Amy Mantis – Interview
Interview with Amy Mantis of Amy Mantis and the Space Between and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
AM: At the core of it, we’re a rock band. Each of us brings our own stylings to the table, but when it’s all said and done, we’re a rock band. It sounds so simple, but that’s the crux of it.
I come from a strong classic rock background, Eric grew up playing in punk and hardcore bands, and our former bassist (who you hear on A Place To Land) had a penchant for prog rock and experimental music. It all blends together into a sound that is both familiar and new. Or at least I like to think so.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
AM: I saw School of Rock when I was 13 and knew I needed a guitar. It wasn’t a want – it was a dire need. I started writing songs as soon as I got a guitar and I haven’t looked back. I went to music school, formed my first band there, learned how to lead a band, and eventually, after one too many singers quit, I took up the mantle of being the lead vocalist as well because I realized that if I wanted to keep a band together, I had to sing my songs as well as write them.
And now here we are 17 years later, and the guitar – and music in general – is still a dire need.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
AM: My most formative years were spent listening to classic rock and so I’m well-steeped in the ways of rock and roll, and it seeps out of me all of the time. I once met Bruce Springsteen and cried for seven hours. The first time I heard Led Zeppelin I was floored. I saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers three times on his last tour.
Like a lot of drummers, Eric actually was a big 311 fan growing up, but he compared himself to Dash Hutton (HAIM’s former live drummer) in his Craigslist ad, and you can tell he listens to a lot of pop music. He likes a lot of international pop, too, especially from Japan, like Otoboke Beaver or Haru Nemuri or old city pop records.
In some way or another, everything is an influence. Some of the big ones include books, comedy, baseball, and traveling. Fantasy novels and books in general inspire me and have impacted me as much as music has. I grew up reading Harry Potter and it has, in no small part, made me who I am today. Tina Fey is a personal hero. She is beyond brilliant and I am blown away by what she has given the world. I’ve spent a lot of time at Fenway Park and baseball has woven its way into my soul in a unique way. The first song that I ever wrote that had me thinking, “I think I can actually do this,” was written about an experience I had in New York City when I was 17. Influences and inspiration are everywhere, and I love that.
Eric and Jeff always used to talk about David Lynch and Murakami. Eric’s always mentioning David Lynch when we work on songs, quoting interviews and stuff.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
AM: I think right now our dream is to have a new president come November 3rd. But our musical dreams and goals are to find the people who love what we do and to keep doing it – for us and for them. Keep writing songs, keep making music, and eventually get back to playing live shows again. We miss the people.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
AM: I write them. We had another songwriter in the band at one point, but after he left I fully took hold of the reins. All ten songs on A Place To Land were written by me. I wanted a record that was undeniably mine. Like, if I were a music box and you opened me up, any one of these songs would come soaring out and you’d be go, “This makes sense.”
We always collaborate on the arrangement of the songs, and these days Eric and I are co-writers. I bring a song to him, and then we essentially rewrite it together. It’s been an incredibly rewarding process that you’ll get to hear on our next record.
As for what the songs are about, it varies. But most of the time I draw on my own experiences and feelings about things. The opening track, “Better Than Me,” is about my relationship with social media. “Spinning Black And Blue” revolves around a spiral of anxiety I fell into and how I found my way out of it. And then we have a song like “Call It What You Want” which is about a made-up character who does destructive things while he’s sleep-walking and is totally unaware of his behavior until it’s too late.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
AM: The usual: spamming people on social media.
We’re joking. But we do use social media as well as an email list to keep our people in the loop. You can sign up for said mailing list a bit further down the page, and type in “Amy Mantis” in Instagram/anywhere on the internet and we’re gonna pop up.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
AM: As long as people are listening to our music, that’s all that matters. That said, there is a unique excitement that has been kind of lost surrounding going to the record to store to pick up the newest record by your favorite artist. It was an experience that I think Eric and I both delighted in as teenagers.
But as long as the music is getting to the listeners, download/stream away!
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
AM: This is a tough question. My favorite song of all time is “Runnin’ Down A Dream” by Tom Petty, but I don’t wish to have written that one. I like having it outside of myself.
The song that keeps flashing in my mind is “Blackbird” by the Beatles/Paul McCartney. It’s a beautiful song rich with meaning and the way the chords move underneath it tugs on my heart every time.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
AM: Slow walkers, the general condition of the roads in Boston, and a particular Trader Joe’s in the greater Boston area that will remain undisclosed. (But if you know, you know.)
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
AM: This record. I love how it turned out. We recorded it in January of 2019, which feels like ages ago now, and I still love it. We put a lot of effort into it, and I’m super proud of that. I’m also proud of what Eric and I are working on now. It’s very exciting and I think it’s a game-changer for us in some ways.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
AM: We’re heading into the studio to work on our next record, which is going to be two EPs. It’s our most collaborative effort to date and we’re very excited about it. Our main man, Sean McLaughlin at 37’ Productions in Rockland, MA is not only producing it (he produced A Place To Land), but he’s playing bass with us this time around. It’s been so much fun to work with him as a musician as well as having his production chops on hand too.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
AM: We have our EPs and album available at www.amymantis.bandcamp.com. You can also stream the album wherever you get your music by searching “Amy Mantis & the Space Between.” It’ll pop right up – Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, all the usual haunts. And you can also head over to www.amymantis.com to sign up for our mailing list and get your hands on the music.
Amy Mantis and the Space Between links:
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