Art Rock Sweden – Interview with Chris Troy


Praying Mantis Q&A with Chris TroyAugust 2009

Congratulations on a new brilliant album.
How has the response been so far?

– Thank you so much. The response has been fantastic and so much above our wildest expectations. Really hope the momentum continues.

It took awhile between The Journey Goes On and Sanctuary.
What was the major reason for that?

– I think one of the major reasons that Sanctuary is good is that it sounds so fresh. We have taken a step back over these years in order to cleanse our minds and introduce this rejuvenated style. I know it is 6 years and in truth it is hard to believe it has been that long. Hopefully it won’t be another 6 years.

How does the songwriting and recording process work in the band?

– There is no specific rigid format and each member has their own styles. Personally, I like writing on a sequencer and layering a song with the instrument, albeit electronically generated to initially give an idea on how the song will sound. On top of this the vocals are then added to see if the melody lines will be strong enough. Seems to work for me, and it’s my own style of working.

How come you choose the Muse Studios in Atlanta to record the album?

– Andy the producer already had a great reputation and we knew that if we went to Atlanta we would be away from our families and other work commitments such that the full concentration could be given to the recording process. Andy actually moved his own family out of the house whilst we recorded it in order that we could move in and trash the place !!….. not really, we were quite tidy really ( I know it’s not very rock and roll is it !!! ). The whole thing worked so well and the album is testament to Andy’s abilities and the mental process of how we approached this album.

Introduce the 3 new members of Praying Mantis and why did they get the job?

– Well in one form or another, we actually already played with Andrew Burgess (guitar) and Benjamin Reid (drums) in other bands and it just seemed such a natural progression as the chemistry was so good. Mike we have known for years and when we heard he was not doing a lot in the music scene, we thought we would try his voice out on some of the early demos that we did for Sanctuary such as “Touch the Rainbow” and we were bowled over, as it did really fit the bill.

What do you think is the biggest difference between The Journey Goes On and Sanctuary?

– Six years and the biggest difference is that Sanctuary actually sounds like a band whereas The journey goes on comes across a little bit like a concept album ( different vocalists , etc ).

How come you picked Sanctuary as the new album title?

– Ahh that’s a good one !… we were toying around for ages to try to agree on a title and it kept changing. At one stage it was “Touch the Rainbow” then it became “Threshold Of A Dream”. In the end, we just thought “Sanctuary” as it was short and straight to the point. In addition when we had agreed on the artwork we realised that the art form and the album title complimented each other really well.

What is your favorite song on Sanctuary?

– It seems to vary from day to day and the mood that I am in !… that’s the good thing about the album in that everybody seems to have different favourites . That is how it should always be .Presently its “Restless Heart” .

What is your favourite Praying Mantis album and song?

– Well putting Sanctuary aside, I think it has to be “A Cry For The New World”. After all these years it still remains one of my favourites.

Being such a big part of the NWOBHM is that something have been nothing but a positive thing or do you feel that it have had some negative sides to it as well?

– It’s possible that we were never really a NWOBHM band and that we were automatically chucked into that bracket, because that’s all that really existed!. Overall the NWOBHM tag has been extremely good to us though because it took us to a level where we probably would not have reached if we had fallen outside the classification. However maybe we helped extend the bracket of NWOBHM to incorporate a bit more melody.

Any plans for a dvd?

– Not in the immediate future, but I am sure there will be one next year.

What bands and artists are your biggest influence?

– Well going back to the roots of the band all those years ago it was bands such as Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash, both which featured the twin guitars and some great melodic songs.

Are there any regrets in your 30 year history?

– No doubt it’s not being big enough !! but who knows now, the sky has no limits !! Better late than never.

What is the proudest moment so far in your music life?

– Amazingly enough, it may be now, having recorded this album “Sanctuary“and receiving the sort of feedback we have waited to hear for 30 years !!

How does the rest of 2009 and 2010 look for Praying Mantis?

– There is much more live work lined up than we normally do, but we are all really looking forward to that part of it. In November for instance, we are going back to Japan and that should be pretty interesting.

Any gigs in Sweden?

– Yes there is one in October though as yet I am awaiting confirmation of the details.

Next year it is the 30th anniversary of your first tour with Iron Maiden.
Any chance of that happening again in 2010?

– It could well happen…but I will keep that one under my belt.

Any message to all your Swedish fans?

– Welcome to our music, hopefully it will keep you warm on those cold nights!!!
Very best wishes.