Conan interviews Hanno Klaenhardt from MANTAR
So Mantar has been touring quite a bit since the release of your debut full length, Death By Burning. What have been the highlights and low points so far?
The biggest highlight in general is that we have been able to play 20 countries, including three times in the US, in less than one year. Considering that we just started, the band last year that’s pretty awesome. For me personally, playing in the US the first time was a big thing. We played with The Melvins at FEST 2014 in Florida, and that really blew my mind. Maryland Deathfest on the last US Tour was crazy too. So many people and so much love for this little German two-piece band. Insane. Low points were really shittily-organized tours and shows every now and then all over the world. But that’s how you learn the code of the road, and where you’re not gonna play again.
You review guitar gear for a magazine – tell me more about some of the best stuff you have been able to work with?
It’s an awesome job. I don’t make much money with it but I get free stuff from time to time, and and can check out new equipment before it even hits the stores. I write my own columns and do workshops as well. How to build high quality custom-made pedalboards and stuff like that. Or I recently did the “FX Freak Show,” where underground effects companies had sent me their stuff and I reviewed it. In general, it’s a cool job to do for an equipment nerd and gear head like me.
Why no bass player?
In the very early days of MANTAR, no one wanted to join. No kidding. After a while, we figured out that we can raise some serious hell with just the two of us. If you know your gear and if you share the same musical vision, there is no need for more than two people. At least, we didn’t have any complaints about a lack of bass yet. But it’s no dogmatic thing. We just never had a bass player. And actually, I don’t think we’re ever gonna get one.
You and Erinc both play topless. When did this start? Do you play topless in other bands or is this specific to Mantar?
We just sweat like hell. All the time. It has always been like that. Dunno why. We started rehearsing during the summer and we didn’t wanna sweat our shirts up, so we always played topless. I think it’s more a habit than an image. Same thing with the stage setup. We always played face to face, because that’s how we did things in the rehearsal room. And when we first started playing, we didn’t even think about how to set up on stage any differently.
You both have a pretty good sense of humour. Tell me a funny story from one of your shows…
Thanks for that. We like your humour, too. Actually, our shows are pretty serious during the set, but around that we joke around a lot. At one show we arrived VERY late, and the intro was already running and we both needed to leave the stage again to piss next to the sound system, as we couldn’t hold it anymore. Another time, we lost our van keys in Finland, and flew back to Germany to play another show that we of course had to cancel as we couldn’t start the van. We lost a lot of money that night, and everyone was pissed off like hell. My dad even had to send us the spare key with a private courier for almost 400 bucks to continue the tour… it was fucked up, but nowadays it sounds kinda funny. I had a bucket on stage for puke and shit at the ROADBURN festival, as I had a bad food poisoning that night. I’m pretty sure that looked funny for everyone else besides me…
Death By Burning reissue is available now via Brutal Panda Records!