Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: MANTAR (Hanno (guitar & vocals)]
“A whole lot of people give Germans a lot of shit, some for good reason, some for not, but you still can rely on heavy metal made in Germany” – Hanno – Saturday 18 June 2016
So what is it like to be managed by a juggalo?
Well, do we like clowns? Hell yeah! Guilty! He brings a lot of balloons, candy and a whole lot of colors. To be honest, we started to manage the band but only found out Bob our manager was a juggalo by Mutilation Rites from Brooklyn. We didn’t have any idea. They made a whole big thing out of it in an almost negative way and I thought, if they give him so much shit for that then it’s probably something that I admire.
Is that tied into a general life philosophy?
I still think if someone is able with their character to pull off such an amount of hate I kind of appreciate that and they are worth checking out. Sometimes you end up with a cool juggalo, sometimes you end up with Hitler! Both interesting people!
I definitely feel the same way… like I always love it when I get death threats in articles…
What was the last death threat you got?
I wrote an article wondering if Lamb Of God is the new Metallica…
Do you actually think that? I’m going to kill you if you say yes.
No, but it was more of an exploration on what Lamb Of God has become… but people found my address and shit! The point being – have you ever gotten death threats?
No. Why would we? We are everybody’s darling! We are underground enough to be interesting but mainstream enough with Nuclear Blast to be everybody’s darling. It’s like Foreigner! Still underground but everybody knows their songs!
Did you see their set?
We did! I was amazed at how much I liked it! I only really like the hits, and the rest I don’t even know. It’s the same for me with Fleetwood Mac! I like that band but if someone showed me random songs I wouldn’t know them.
Asides from Foreigner, how have you felt about the Hellfest experience so far?
This, next to Wacken was the biggest show we ever played. It was really packed and the people liked the and. France has always been really good for Mantar. I wish I could but I can’t say anything negative at this point.
Why do you want to say something negative?
Because I hate French people, except for your dad! That’s not true, I don’t have French people. I just think it’s weird that they refuse to speak English. I do not hate French people… I do not hate anyone…
Fuck gypsies man! Even that question opens a knife in my pocket! (Laughter)
Do you have any crazy gypsy stories for me?
My drummer is a gypsy! He lives in a trailer!
For the record I don’t hate gypsies, but please tour manage us. I like your sense of humor. We might even pay you.
I can’t get you to talk shit about any people group?
Give it a try!
How do you feel about touring America?
I know it’s a lame answer but loved it to the bone. Everybody was super polite, the people were super into it. As long as you are willing to play 110% every night, no matter how many people you are playing in front of, as long as you give everything and put a whole lot of energy in it people love it They are grateful and polite and not on a superficial level. I loved it. For some reason Americans love something about Germans and heavy metal, and I appreciate that. A whole lot of people give Germans a lot of shit, some for good reason, some for not, but you still can rely on heavy metal made in Germany. I saw a lot of fifteen year old kids on skateboards in California with Scorpions backpatches – that’s awesome! I loved it.
Why do you think the Germans are so good at metal?
Because they have no humor and take themselves very seriously and take everything they do seriously. Germany will never have a thrash revival – it’s an American and British thing because they have a sense of humor about it. Germans don’t get the joke. They never moved past it, or never started. That’s what I like about Germany -being too serious for revivals. They don’t have this second thought about things. It’s like how many Germans do you need to change a lightbulb? One because they can do it and have no sense of humor. That’s one of the few things you can rely on in Germany with people playing metal. I don’t want to sound cocky but it’s true.
Germany probably does have the most good metal bands per capita…
I do agree. Especially in the last five years it’s been pretty awesome.
Even now that you have toured the world you feel tied to the German scene?
No – I have never felt a tie to the German scene. We don’t go to shows, collect records or read magazines. We want to stay separate from that. We are not a classic metal and. We are a heavy band but I don’t know if we are a metal band. The thing is I appreciate a whole lot of German bands, but it’s not that I am bound to a scene or a genre, I would be lying if I said that, I’d be trying to show off. But I can’t name a single German metal band I am friends with. I’m friends with a few non-German metal bands. I’m buddies with people like Deathrite – but there is nothing in the scene that Mantar ever belonged too or was a part of. Not because we are better it just never happened. When we started we spent every day in the rehearsal room and then started touring. We never grew out of a scene. It has never been that way. We didn’t choose that we just got good offers. We had a deal pretty much before we played a show which was just luck. It’s not because we’re brilliant it’s just that people heard about the band. I’m glad we ended up with Svart Records that was perfect for the first record. It’s a good label and they put out a live record for us last week.
What do you love so much about music?
It makes me forget things. I think too much. It’s hard for me to relax and music is a meditation for me. IT lets you focus on a single thing and nothing else. And it gives me the option to drink. I’m kind of a professional drinker when I’m on tour. I have a good excuse to do what I do. That’s not the real reason. I started playing in punk bands when I was 12 and I sang about drinking beers even though I didn’t start drinking until I was 14, which makes me a fake ass cunt! I just like playing in bands. I was 6 years old when my dad gave me AC/DC tapes and it’s a love that lasts forever. There is never a day I don’t listen to AC/DC. It’s the love of my life. Some people like sports, I like sports a whole lot, but it’s not comparable to the amount I love music. You love music too obviously, can you explain it?
I looked at my life when I was 18 and I realized that all I cared about was alcohol, loud things and attractive women and then I came here…
That’s a good answer! Music and alcohol never led me to attractive women. I do have an attractive woman but that has nothing to do with music or alcohol. But still – that’s a good shot!
Any final words of wisdom?
September 1st! Can’t wait. Bringing hell to the United States!
Interview: Matt Bacon.