28 May, 2012

Interview: Mars Attacks

While Roland, Oliver, David and Martin of Mars Attacks were in Australia for Garterbelts & Gasoline, I caught up with Martin to get the low down on all things out of this world.

Sheri Bomb: Is this your first time in Australia?

Martin Telfser: Yes! For all of us! That’s why I didn’t want to miss the chance for some sightseeing before the shows.

SB: What are you most looking forward to about your visit down under?

MT: To play here for an audience that probably never seen us ‘live’ before, and also to see what the scene is like over here.

SB: How did the band first form?

MT: Back in 1998, all of us had bands we played in, but we were all looking for something exciting, new, fresh...something like "wild and authentic rockabilly". A much overused term just a bit later, so we just call it "outer space rockabilly" now, since we have many influences and many original songs.

SB: Do you have a favorite album out of the five you’ve released?

MT: Mmm, always the latest I guess ! That's "Recaptured!" Though I like all albums :)

SB: How do the songs on ‘Follow Me!’ differ from your older material?

MT: There’s some faster material on it, and it's probably the opposite album to its predecessor "Circle of Love" which was more relaxed, and -from the recording- "cleaner" than the sometimes tube overdriven "Follow Me" album.

SB: Where do you draw your influences from?

MT: Well, different influences for all of us; speaking of myself, my main influences are guitar players like Grady Martin, Scotty Moore and Carl Perkins.

Roland likes Elvis a lot, and David is influenced a lot by Jazz players like Buddy Rich and  Gene Krupa.

As a band, I guess we all like stuff like Johnny Burnette and Carl Perkins’ music but there’s a lot more than that.

SB: What is your songwriting and recording process like?

MT: We are lucky to have three songwriters in the band. Sometimes we just write what crosses our minds, and sometimes it’s more focused, for example the ‘Circle of Love’ album was more a concept album or "Nice Mr. Heavyweight", which I wrote for a friend by request.

For the recording process we usually only have one or maximum two weekends to record. All released records so far were recorded live in the studio with nearly no overdubs. Usually we used some vintage gear and on most records everything is recorded on two track tape recorders in mono. Until 2010, we recorded in the Blue Lake Recording Studio, after that with Little Big Beat.

SB: In April of 2011 you released a 26-track compilation of re-recorded tracks - what makes this record different?

MT: It’s the first time we re-recorded stuff, and I think the songs are now really sounding the way we sound live. It felt good to play material we were familiar with and it was the first time in a different studio and with a new engineer.

The ‘Recaptured’ idea was born, because our very first label didn’t reprint the first two albums, and also an EP. So we took the songs from that period (1999-2003) that we liked the most, added two bonus songs, and had a 26 track album!

SB: What do you think sets you apart from other bands in your genre?

MT: I think the songwriting, the live shows, the trumpet...well maybe that’s a question that should be answered by the audience...come out to our shows and judge for yourself!

SB: You’ve had your songs featured in the movie ‘Zombies From Outer Space’ – what was this process like?

MT: It was actually very easy, because we’d just been to the studio for the Recaptured record and there was no other recording date in sight and no time to write and record a song for them, so we gave them a song from that record ‘Rocket in the Sky’.

SB: Do you have a lot of support back home? Where are you finding your music is most popular and does this surprise you?

MT: We are actually playing a lot out of our home countries Austria and Switzerland. Not because there’s a lack of support, more due to their size. We toured most of Europe and the USA so it’s very hard to pick a favourite....with a good crowd we always have fun on stage!

SB: What has been the highlight of your music career?

MT: Hmm...every good show is a highlight! But of course we very much liked festivals like the Rockabilly Rave UK, High Rockabilly Spain and Green Bay USA.

SB: You guys have been playing together for almost 15 years now, what’s your secret to a long and successful band relationship?

MT: Regarding both success and band relationship: I think we always kept it interesting. We constantly had new goals, wrote new material, had new countries to conquer and constantly released new CDs. I also think we worked hard to constantly improve.

SB: If the band had not been successful, what do you think you would be doing instead?

MT: Even though we all actually still have day jobs, there’s nothing else we could imagine doing. Even if the band hadn’t been successful I think we would still all play this kind of music.

SB: What do you hope the future holds for you guys?

MT: We just recorded a new album, should be released later in 2012 on a new label and we hope it’s gonna lift us up a bit...we wrote some nice songs for it, and will play some of them on this tour already.

Keep your eyes on these guys, it was great to be introduced to their music at Garterbelts & Gasoline and as I can vouch from being front and centre, THEY ROCKED! I'm really looking forward to the new album and hope that Mars Attacks makes it back to Australian shores real soon!

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