If you think that being a member of a Metal band is all about having an attitude and pretending that youíre evil, you need to meet Mircea, the guitarist and mastermind behind Mnemic, a very promising quintet from Denmark. This interview took place on the backstage of the London Underworld, half an hour before the band stormed the stage and blew our minds away.
Hi Mircea. Mnemic is quite an interesting name for a band, and being a Greek am I to know what it means?
Mircea: Yes, the name is taken from the Ancient Greek mythology and to make a long story short, it means "everything that relates to memory", thatís all I can tell you. We actualy made our own interpetation to the name which is "Mainly Neurotic Energy Modifying Instant Creation"...
Quite complicated, isnít it?
Mircea: Exactly, but we wanted a name that could fit to our music and we think that this one realy does that Ė complicated name for complicated music!
Could you give us a short bio of the band?
Mircea: The band was formed in 1998 as a three piece: Me (guitars), Brian on the drums and Rune the guitar player. We recruited a bass player and a singer with whom we recorded two demos. Both of them left after a while and we recruited a new singer and a new bass player who came from another Danish band called Grope who are also no longer part of Mnemic. Last year, we got in touch with Nuclear Blast records. They saw that the band had a alot of potential and based on what they heard from our two demos, they decided to sign the band.
So "Mechanical Spin Phenomena" is your first album ever.
Mircea: Yes, this is our debut album.
"Mechanical Spin Phenomena" combines many different styles of music. What kind of audience do you think that your music targets?
Mircea: More or less, we want to approach everybody. Itís no secret that we have been inspired by bands such as Fear Factory, Messugah and Strapping Young Lad. When we decided to write music for this album we said that we wanted to play metal, but we all agreed that we want to have variety in our music. We are equally interested in approaching an industrial audience as we are in approaching a metal audience.
Last year you toured with Death Angel. What was the experience of touring with such an important band?
Mircea: It was very fun because that was our very first tour. We became friends with them since we toured Europe with them for almost three weeks. Thatís when we showed the European croud what Mnemic is all about.I really donít know what else to say, it was a great experience.
Based on the complexity of the compositions, would you say that "Mechanical Spin Phenomena"is an easy listening album? Was the creation of such music your primary intention?
Mircea: No, not at all. We just wahted to create something equally technical and melodic with plenty of power. I will agree with you that itís not an easy listening album, but if you are into the music of Fear Factory you should give it a try and hopefuly you will like it Ė or maybe you wonít, who knows!
It must have been weird to play with Death Angel. Their music is Thrash and that kind of music usualy targets a young audience. Your music is more complicated so I am really interested to find out how you were treated by their fans.
Mircea: On that tour we were played with Death Angel, Darkane and Mystic Prophecy. There you had three different bands all of which played a different kind of music: Old school Thrash Metal and Power Metal. If you think about it the only band with which we kind of fitted was Darkane, cause they have a modern Thrashy sound. Stll we had a great time and hopefuly we gained some new fans.
Letís go back to the album. Give me some info as to the recording proceedures.
Mircea: The album was recorded at the Ant Farm studios in Denmark, and the guy responsible for the production was Tuo Madsen. We spent a month there recording our material and we are really satisfied with the result. We chose Tuo to be our producer, because he has worked with many different kind of bands (Tuo Madsen has been the producer of quite a few Country bands). There are quite a few producers in Denmark, but we chose him for three reasons: he was near to our city, he was affordable and he had previous experience of the band as he produced one of our demos...
Can you describe the song-writing process to me?
Mircea: We live in three different cities, so every time we need to rehearse, we have to meet up, which involves quite a lot of travelling. Sometimes, I write a couple of riffs on the computer and send them to the drummer and he makes a rhythm out of them, other times we compose whilst being in the studio all together and when we are jamming. In the old days we used to listen to the same riff for seven to eight hours, trying to figure out how the song should sound.
Can I ask you about the lyrics of the album? Iím pretty sure theyíre as complicated as your music!
Mircea: Not really, the lyrics are more oriented towards the human psyche: they deal with psychological aspects, but I canít really say much as it is Michael our vocalist who is responsible for the lyrics.
What is the bandís main goal, what do you want to achieve with Mnemic?
Mircea: World domination! (laughs)
Like everyone else, huh? (I laugh)
Mircea: Well we believe in the music and itís like a dream come true to us Ė weíre releasing an album, going on tour , meeting new people and seeing new places and this is what we wnat to do and it comes straight from the heart. Everybodyís into it100% and thatís how we have achieved all these goals so far Ė weír e working full-time on it.
Itís probably a bit early to ask you something like this Ė but what has been your most memorable moment as a band so far?
Mircea: Being on tour with Machine Head and playing in front of 2000 people every night that was quite an experience and the last day of the tour we had a lot of fun with Machine Head Ė we had a big afterparty at the hotel that night and that was really something special.
What made you want to become a musician in the first place?
Mircea: Alice Cooper. I listened to Alice Cooper when I was young and thatís when I decided that all I wanted to do was to play guitar and put plenty of make up on and play for an audience.
The only Danish bands I can remember are King Diamond /Mercyful Fate and Artillery...How easy is it for a Danish band to enter the world music stage?
Mircea: Well itís cool, itís wonderful...The problem in Denmark is that if you are signed to a Danish label (which ar usually pretty bad), you will never cross the border. You wonít get out of the borders and you wonít tour as they donít have any money to support you in that. We are very lucky Ė King Diamond is with Metal Blade, Artillery are long-gone and now we have Hateís Fear that are with Scarlet Records, an Italian label and theyíve been on tour with The Haunted and things are happening slowly.
We are the only band from Denmark who have achieved all these things that none of the other bands in the whole country have achieved Ė going on tour, the recognition that the album has had. The fact that the record label (Nuclear Blast) acknowledged the potential of the album and signed us up was also very important. In the beginning we didnít know what to expect from them at all, but after we sent them master tapes they decided that they liked us so much, that they went totally crazy with promotion.
How were you discovered by the label? Did you send a demo to them?
Mircea: No, we did the demo and a couple of days after we put it on our website on the internet and they had this freelance guy from LA who heard the demo off the net and he sent us an email telling us to send the demo to Nuclear Blast in Germany as it had a lot of potential. In the mean time, we were getting other offers from other labels, but Nuclear Blast were the best option for us. They contacted us and here we are!
Do you have any future plans for a second album? Have you got any new songs ready yet?
Mircea: We are working on a new album... We have to go into the studio in July and, hopefully, it will be released 2 or 3 months after that. Then weíll go on tour, some of which will be in the US and in Japan, but right now weíre concentrating on writing material.
Do you have anything else to say to your fans out there?
Mircea: Support metal, buy metal and live and breathe metal... and buy our damned, darned album!!! Thank you very much for the interview!
Interview © 2004