FTY : Can you tell me about the members of Mandelenda and how did the band get it’s name?
The band consists of two guitars, Jesse and Marcel, myself (Naoki) on drums, Camilo on violin and keyboard, and Gaspar on bass. The name Mandelenda was randomly thought up by Jesse one night when we were out drinking at a friend’s house. Man is human kind and delenda means “to be erased or done without” so Mandelenda is “to do without mankind”.
FTY : How did the band meet?
Jesse (guitar) and Marcel (guitar) started playing together back in the beginning of high school. They met from playing on the same travel soccer team. Marcel and I met through soccer as well but we didn’t know each other’s real names until senior year of High School. I was playing drums in a pop punk cover band with everyone having a severe case of stage fright. However, I wanted to compete in the high school talent show and finally worked up the courage to talk to Marcel to ask if he could accompany me on stage. That’s where Jesse, myself, and Marcel met. Once we played together, I replaced the drummer in their current group at the time which was an emo rock band. We parted ways with the singer of that group soon after and for about 2 years, Marcel, Jesse, and myself just jammed together without any direction or structure to our sessions. We began to grow our music into something more orchestral and that’s where Camilo (violin/keys) joined the group. We ditched the standard format of songs you hear on the radio and when we wrote music, we played what we felt should happen next just based on how it sounds and not following any traditional rock structure. We tried having a singer for a time being but it never really worked out. In between all of this, I was at college 4 hours away so our practices were limited to the summers and whenever I could come back. We kept writing and playing shows here and there but once I returned after graduation, we decided to buckle down and write a full album. Most of the songs were there and after trying out a few friends on bass, Camilo brought in his talented younger brother as the final bassist who really added to round out our group.
FTY : How much of an instrumental music scene is there in California?
The instrumental music scene is very limited. As I can recall, I don’t think we have ever played with another instrumental group at a show. It has its pros and cons. Some people aren’t interested because they are so used to having a vocalist leading the group and for others, its refreshing to experience the music rather than try to listen to lyrics.
FTY : For someone who didn’t know your music, how would you describe your sound?
We would like to describe our sound as very dynamic with moments of subtle arrangements to giants walls of distortion. When you listen to our songs, we want to create an experience that moves you through different emotions from rejoice to suspense and everything in between.
FTY :You have just released your debut full length album. Can you tell me about this release and how did it get the name Micropsia? Feel free to talk about the tracks if you want
Micropsia was one of the most tedious processes we have ever gone through. We tried recording it ourselves at home in the garage and it just didn’t have the same effect as our live shows. We met an awesome producer and now dear friend name Paul Rhoda who helped us work through trying to achieve the power and dynamics of our live shows. “The Depth of All Fields” was our first step because we rented a cabin up in the mountains and recorded this song live without a click track. We had recorded the other songs that weekend as well but still with a click track and with all of our tempo changes, it just didn’t sound right. We discovered this was the best process and then went on to record “Nomuras’ Bloom” at Camilo and Gaspar’s house live taking up each room with a different instrument. This is where Paul came in and helped us. After that song came out the way we wanted, we rented out the rehearsal studio that Paul worked at at night from the hours of 9 PM to 5 AM and recorded the other tracks: “What A View”, “Rorschach” (which had to be rerecorded), and “Aperture! Stop!” throughout 4 months. The interludes were recorded at Paul’s home. It was a very arduous process which took over a year but worth it in the end. The name Micropsia comes from a human condition which was most notably affected by the daughter of author for Alice in Wonderland where everything is perceived as much smaller than they actually are and that was an underlying theme throughout our album.
FTY : How do you go about the writing the music, do you start at the beginning of the song? is there one person who does the writing or is it a collective process? and then how do you then go about putting titles on the songs?
The writing process is tough to describe for us. Everyone contributes creatively on how we want a song to go and which direction. Sometimes we start at the beginning and sometimes we start on a riff that someone wrote and build around it. The names for songs on Micropsia all have different meanings. “Aperture! Stop!” has to do with photography and the amount of light that is let in. “Nomura’s Bloom” is named after the massive jellyfish (which is our band symbol) found off of the coast of Japan. “The Depth of All Fields” is another take on human perception. “What a View” is dedicated to our friend who we lost last year and “Rorschach” has to do with the Rorschach ink blot tests how each individual can see something different in the same picture. Also, you can hear quotes from one of our favorite philosophers, Alan Watts throughout the album.
FTY : How often do you play live and are there any plans on doing any tours in 2013?
We usually try to play at least one show a month for now until we build our fan base a bit more. We would ultimately like to tour but for now we are trying to play as many shows in southern CA as possible
FTY : Who or what influences you to do what you do?
Everyone in the band has different influences which shows through how different some of our songs are from one another. I think collectively the band’s biggest influences are Explosions in the Sky, Radiohead, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Mars Volta, Brand New, and Colour Revolt. The full list would be much much longer but those are the main ones that everyone is really blow away by.
FTY : How do you promote yourself, are you using Social media and to what extent and how successful is that media to the success of the band?
Yes, we are on facebook, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, and of course trying to contact podcasts and blogs. Anything to have people just listen to our music. It has definitely been beneficial but really, the best way to get new excited fans are to play shows.
FTY : If you could collaborate with any artist/band, who would it be and why?
There are so many bands out there that we would love to play with and collaborate with on tour. I think Explosions in the Sky or Radiohead would be our ultimate dream to share a stage with.
FTY : What was the last piece of music that you guys listened to?
The last band that Jesse, Marcel, and myself went to go see live was The Dear Hunter. Extremely talented group.
FTY : What does the future hold for Mandelanda?
We are currently working on material for our next album which I am very excited about. Until we complete those, we are going to be trying to play as many shows as possible in the CA and hopefully be able to branch out to other states and venues.