Mana, the front man and vocalist for Idols Are Dead, is indeed dead serious about gaining some fan exposure and building up a steady fan base. Mana spoke to me about the band and what the future may hold for Idols Are Dead.
NP: What’s the name of your band? What’s the origin of that name? Have you changed the band’s name before?
Mana: The name of the Band is “Idols Are Dead.” I personally came up with that idea. For me it is like a statement that means that nowadays the real Idols are not existing anymore. I see too much overnight sensations, and I don’t think that for a teenager of these days, the Singer of Tokyo Hotel represents what James Hetfield was for me 15 years ago, you know, and no this was the first and only name we’ve ever had.
NP: Please list the name, age, school, and respective instrument of each band member.
Mana: Ok, here we go:
Mana – Vocals, 34
Maxx C. – Bass, 35
Luka – Drums, 35
Ico – Guitars, 31
Alley-X – Guitars, 30
Sorry, we’re too old for school we all have daily (shitty) jobs!
NP: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
Mana: We like to define ourselves as ‘Thrash & Roll!’ We have main influences coming from both Thrash Metal Bands like Metallica, Testament and Slayer and from Hard/Sleazy rock a la Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses, just to name a few. Many reviewers have agreed with that definition!
NP: How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Mana: It’s really a long long time we all know each other in the Band. Most of all myself, Maxx, and Luka. We have had 2 other Bands together in the past years called Electrocution (in the 90s) and Folder (2002-2006). Ico and Alley came in the picture few years later even if we already knew the Bands they had in the past years when we were in Folder. We have meet in the rock clubs of our hometown Bologna (North Italy).
NP: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Mana: We have formed in August 2006. The idea to form this Band came from me and Luka. We were pretty bored of the Bands we had at that time and decided to create a new Band together doing some heavier stuff than our previous Acts (we played nu-metal in 2006). I personally contacted the other guys and they all agreed to join this new breed!
NP: Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Mana: Yes we have. It is with indie metal label Scarlet Records. It is distributed in the entire World. Within the U.S. on thru the Caroline Distribution. Yes we are member of Italian “Siae” for publishing, etc.
NP: What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever’s available? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/color preference?
Mana: I can list you our gears, ok? I got a Shure SM 58 as mic., Alley and Ico have an endorsement deal with Schecter guitars (the same of Avenged Sevenfold) and Maxx plays a Warwick Bass. Luka plays Premier Drums and has a deal for cymbals with Italian brand Ufip.
NP: Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Mana: We have performed pretty much everywhere here in our country and we will tour the U.S. in March/April 2010. The best venues we have here in Italy where we have also performed are a couple of rock clubs in Milan called Zoe and Rolling Stone. We honestly have no least favorite, we’re happy and honored to perform everywhere we have the chance, even if the club is very small and stinky (laughs). Yes we will perform this fall in few more clubs before our U.S. journey!
NP: Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
Mana: We just have an Album out, and it consists of only 9 tracks so we’re “forced” to play the whole record every time. When we got a longer set, we add few covers like Pantera’s “5 minutes alone” and Motley Crue’s “kickstart my heart.” It’s pretty funny when it happens!
NP: Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Mana: We write songs all together. It often happens that it will all start from a guitar riff, but it will be the 5 of us together that work on the song to finish it. I do write the lyrics after the song is finished. The topics are pretty personal even if we also have politically-oriented lyrics where I scream all my rage against Italian politics. Yes I think they can change over time; it will surely depends on my mood.
NP: Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Mana: As I already told you, it all starts from a guitar riff and we build the song all together adding various ideas to complete the final structure. I immediately start to think about melodic lines with no real words first. When I’m sure of the lines I add the real and complete lyrics on the finished song!
NP: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
Mana: You have to consider we have our own rehearsal room so we don’t have a set time, we go when we want! It is all pretty spontaneous I have to say! One day we like to rehearse in particular is Sunday.
NP: How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Mana: We have just an album out and the song writing of it was very spontaneous. We’ve now started to write the new record and it seems heavier in the verses and more melodic in the choruses. I’m pretty excited to see what we will be able to create with this second effort!
NP: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Mana: The biggest challenge is probably to breakthrough in the U.S., you know, and no for now we haven’t overcome to that challenge because we know it’s soooo difficult! Although, I have to say that we started this Band as a joke, and after 3 years we have an Album released worldwide and we’ve already shared the stage with Bands like Iron Maiden, Slayer, Stone Sour, Faith No More, Limp Bizkit, Death Angel, Lacuna Coil and more – I can see the glass half full!
NP: What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
Mana: I can simply answer saying we wanna have fun! If fame will come, it will be welcome and if not we will have no problems neither. We wanna go on doing our 150% and see what happens!
NP: What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Mana: I’d tell them to believe in their music and to be professional as much as they can! I think it’s too important nowadays to have a well produced album first. After that it’s also important to have a good image and naturally the most important advice is to perform everywhere is possible!!!!
NP: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Mana: Log on our MySpace profile! www.myspace.com/idolsrdead. You can see everything about us! And yes we have samples of 4 songs – hope kids will go to check this out! And hey! If you like the songs go purchase the album.
NP: Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
Mana: The most important support would be the one coming from kids! If they’re fans of some bands they have to BUY their records! The illegal download is killing music and the young bands will pay the price of this damage! Please, save your money and buy original music!
NP: Any last words?
Mana: I like this one! (laughs) Thanks a lot for this chance and hope to see you when we tour the U.S. next spring!