When and why did you guys start Mantar?
Mantar is based in Hamburg, Germany. Even though we both were been born in Bremen, 60 miles away from Hamburg. Bremen is a cool city, been kinda famous in the mid 90s for the so called “Bremen-core” a la SYSTRAL, ACME or MÖRSER. Hails to those guys. It´s dark, cold and rainy most of the time, the perfect weather for some hyper-aggressive tunes. It´s in the nature of things that we don´t play skate-punk. We played music more our less our whole lives. We started very early making our own music, playing in bands, doing shows. We both started listening to heavy music very early as well. We’ve known each other for a long time, but just last year finally got together as a band, even though we always wanted to do so. Erinc is a little older than me and always had an huge impact on me as a musician when I was young. Something in us seemed to have been waiting for us to get together and create music. That´s why it came to us so fast and powerful, I guess. We never talked about music. We just did it. I think that´s a good sign.
What does Mantar mean?
It´s a Turkish word for mushroom, as far as I know. Erinc has Turkish roots, that´s why we came up with a Turkish name. Furthermore, we wanted something easy to remember and something that makes a bad ass logo. Basic as fuck. Finding a name for a band is a pain in the ass most of the times. I am glad we brought it to an end.
Who are your main influences?
We both actually don´t have a certain “scene” background… that might be the reason why we get so much positive feedback and reaction to our music, as we don´t feel any need to satisfy a certain music scene or whatever. I do have a clear DIY punk background, but that’s more important in how we handle things and not how we sound. As a matter of fact, our only agenda is to get together and play as heavy as possible. I do like black metal, doom, punk, whatever. I have been brought up with classic German thrash metal like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. Erinc (drums) is the one who adds the groove. No matter how heavy stuff is gonna get, we always try to keep the grove. Other bands may not care, but for us it´s essential. That´s quite important for a two piece, as we don’t have many “weapons” to create a good song. But this limitation is a gift. You have to concentrate on your strengths. And that, for Mantar, is pure rage. Heaviness. We try not to name any bands, as names are worth nothing. But yeah, we like a lot of different music. But we actually never talked about what we would like to sound like as a band.
What themes do you use in your lyrics and why?
In general, the lyrics are pretty much nature-related. That´s a big topic for me. I try to spend as much time as possible in nature and that´s the only place I really feel safe. A lot of the songs are about the return to nature. The urge of man for the final battle. And for sure, the general sickness of mankind. I don´t judge though, I just tell. We don´t have any certain message. I don´t care what people think. I don´t want them to act according to my lyrics. Our only message is the power of the music. Just because I scream that much, people assume that I am an angry, desperate person. That´s not correct. I don’t act out of anger. Even though I love the destructive vibe of the music. But I want the music to remain something positive in the end. It´s about power!
What kind of gear do you use? How important is it for your sound?
I use three amps at the same time with Marshall and Ampeq cabinets and some special FX Pedals to get that low end. I use bass amplifiers, too. All the classic old Orange heads and two Petersburg heads which I use for more or less anything. Great JCM 800 copies from Russia from the early 90s. I´ve got three of ´em. Erinc hits the drums as hard as possible, that´s quite important, too. He really is an insanely loud drummer. Every second club asks us to put duct tape or shit like that on the cymbals. But we refuse to do so and decided only to play shows where we can put the sound on stage that we deliver on the record. That’s it! In general, the equipment is very important for us, as we are just two people. We have to make sure that we have the right stuff to provide the MANTAR sound on stage as well as on record. But, seriously, it´s not rocket science.
Hanno, is the secret to the Mantar guitar tone all of your pedals turned on at the same time or are they just there to look cool?
Most of them don´t even work. So it´s basically to make me look very cool. But I admit that my pedal board is ridiculously huge. If you are just two people you have to know your gear to raise some hell.
Is too loud not loud enough?
It´s funny how different countries react on different stages of volume. In southern Europe, the people can´t get enough ear damage. In Germany, people and owners of clubs tend to be a little more sensitive.
What is the most important part about your song writing: brutalness, grooves, or volume?
As mentioned above. Groove is number one. It should make you wanna move. In any kind of way. And yeah, always make sure to play any riff with maximum possible aggression. Erinc and I, we both ain´t overly-talented musicians. It´s all about chemistry. We’ve known each other for so long, we just get together and get into this destructive flush.
Do you have plans on touring the US?
Hell yeah! We will play THE FEST in Florida early November. We will share the stage with the Melvins, which is pretty cool. I hope we will play more shows and tours in the US soon. I spend a lot of time in the States due to cool people like you and the rest of the NIGHT DEMON gang, but we can´t hardly wait to finally enter US stages and play for all you guys. But getting there is a pain in the ass, so I don’t know yet when we will be able to play a proper tour.
What should someone who hasn’t seen Mantar expect from one of your shows?
Maximum rage. Raw display of power. Passion. And beer.
Do you have any funny stories about your recent European tour?
Well, any musician knows that touring is not always funny. Sometimes it´s a lot of struggle, but southern Europe was good fun. You know we don´t get much sun over here so touring any country with beaches, sun and the ocean is great.
One night in Barcelona we all got incredibly shitfaced and we told our sound guy to piss off as he gave away our last beers on the street to random girls. You just don´t fuck around with other people´s beers. He took this very seriously and got lost and decided that he did not need any hotel to survive, and decided to sleep on the beach. When he woke up, he had the MASSIVE sunburn all over his body. He looked like a crab. But even worse, he was surrounded by naked man as he felt asleep at the nudist beach. Plus a serious hangover. Great way to start your day.
What does the future hold for Mantar?
Well, actually we don´t take anything for granted. I know a lot of bands say stuff like that, but we really only wanted to record some music and give away 50 tapes to close friends and upload the record for free in the internet to get the chance to play some shows. So it´s all more than cool to meet so many nice people and see the world. If you don´t expect anything, everything is like a surprise. Which I great. We are very grateful for all that. I just hope that we will keep on having fun making music. He rest is a gift.
Any last words?
Yes, thanks to you and your band. Thanks for letting me crash on your couch whenever I am in Ventura. Thanks to CVLT NATION for being such an awesome mag. Hails!