding! My favorite part of playing live is turning “dubious audience faces” into “running to the bathroom for toilet paper to wad up into makeshift earplugs” faces.
Who would make better black metal - Carl Sagan? Joan of Arc? Salvadore Dali?
Um, all three of them need to form a band. They can write a concept record about the infinite cosmos, being spoken directly to by God, and melting furniture. I’d buy that record.
What is the main thing you want from a riff for it to be worthy of becoming a Mares song?
I want it to encapsulate the unbearably grotesque ugliness of existence—the crushing weight of the knowledge that we are animate lumps of dirt briefly gifted/cursed with the awareness of said existence, before turning into compost. Also, I want it to be playable by my tiny hands on my giant guitar and still allow me the wherewithal to do hairwhips and cool rock faces.
How is school going? What are you currently engrossed in/by? School’s pretty awesome. I am studying to be a 3D artist for video games. I turn physics equations into swords and axes made of data. This is almost as engrossing as turning decibels into tinnitus, or Belgian tripel ales into poor life decisions.
Have you written a lot since The Pilgrimage? Your stuff is so intense I could see you playing with such a wide variety of artists from pure noise like Merzbow to Arabrot to even Xibalba or something straight forward. You just burn the house down!
As a matter of fact, Stefani and I wrote and recorded some new material this summer! Obviously the release of album #3 will take a little bit longer, but it’s going to happen, I assure you. Also, I’d love to tour with Merzbow. I bet he’s a really normal dude. Like, pays his taxes, wears Dockers, golfs, caliber of normal. As for burning the house down, I’d rather burn the church down…. Nyuck nyuck ;)
What are some of your favorite haunts - if you care to reveal them?
Sure, I’d be happy to reveal them… but they’re going to be mostly Mexican restaurants. Oh, and I like catching shows at the Empty Bottle. I LOVE living in Chicago!
Anywhere you are particularly happy Mares Of Thrace has played live? Anyone you’d like to tour with or if you like a band do you feel bad slaying them when the house burns down?
I have never had anything but a transcendentally awesome time playing in Brooklyn at St. Vitus. I also love playing Vancouver, even though someone puked on the carpet at the last venue we played at and the proprietors of the venue just left it there. No sawdust or nothin’. Keep it classy, East Van! There are a zillion bands I’d like to tour with. I think my top five would be Mortals, Coffinworm, Anciients, Whores, and War Brides. Those five represent an exquisite combination of bands whose sets AND members I could not only endure every night for several weeks, but enjoy.
Do you think you’ll get a lot more tattoos or is it something that just happens as it strikes you?
If I got another tattoo, it would be something uber-nerdy on my knuckles. I’m thinking ARCH MAGE. Or maybe DROW BARD. That would be the sort of thing that exactly 1% of the population would get, but the one stranger on the bus who got it would high-five me SO HARD.
I read an interview where you were recently talking old video games and wondered if you ever were into Crystalis? It is my fave RPG ever, old Nintendo game-early 90’s. You wake up after nuclear war and have amnesia but the world has kind of reverted to mutated ecology and fantasy. You ride a fucking dolphin for half the game and then fight a huge computer God at the end.It touched me as a kid because it combined magic and scientific stuff with respect for the four elements and spirit of self. I still think it is the most metal game ever, besides Splatterhouse. I have never played Crystalis, but I do have it on emulator. Frankly you had me at “old Nintendo RPG early 90s”. Also, if you think it is the most metal game ever, I suggest playing a couple of the Nintendo DS Castlevania games. Seriously, every boss is a death-metal album cover trying to kill you with globs of rotting flesh or orbs of penultimate darkness.
Are there any different ways you relate to odd time signatures, being a rather analytical woman, as opposed to standard four on the floor parts? Or is it all part of the full spectrum of rock and better not to differentiate?
If I can take a moment to sound like a total pretentious artsy-fartsy blowhard (more than usual, that is)… the song usually lets me know where it wants to go. Sometimes the song feels like taking a turn toward a meat-headed, stompin’, stadium-rock, two-chord, chant-along, mosh riff. (A friend of mine refers to them as “taco riffs”, since everyone loves tacos. Since I fucking love tacos and would step over my grandma’s corpse for a handful of greasy chorizo-filled Mexi-love, I am exceedingly fond of this term). Sometimes the song feels like busting out a calculator, pushing its thick plastic-framed glasses up its acne-ridden nose, and crunching some numbers. I like to combine both, often in the course of the same song.
If you had to open for The Scorpions in the 80’s, Motley Crue or Bon Jovi, who would you rather hang with and why?
Okay, this is an easy one. This is easy because Scott (our sometime touring bassist/drummer/cover artist painter) will cut my head off if I respond with anything other than an emphatic “SCORPS, BRO!” But in seriousness, there is a lot more to Scorps than “Winds of Change”. I legitimately, non-ironically, think Taken by Force is a deadly record. I’d totally dance around on stage in reverse-drag while they played “He’s A Woman, She’s A Man”.
In shocking news, ex-The Gates of Slumber member Jason McCash has passed. No report yet on cause of death. Rough day between Jason, Leee Black Childers, John Pinette and (far less importantly) the Undertakers streak. WTF!?? Karl Simon posted this brief and heartbreaking statement: My best…
When making this record fell in my lap and I had to write these riffs, I didnt look at it as a negative. On the other side of it, trying to keep the band together… things were fucking toxic. We almost didnt make it through. If we kept things the same we would have dissolved. If we broke free…
For a REAL riot out of Austin, check out the new song Battle On from One-Eyed Doll. Just forget the weak ass Tyler the Creator riot. In my day we had Guns N Roses fans tearing the stadium out of every seat if Axl Rose didnt show up. Well…LET THE FACE MELTING COMMENCE! Whatever Studio Ghibli…
My bday show 4/11/14 w antidote8 and @grapegrainmusic