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Interview // 2022-04-02

Mares of Thrace

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After Mares of Thrace's eight-year hiatus, Casey Rogers has joined this two-piece band. He is pulling his weight with doing bass and drums, as well as production and engineering. 

The grit of the screams and weight of the riffs draw me into a world where no home is solid. I love how this album was created out of a cathartic need. Thérése, the guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist, has created something great here! And I got the chance to talk with her.

If you haven't heard them, check them out!

My fellow Canadian! It sounds like you have lived in many places in Canada. Sadly, I have only been to Ontario, Quebec, and through to British Columbia. So, I am going to start off with some questions to address some Canadian stereotypes. 

In the cold of winter, do you wear long johns?

THÉRÉSE LANZ: Nah, but I got these flannel-lined jeans from the Eddie Bauer clearance rack and I wear them basically October to late April. I know, I'm a real fashion icon. 

Are you a hat person or a hood person, in extreme temperatures?

THÉRÉSE: Both! Toque (or "beanie", if you're American) goes on, hoodie hood goes up, then jacket hood goes over that. 

Tim Horton's or Starbucks?

THÉRÉSE: Blechhh, neither. If I have to pick a chain, Second Cup. 

Have you ever ridden a dog sled? Been in an igloo?

THÉRÉSE: Ok storytime: my family is from the Philippines. One time, a bunch of my extended family were visiting us in Calgary for Christmas, and it was a particularly brutal cold snap - I think it got down to -40. My mom, being a mom, decided that we were going to do wholesome family Christmas stuff anyway, so we went to Fish Creek Park where you can take a hayride through the snowy park. And then, being a mom, she GOT THE CAMERA OUT. So there are all these photos of a bunch of frozen Southeast Asians looking absolutely miserable in a hay-filled horse-drawn wagon while the temperature is cold enough to kill a human being within a half hour.

Poutine or BeaverTails?

THÉRÉSE: I had the B.O.M. (bacon, onions, and merguez) poutine at La Banquise in Montreal, and it ruined me on all other poutine. I mean, I never got that horny for poutine in the first place, but this particular poutine haunts my dreams.

Coldest temperature you can remember?

THÉRÉSE: Honestly, probably that fucking hayride. 

Tell me about your first memory of when you started getting into heavier music?

THÉRÉSE: A drama in three parts:

1) AM 106 (a pop radio station in Calgary) turned into Mix 1060 (playing grunge, which was popular at the time). I heard grunge music and immediately thought "this fuckin' whips, this is way better than Mariah Carey."

2) The stoners in my high school art class put on Black Sabbath and Metallica when they got a turn with the boombox, and I immediately thought "this fuckin' whips even harder than Soundgarden."

3) The pretentious record store employees I hung out with would play The Jesus Lizard at parties, and I immediately thought "I want to spend the rest of my life trying to make sounds that sound like this."  

It sounds like music creation comes to you and sort of takes over and you don’t have a lot of control over the direction it goes. Is there material that comes to you that you need to keep to yourself?

THÉRÉSE: Only the riffs that suck. 

Does the music start coming to you only in certain situations, or do you find it comes in the middle or working or shopping or something?

THÉRÉSE: Oh god, it has the worst timing. I keep a notebook on me at all times, and of course this got a lot easier now that phones can record voice clips. I always get my best ideas during a shower or during work meetings or when trying to have a normal adult conversation. Did I mention I've recently been diagnosed with ADHD? 

I know you also are an artist, which is really awesome. Do you find you are creative with both music and art at the same time or one at a time?

THÉRÉSE: Thank you! I have historically found it impossible to give them equal time and attention; I tend to go into hardcore multiple-year binges of one or the other where one of them is all I think about or talk about or do. The ADHD community informs me this is called "hyperfocusing." Who knew?!

How did you know this album was complete? How long did it take you?

THÉRÉSE: Hah, I knew it was complete when our label emailed me and said, "Hey, COVID has really messed up vinyl production timelines, we're gonna need those masters right away." We had planned to do more tweaks and even add more songs, but sometimes it's actually better if you don't get the opportunity to nitpick your own work to death. The whole thing was tracked over about a week in January 2020.

Casey has joined the band as the second member for this album. He did the engineering and production? Was that the plan from the start?

THÉRÉSE: Yeah, because he's a freak who's amazing at everything. Because we were coming back from such a long hiatus, we wanted to do it the cheapest DIY method possible... But honestly, I don't think any quality was sacrificed because of it. I'm quite proud of how it turned out.

Tell me about your experience learning to scream. How did you get to what we hear in this band?

THÉRÉSE: You know how when baby turtles hatch, they just know how to head toward the water, and when they hit the water, they just know how to start swimming? I just kinda did it. I didn't watch any of those harsh-vocal technique or training videos that you can get on YouTube now, though many people have told me they're great. I guess growling is just in my nature?!

Tell me about the band name. Wild flesh-eating horses in mythology. What drew you towards it?

THÉRÉSE: Because HORSES that EAT THEIR OWNER and BREATHE FIRE and DRINK BLOOD are EXTREMELY METAL. I mean, a lot of mythology is, but it also had a ring to it. I also liked how it implied the feminine - many of my favourite things from mythology are specifically female and monstrous. Not sexy at all, just covered in gore and terrifying.

You created the album artwork. At what stage during the process did you create this piece of art?

THÉRÉSE: A very panicked two weeks last August when our label let us know about the COVID vinyl timelines.

I love tattoos and I can’t help but notice you have some beauties. Can you tell me about one of yours?

THÉRÉSE: Sure! They're mostly my D&D characters! The one on my left forearm was a ranger/rogue I played in a campaign in 2016. She was essentially a bandit and con artist who grifted her way into a noble family, but was so loved and accepted by them that she turned herself into a cool badass scion worthy of them. 

Jana Sloan wrote the mini graphic novel found within the album. Did you work on any games with her?

THÉRÉSE: I did not, but we've been friends for a long time. We did work at Ubisoft at the same time while she was working on Assassin's Creed: Origins, but we worked in different offices, so we just talked shit over the company chat app.

Considering your experience in working on art for video games, tell me: if you were a character in a game what character would you be? Attributes, Skills, Race?

THÉRÉSE: HAHA, I DETECT A FELLOW NERD! I'd be a Tiefling bard. Decent intelligence, decent charisma, crappy wisdom, remarkably good constitution, low dexterity because I'm clumsy as shit.

Your album is excellent! I am enjoying it! I wish you all the best!


Playlist Pick

After interviewing Mares of Thrace, I decided to add the song Offerings Of Hand And Tongue to my playlist.

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