Interview date

August 2006


Yann G


Thanks Manticora for accepting this interview for http://www.auxportesdumetal.com/

You've just released your new concept album "The Black Circus - Part 1 - Letters", the third concept album in your career. This CD relates a journey with a circus in New England in 1896. Can you please tell us more about the story and the concepts developed inside this album ?

The story takes place in 1896. Our main character has gotten himself a job as janitor in a travelling circus, owned by gypsies. It is the job of his life and we hear the story through letters that he is sending to a friend. It is very H.P. Lovecraft inspired but with our own Manticora twist to it. On this first album, we are more or less introducing the whole circus and the surroundings to the listener, and you'll get the feeling that something is definitely wrong around the circus site. On the 2nd part, all hell breaks lose.Mads (drums) popped the idea 2 months after we finished the recordings of the previous album. At that point, the storyline was very basic, but Mads had already written 6 set of lyrics, so he had really thought about it. Then we sat down and began developing the whole concept, and in that developing, Kristian (guitars) suddenly got the idea of writing all the lyrics as real letters.

It's called "Part 1", do you plan to compose other parts ? Do you already have any idea on what will be the themes developed in the next chapters ?

Actually "The Black Circus Part 2" is already written and most of the material recorded. We did that during the recordings of "Part 1"! We only need to record all the guitars and keyboards and then do the mixing part, so we are aiming for a release of part 2 in early 2007! I can't reveal much of the story line now but I promise it's gonna be EVIL!!!! (hehehe).

Where was this CD recorded ? How much time did you spend recording it ?

The recordings took place at Jailhouse Studios in Denmark with Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Fate, TNT, Pretty Maids) as our producer. We spent 4 weeks in the studio recording and mixing "The Black Circus Part 1" and recording the drums, bass, lead vocals and the choir parts for "Part 2". It was the third time we worked together with Tommy Hansen, so everything went very well because we know the rutines when working with him.

The production of "Black Circus" is awesome. What are your secrets for such an heavy and powerful production on all your CDs ?

Thanks :-) Well...ask Tommy Hansen, hehehe. It's a good combination of us knowing what sound we want and Tommy pushing the right buttons to deliver that sound. Tommy is very professionel, so when he is working with a rock band, they'll get a good "rock production" and when he is working with a power metal band, like us, he delivers a great "power metal production"...and then it of course helps that he has been working with Helloween :-)

Your metal is very powerful and modern. It's between speed, death, heavy, power and prog-metal. Do you agree ? Did I forget some styles ?

I can only agree on that one :-) Manticora is mainly a power metal band, but somehow we manage to mix it with other styles of metal, but without changing our style, and that's what I think makes Manticora a very original band.

This new release sounds very progressive, even more progressive that your both previous CDs. On some songs, guitar-riffs sound like Dream Theater on "Octavarium". On other ones, your style is very close to the old Savatage releases. Some ambiances even remind Pain Of Salvation. Do you agree with my analysis ? Which bands are the most influent for Manticora music ?

Actually I don't know much about the bands you're mentioning here, only Dream Theater, but you are probably right, hehehe. I know that Kristian likes Savatage very much and that he is inspired by them. But I think that the bands who inspire Manticora most are bands like Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Nevermore, Slayer, Symphony X, Metallica and Iron Maiden. Of course it changes from album to album. 8 Deadly Sins is primary in the vein of the U.S thrash metal bands, where an album like The Black Circus Part 1 is more symphonic and melodic like Blind Guardian. We sort of changes from each album but, as mentioned before, without changing our style totally.

Your music is so complex than it can be judged by a part of the metal public as undigest. Don't you think that playing such a complex music can be a risk that bans you from a part of the metal crowd ?

Hmm, tough one...To be honest I haven't really though about that, but you might have a point here. On the other hand we mix so many genres that it might ends up being our force because it touches so many different metal listeners.

Let's talk now about your past tour. Did you enjoy opening for Angra with Edenbridge ?

Hell yeah!! That was a really awesome experience for us! We had such a great time with both bands. Actually we are still in contact with Angra now and then. We also met them again when we played Progpower USA last year, and we had a real good time. They are some really nice guys!

Was this tour an opportunity for Manticora to become famous in the european countries ?

It definitely was! Since we changed to Massacre/Replica Records in Europe in 2004 and came on this tour with Angra and Edenbrigde, there has been a lot of focus on the band, and I would say that this tour really helped us gain a lot of new fans in Europe who haven't heard about us before! So hopefully people in Europe know about us now when our new cd comes out...

In which country did you meet the most enjoyed and best audience ?

This is not because you are French, but actually France was the best country with the most crazy fans... Italy was very good too. By saying this I don't mean that Belgium, Spain and Switzerland sucked, but France was just great and I'm really looking forward to come back in September! I'm sorry we only play 2 shows in France this time, but we might come back again soon for some more shows there. I really liked Toulouse and Montpellier.

You're danish. What do you think of danish metal and more generally of north-european metal ?

I think Denmark is providing with some very good metal bands these days. We've got the good old bands like King Diamond, Pretty Maids and Royal Hunt. Then we've got some upcoming bands like Mercenary, Hatesphere, and Mnemic who are more modern in their sound and then we've got the more traditional bands like us, Wuthering Heigths, Pyramaze, Beyond Twilight and Anubis Gate. But I would say that Sweden is very superior when it comes to metal bands in the North. They have got bands like Hammerfall, In Flames, Darkane, Therion, Nocturnal Rites, Soilwork and Time Requiem!

Fate, the old mythic danish metal band, is back this year with their new CD "V". Did you listen to it ?

Actually Per and Soren are some good friends of mine (and we share the same management), so I got the cd a long time ago and I really love every single track on it, especially "Burned Child" ! It's only two days ago since I listened to the whole album once again.

Can you please tell us more about your future projects : any tour, any DVD ?

Well...for the dvd I don't know what's happening. It is not our first priority right now. We gonna do 6 shows in September. 1 in Denmark, 3 in Germany and 2 in France! We'll play the Raismes Fest on September 10th and then we'll do a show in Paris with Andromeda on Monday 11th of September. When we return to Denmark we will start the guitar recordings for "The Black Circus Part 2" and if everything goes as planned we will mix "Part 2" in January or February 2007!

Would you have some words for the webzine and more generally for the french audience ?

Bon jour all fans of France! Hope you'll like our new cd "The Black Circus Part 1" letters... Waiting for your support at our shows in Raismes and Paris in September!!!

Thanks again for having taken time for this interview and good luck for the "Black Circus" promotion.

You are very welcome. Thanks a lot!