We caught up recently with Therese Lance of MARES OF THRACE before their latest tour. We talked about a great many subjects and we laughed the entire time because she is hysterically funny!
MAA: You and Stefani (MacKichan) are about to hit the road again. What should fans expect to hear?
TL: Severe irreversible hearing damage! I just upgraded to a 200 watt rig so I can already anticipate the universal cry in unison of sound guys going “Uh, can you please turn down? You are killing the room and you’re not in the mix yet!” It’s a burden I’ve shouldered all my life.
MAA: Please describe the writing process for The Moulting and how the new recording will be different?
TL: The writing process for The Moulting was that Stef and I were in a punk band for five years. Essentially we started MARES was because the bass player for the punk band was actually my sister who decided to semi-retire because she wanted to get married and have a baby. We didn’t want to replace her since she’s my sister and I lover her to pieces. So we were like ‘let’s just be a two piece.’ And we were talking about doing a slow heavy project since the early 2000s. We were hanging in our practice space and I told Stef to play some sort of off-time, sludgey, NEUROSIS-y weird beat and she did and that became “Venison” off of The Moulting and that was the first thing we ever did as a band. It’s like tourettes syndrome, it just kind of happens. That’s our writing style. (laughs)
MAA: What are some of your personal influences as a musician?
TL: Musical influences? Because I’m a a big proponent of non-musical influences in music.
MAA: What ever you feel comfortable talking about.
TL: Basically I’m just trying to rewrite the album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (laughs). I like all kinds of heavy music, but I find most all of the innovation in modern heavy music has gone to the slow and low sort of feel. The stoner-y, sludgy, doom-y style, I find is where the art has migrated to, but also all of the genuine menace. We’re all so jaded at this point. I know back in the 1970s we all thought Gene Simmons was Satan’s personal valet and now we’re all totally jaded on that shit. But I think it is in this genre that I find bands that make me go “Holy fuck! I’m terrified for my life right now.” I think that is what metal is supposed to be about.
MAA: Right. The “General Sherman” video disturbed the shit out of me! Please take me through the process of making it.
TL: See? There you go! That’s what we’re trying to do. That is what we wanted to do. See Stef and I are at a disadvantage because we are both 5-4, skinny and cute. So we have to do a bit more leg work to truly strike terror into peoples hearts when you have a battle just being born in that format. But if you found the “General Sherman” video unnerving then I know I did my job well and I can rest easy knowing I did a good job with my time on Earth. I also have a funny story about the video too. That video was done super, super D.I.Y. It was done by a buddy of ours who is a total pro, but it was all DIY and all the make up, all the costumes was stuff we had laying around. So I found that 1940′s vintage, Wednesday Addams dress which I was wearing when I was playing Stef’s demonic, Jekyll and Hyde half. And I put on my corpse paint and put my some pig tails on. And I needed to pick up a saw, some hedge trimmers and a hatchet which you will see in the video because I used it on Josh. I knew my parents had some hedge clippers so I showed up at my mom and dad’s house in that dress and corpse paint and said “Hey mom! Can I borrow a hatchet and some hedge clippers.” Of course my mom didn’t didn’t bat an eye! She was completely unfazed and at this point there is nothing I can do to weird them out anymore. (laughs) I did bring the stuff back when I was done.
MAA: Do you feel MARES have an uphill battle a) as women in heavy music and b) playing an avant-garde style of metal to begin with?
TL: I consider it very much a double-edged sword. I think for every person that goes “Oh, hey cool a girl in a metal band” there will be another person that will go “Eww, girls in a metal band.” But I swear to Jesus, our lord and saviour that if we sounded exactly the way we sound, but we were four fat dudes with long beards and beer guts, there would be some people who would be into us that are not into us now. But you know, whatever. If I set out to do something that would be universally enjoyed I would’ve baked cookies and not play metal. (laughs)
MAA: How did the Revolver photo shoot happen?
TL: Let me put it this way: I knew what I was getting into. I am a totally a bitchy, humorless second-wave femenist. (laughs) I definitely debated it and soul-searched whether to do that shoot or not. A bunch of women I deeply, deeply admire have done it and also a bunch of women I deeply admire have turned it down for much of the same reasons I was uncomfortable with it. What actually made me do it was something my mom said once, when I was a teen which was “The only way you can change any system is from the inside.” So I did the shoot. I was completely clothed except for my wrists, I wore my ugliest pair of glasses and talked mostly about video games in the interview. (laughs) I’d like to think I tried to take it back. Whether or not that message came across or not, I don’t know. My buddy who writes for Decibel called me when he saw it and said to me he saw what I was doing there and he knew I did it on my own terms. And then a feminist friend of mine accused me of being un-feminist so you can’t make everyone happy.
MAA: I saw you this past spring on the road with KEN MODE. I thought your style fit perfectly with theirs. What was that experience like and are you going to work with them in the future?
TL: It’s hard to say. MARES is my baby where as KEN MODE is Jesse’s baby. My main concern is that KEN MODE has been my favorite Canadian heavy band since 2006. I feel like they have been through a number of bass players and I what they really need is someone who can put them first 100% of the time. They deserve no less than that. And that’s not really me since MARES is my number one. It was an amazing experience and if circumstances lined up, I would totally do it again.
MAA: What is the time frame for the next MARES record?
TL: We are almost done writing and hoping to record in the winter. We’re gonna get Sanford Parker to produce out next record. He is the sweetest, most wonderful person person and he digs us. And we dig his work a lot. Hopefully our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ willing, we’ll have a new record out in the spring and we will be touring next summer.
(Special thanks to Therese and MARES OF THRACE)
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes