Heavy Psych trio Mars Red Sky are back to Portugal, this time to headline a couple of club nights. The spaceship is getting ready to land in Porto (Cave 45) and Lisbon (Sabotage Club), and the promise is nothing else than a heavy and trippy set of performances.
This dates are part of their Iberian Tour, in which they are promoting their latest albumAPEX III (Praise For The Burning Soul). The band recently issued a new video for “Under The Hood” taken off their third album, and also announced the release of a limited 12’’ EP introducing a 19-minute piece recorded on analog tape, which will be available in June on their digital store and on tour.
We took this opportunity and got in touch with Matgaz, Mars Red Sky’s drummer (left on the picture), who answered us some questions. From the new album, previous gigs in Portugal, to the actual political moment in France, there’s a lot to discover next.
Wav: The last time we talked was in 2014, when you were promoting Stranded in Arcadia. Looking back, what were you back them and what are you today? Many changes as a band or as a person?
Mat : Of course life is doing its way, and we get a bit older, but still ready to get in the van and set up close to your city to play a concert !
In that previous interview, you told us the story about the recording process of Stranded in Arcadia, which ended to happen in Brazil. How was this time with the new record?
It was totally different, the opposite actually. We were at home in Bordeaux, and eveything that was planed happened the way it was supposed to be. No problem, no shit, nothing. We just had lot of fun tracking these songs with Gabriel Zander who flew over from Rio with Jacob who assisted him. The same team it was for Stranded but at home with more time and more comfort.
I read you say that you do not like to repeat yourselves from album to album. How do you manage to do that?
Of course, we’re not AC/DC, the game is to try to come up with at least something a bit different than the albums before. But still we have our « recipe » if we can say, and we used them in a decent way, and always trying make it go somewhere we don’t expect. As we listen all listen to different kind of music, it definetly helps to get inspiration to try not to repeat ourselves.
When I heard Aphex III, I personally thought that you sound less heavier than you were in your previous works. But, when I saw you live last year in Reverence Festival you were strong as always. How do you manage that balancing between studio works and live acts?
I don’t agree with this, I think the songs and the sound are thicker than the previous material we have. For the new live setlist we chose to mix some parts of different songs in the set. As for example Apex III starts right after the first 2 minutes of The Light Beyond. And you get the rest of the song at the very end of the show. It gives surprises to the listeners and some fresh air to us.
I also think that this album is a little darker and intimate. Do you agree with me? If yes, do you think that for the live experience it can work better in a small venue like the ones you will act in Portugal?
I don’t know, but it’s always good to play small venues. You can feel the people real close and look into their eyes. And some people are amazing dancers. I still cannot believe how they can dance on our music.
This summer you will also return to Hellfest, where you played in 2014. How has the underground scene in France grown since then?
Our friends Datcha Mandala and Libido Fuzz from Bordeaux are getting better and better. For the rest, the scene is active, but to be honest we don’t really care about France but more about Europe and the rest of the world.
In your opinion, what are the main differences between playing on a big stage like in Hellfest or on a small venue? Any personal preference?
The best is to alternate the two things. By the way you don’t get bored after enjoying a big huge stage where you can set up and get the big sound from the monitors, it’s good to be back to the dive bar with no PA playing in front of the people on the same level.
In the past years, you’ve played in Portuguese festivals like Sonic Blast and Reverence Valada, but also a couple of headline dates back in 2012. What memories do you keep from those trips in our country?
I met my girlfriend at Reverence Valada 2014, so for me it’s great souvenir of course!
What is it like to be on tour? I heard that last year in Reverence you were sleeping in the backstage until the time of your concert, which was pretty late in the night. Has it been tiring?
I often say: It’s not what you can imagine. I mean, lot of people imagine we travel, it’s fun, we party and so on. But as you could see the other night in Valada, yes we were sleeping on a hardcase waiting to play our set, in the early morning. And it can be a bit tiring sometimes. But we don’t complain and we’re happy doing what we do.
In 2012 in your venues dates in Portugal you played with the Portuguese band Aspen. Do you know (and like) any Portuguese band?
I remember I really liked this band Souq, playing in Valada in 2014 and Black Bombaim were good too. And last time I was with my girlfriend in Braga we met these guys Mr Mojo, and they are so great guys, and sound really good!
Do you usually care about politics? How have you seen the current political moment in France and the elections?
Well, we are not a political band at all. But still we are citizens and we speak between each other in the van, about everything and politic too. We’re all disapointed, as we all in the band voted for Melenchon who for us was the real alternative and the only one who seem real, and not in plastic. Course flu is still better than cholera…
Do you think that movements like National Front are a threat to Europe in the future?
Yes they are, definitly. On the other hand, most of the counter cultures are born fighting against a repressive government, and maybe we need this to see a real revolution happening.
To end, our typical question. What are your favorites 2017 (or 2016) albums so far?
My favorite album of this year is the new Tigran Hamasyan: An Ancient Observer. It’s out of this world.
Last message to Portuguese fans.
Obrigado pelo vosso apoio e até breve.