QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Jaakko Mäntymaa (Marianas Rest)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Jaakko. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, are you alive and well? How are the other guys of Marianas Rest?

Jaakko: Heya, glad to be of service! Everything is as fine as it can be under these circumstances. The new record is out, it got into Finnish album chart and spring is ahead of us.

The guys are doing great. Lots of things to do even though we don’t get to do live shows.

Pix666: Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. What kind of music does Marianas Rest make?

Jaakko: We do the kind of stuff that builds up as it goes. The foundation is built mainly on melodic death and doom metallish stuff, but there’s lots of other influences in there as well. Our music is all about the bleak atmosphere.

Pix666: What was your inspiration to become a musician and did you sing in other bands before Marianas Rest started?

Jaakko: I got started in the turn of the millennium when a good friend (who is now managing the band btw.) asked me to try out vocals in his band called ID: Exorcist. I had no band experience and I had no idea what I was doing. I just liked to listen to music, did not know how to do it. I liked to shout my lungs out though. During the years I have been involved in a number of bands and with every band learned something new.

Pix666: Your band has been for about 8 years now. What have been the greatest and most unforgettable experiences in your time as a musician?

Jaakko: Every time we see a teardrop in the audience, every time someone comes to tell us our music has helped them when their life was going into the wrong direction, feeling tired and happy after a good live show knowing now it is time to party. I think these kinds of things give you the most and mean the most. But of course signing with a label like Napalm is a huge thing. And sharing the stage with bands you have grown listening to. We got to do that with Dark Tranquillity in Russia.

Pix666: Some weeks ago your album ‚Fata Morgana‘ was released. In which versions can the fans buy your album, and above all, where?

Jaakko: You can get the basic LP and CD versions from just about any large net store. From Napalm Records net store you can get a special white marble vinyl edition and a great looking vinyl reissue of our previous album Ruins. We have a special gold vinyl version coming to sale as well when we get our own web shop up and running.

Pix666: You also work with siren-like, female background vocals on the album, which harmonises fantastically with your voice. Who had the idea for that and how did the contact with Lindsay Schoolcraft come about?

Jaakko: I don’t remember who had the idea first but I remember when. We were at a production camp before the studio sessions. We do it every time before going into the studio: we rent a secluded cabin, turn it into a rehearsal studio and go over all the songs with our producer Teemu Aalto. During the sessions we realised that some of the songs seemed to lack something. After a long day of trying to figure it out, we hit the sauna. The idea of these eerie siren vocals came then and there. Teemu had worked with Lindsay in a different project and he suggested working with her. That is how it happened and we are very glad it did. Lindsay is a great musician and probably the nicest person on the planet too.

Pix666: You‘ve already released new video clips this year. Where did you shoot the clips? Who was part of the team and were there any complications during the shoot due to certain Corona restrictions?

Jaakko: We shot both videos in our home county Kymenlaakso. In Glow From the Edge -video we had a big crew and a very professional production. There were about 10-15 people working on the set, which was built in an old warehouse. Riikka Mäntymaa and Eero Mäntymaa directed the film and Lassi Karhulahti was in charge of filming. The corona situation was pretty good back then and we didn’t have many restrictions as I can recall. Of course we used safety measures just to be sure.

South Of Vostok was a smaller production since we spent all our money on Glow. Luckily we have a very talented friend Jari Heino, who took the project under his wings. He directed, filmed and edited the whole thing.

I love how the videos turned out. They really capture the essence of the songs and the band.

Pix666: What reactions and feedback have you received so far regarding the album, but also about the video clips?

Jaakko: We have been a bit overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have received from the album and the videos. People really seem to enjoy them and the critics have liked them as well. That really means a lot to us.

Pix666: Unfortunately, the pandemic still has us in its grip, and in Germany we are even still partly in lockdown. When you release an album and then you can’t play the songs live in front of an audience, it’s a pretty stupid situation. Nevertheless, is Marianas Rest already planning some 2021 concerts or some festivals in summer?

Jaakko: We have one live show in summer which is still due to happen. The situation is pretty grim at the moment and we just hope the industry survives this ordeal. It is impossible to try to schedule shows or a tour since the situation changes daily and varies by country. But hopefully the vaccinations work and this will be the last lockdown year. Meanwhile we are going to play the new songs live and film it, so people will get to hear and see the new songs live as well.

Pix666: What is the current situation in Finland and especially the mood among the people?

Jaakko: It is getting worse and the restrictions are getting stricter. I still sense there is hope in the air. This has to blow over soon.

Pix666: As a musician, you certainly spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to get your mind off things – are there any interesting hobbies that you pursue? 😊

Jaakko: As you said, this takes a lot of time and I have a day job as well. I like to spend time with my kids, ski and play football with them. Sport stuff keeps me in balance, so I try to do it even sometimes I don’t feel like it. Video games and gaming in general is also a good way to get your mind off of everyday routines.

Pix666: Do you have any other news about Marianas Rest, that you would like to share with the fans?   

Jaakko: Keep watching the bands and Napalm Records social media accounts. There are many cool things coming up such as the live show, making off Fata Morgana stuff and new merchandise.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck with the album and stay healthy!!!

Jaakko: My pleasure! Stay healthy too and hope to catch everyone reading this somewhere along the road!





photos © Marianas Rest & Raisa Krogerus