Rock Pages Greece Interview with Praying Mantis

The Brits released their new album six years after “The journey goes on”…

They’ve done it this year and it’s a good thing they did, because we’re talking about one of the greatest “come backs” over the past twenty years! “Sanctuary” is a killer album, is recommended for all kinds of ears, it’s the best advertisement for the band; the boys have started dreaming again. We had a fine lil’ chat with Tino Troy (guitars and vocals), Benjy Reid (drums) and Andy Burgess (guitars) and formed a crystal clear view about everything. Oh, those of you watching the band on stage in Athens three years ago… Be prepared, they will be back…

Interview by Costas Koulis : Congrats on the new album! How’s the feedback so far?
Troy: Thank you… The reviews of “Sanctuary” are coming in thick and fast and they are all really positive. Everyone is commenting on what an incredible album it is. : “Sanctuary” is so melodic and powerful, one might even characterize it as AOR! Would you say it’s simply a Praying Mantis album? Or the New Praying Mantis, in that manner?

Benjy Reid: A bit of both, for it is unmistakably a Mantis album, but a new
Praying Mantis band that had yet to be defined; hell, I don’t even think we really knew what was going to happen once the recording light went off. But we’re smiling now.

Tino: The production is more up to date but essentially the flavor is still “classic Mantis”, epic songs with great melody and drama. “Turn The Tide”, “Highway” and “Restless Heart” definitely swing towards AOR, but it is refreshing to be able to offer such variety on one album. The introduction of the new members has brought a new lease of life to the Band.

Andy Burgess: I think we are all blown away, it’s very difficult to judge reaction
and we definitely did the album to suit what we wanted and really worked on making it not written to formula, so when people like it it’s like “hey we were right”! : Orchestration is very tight and the “package” of songs is
multilayered. Fast songs, not so fast, ballad-like… How long have you
been working in order to achieve this high level?

Benjy: Since time began…

Tino: Ha-Ha! Well almost. We pretty much started writing the material back in

Mike (e.n. Freeland – lead vocals) joined in 2006 for the Head Bangers Open Air festival in Germany and by the autumn of that year we had started recording the first demos. To be honest, since the release of “The Journey Goes On”, the journey came to a halt – there was almost bad Karma in that title. However, ultimately it was a blessing in disguise, we used the time wisely. We got in some new blood and we let the songs mature over a period of time. Like any piece of art, you will
either add or erase something or even go back to the drawing board until you are satisfied with it. Having the time to do this is not always a luxury and you have to commit yourself – sometimes dissatisfied. Even now there are elements I think could be better, but one has to draw the line… usually the producer.

Andy: I believe that in mine and Tino’s guitar sounds and styles we have found a great balance, and we have found a way of working together that suits the Mantis sound. We have played together in other projects for quite a few years and this has developed over this period. : Melodies and Mike’s vocals remind me of motifs the likes of Rainbow (Bonnet, Turner periods), Whitesnake and the sort. The essential 80’s element (NWOBHM) is also present. Were you aiming in some sort of combination beneath the Praying Mantis exterior?

Tino : We wanted to keep the Mantis trademark but, at the same time, let the
influences of the fresh blood add a new dimension to the sound as a whole. We think we have found that perfect balance : Any particular reason why the album was recorded in the US?

Benjy: The producer Andy Reilly and I had done a couple of albums together
here in the UK and he had relocated to Atlanta, one of my ex-hometowns. Getting away from the distractions that surround daily life is always best for channeling the concentration (especially five dysfunctional ones, ha-ha!), so we put the two together.

Mike: It was also about the band creating the best album possible, and that
could only happen if we put ourselves in a situation where there were no outside influences. We lived and breathed “Sanctuary” while we were there, which wouldn’t have happened in the UK.

Tino: C’mon guys… There is an element of truth in both those answers, but the
real reason is we did the majority of the recording in the UK and went to the States to record the drums and have a good old party. Heheh!! : You did a video for “Turn the tide”. How come you picked that one?

Mike: Everyone who hears this song loves it. TTT (Lonely Way Home) has a
really big appeal, and so far it’s worked, with big hits on our myspace site and You Tube. Radio stations in the UK are playing this so there really is something about this song… : Have you scheduled any live appearances yet?

Mike: We’re very much on the case regarding live performances, so all I can
say is watch this space. Europe, Japan and the UK will be happening with a view to the States and Australia. : You played in Greece in 2006. How was it? Did you have fun back then? Any good memories?

Benjy: The gigs were good and well received, we’re always having fun and the
only thing I can remember is the soundman getting punched down the stairs by the singer.

Tino: It was a fantastic feeling to play to our Greek fans and we now look forward to doing many more shows over there. As Benjy puts it… We’re always having fun, we work hard so we can play hard. : What’s next to come, concerning the band?

Tino: Obviously we want to spread the word about “Sanctuary” as far and wide
as humanly possible and, with the power of Internet, TTT has the potential of becoming a huge selling single and hopefully the album will follow suit.


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