Part Donna Summer, part The Electric Company, Mantraband is a sing along, dance along, disco catharsis joy cult. The synthy dance club vibes are the music baby of Matt Manges on drums (Circus Contraption, Annie Ford Band, Orkestar Zirkonium), Doug Arney on bass (Correspondents), and Sari Breznau (Flotsam River Circus, Up Up Up Crane Truck Circus, Future Fridays) on synth and trumpet, with the help of the Mantraband Friends Fellowship Society, a choir of true believers, on vocals. Unabashedly positive, Mantraband is here to uplift, unite, dork out, and get down.
LYFE. The pandemic. Panic attacks. Loneliness. Aging parents, aging bodies, death. Fucking DEATH. Who has time for coolness anymore? Gotta do what we can to find joy right in the middle of the suck. Right? Mantraband’s upcoming self-titled album (out April 29) exists outside of criticism and taste, beyond genre or vibe, in a place of ecstatic, human, silly, release. This record is for dancing in your socks, Risky Business style. For calming yourself when you’re freaking out, for letting go when you’re holding too tight, for pumping up, for letting loose, for peacing out.
Today Mantraband shares one of the singles off the upcoming release, “No Need To Hide.” Breaznau says of the single, “This tune, like all of our tunes, is a mantra to tuck in your back pocket for when you need help getting through the hard stuff. This was the jam we came up with when I came to band practice with the realization that I sometimes hide my true, loud, joyful, deeply uncool self to try to be more acceptable to others. This is a song of liberation – accept yourself, be yourself, resist shame and don’t hide. And oh yeah…. dance it out, always.”
From Seattle, Mantraband was born on a late-night stormy road trip; three friends driving to Oregon through the pounding rain with a busted defrost. The weight of adulthood pressing down, they started sharing mantras for getting through the day. A notebook appeared and the pages filled up with variously nonsensical, unreadable, and profound snippets. The concept was then laid out – lengthy dance jams, with sing-along mantras that would stick with people, to help them get through. Shows that would feel like a self-help seminar on acid. A pseudo-cult with mono-colored clothes and a killer dance floor of people feeling free.
By the time the journey ended, the plan was fully formed. Rehearsals started, songs solidified, and a policy of saying yes to all ideas emerged. The band became the house band for the Art Martyrs Relief Society’s annual showcase. A thrift store run and a bathtub of dye turned the monochrome cult clothes dream into a reality. A choir of friends was recruited to lead the crowd in singing the mantras, and people DANCED.
Two years of epically fun jams later, the Mantraband record was made. Instrumental tracks were laid down in a buddy’s home studio, with Doug doubling as bass player and recording engineer. Mistakes were made, fun was had, and eventually, the Art Martyrs Relief Society got on board with helping to fund the final phases of the process.
Eric Padget at Noise Noise Ouch Stop Records recorded the vocals, Steve Fisk (Father Sound himself) was a perfect match for mixing – not only are his ears and production creativity legendary, Steve has a lifelong obsession with cult music and an encyclopedic knowledge of every fringy wingnut who ever laid down tracks.
Photo Courtesy: Dallas Quick