Why Mantar Chose To Reimagine L7, Mudhoney And More On New Covers Album
Metal bands love covers, don’t they? From Metallica’s epic double-disc salute to their favourite bands on Garage Inc to Rob Halford dropping a record of Christmas songs last year to Melvins’ experimental Everybody Loves Sausages covers LP, there’s something inherently freeing and joyful about hearing your favourite bands pay homage to artists that inspired them.
Enter Mantar. The sludge-drenched German duo’s new record Grungetown Hooligans II sees Hanno Klänhardt and Erinç Sakarya tackle some decidedly non-metal artists, instead focusing their gaze on the ’90s alternative scene – from grunge to riot grrrl.
Ahead of its release on June 26, we asked vocalist/guitarist Hanno to explain why the Teutonic twosome chose each track for their heavyweight covers record. Take it away!
The Bomb (originally by L7)
“I think this was the first all-female band I’d heard in my life. As a teenager I already loved heavy, aggressive music, but this band and [their album Hungry For Stink] was of new quality to me. I was blown away. I loved the vocals as they were so much more in your face and angry. No bullshit, no posing, just raw power. The definition of punk rock. The Bomb has always been one of my favourite L7 songs. It’s straight to the point, fast and violent. Simply beautiful.”
Puss (originally by The Jesus Lizard)
“Pure chaos. I think our version sounds more ‘rock’ compared to the original. The band and their sound is pretty unique, so you’d better not even try to copy it. But just copying anything has never been our goal with this album. The lyrics are so freaking scary and violent – the singer sounds like he’s gonna jump out of the speakers to choke you to death. It’s heavier than any metal band out there. Dangerous shit. Instant love.”
100% (originally by Sonic Youth)
“What a hit! Definitely one of the most ‘pop’ songs from Sonic Youth. I always loved the laid-back attitude of this song, even though it is extremely aggressive. The story behind the song is about a friend of the band that got shot, as far as I understand. I never knew about that until we covered this song. The video was the coolest thing ever back in the day; for us German kids it looked exactly like how we imagined America. You could not go wrong with cool, slacker skateboard kids in the ’90s. Golden times.”
Ghost Highway (originally by Mazzy Star)
“I first heard this song back in 1996 when I saw Erinc [Sakarya, drummer] with his band doing a cover version of it in our local youth centre. I was blown away, I had no idea who Mazzy Star was. Since then that song has been stuck in my head. The simplicity of the melody makes it so haunting and proves that a good song does not need a lot of ingredients. It might be my favourite tune on this cover album. Besides that, I think that Hope Sandoval might be the best singer in the world.”
Can I Run (originally by L7)
“We picked another song from this band just because we love ‘em so much. We even picked one from the same album! Scary lyrics, hostile, sad, and from a female perspective. Donita Sparks said it is a song about the fear of being raped. That makes me sick to my stomach and I can only imagine what kind of fear women go through. I love the solo in that song and as we never play guitar solos in our own songs this was a lot of fun to record. I’m kinda proud of it and have to admit that I think my solo is fucking awesome! I really nailed that thick 90’s guitar sound.”
Bruise Violet (originally by Babes In Toyland)
“When I first listened to [Babes In Toyland album Fontanelle] I was blown away by the vocals. Pure hate. Rumours say this song is about Courtney Love as Kat Bjelland claimed that she was copying her style. I don’t care, I just always loved the simple but effective punk vibe. When I was a teenager, female bands like these changed my perspective on punk a lot. I always liked the drummer: so raw and a pure ‘fuck you all’ attitude.”
Who You Drivin' Now (originally by Mudhoney)
“My favourite album always was their debut Superfuzz Bigmuff, but we could not find a song on it that we could do a good version of – so Erinc suggested this one. I think the song is pretty much the essence of Mudhoney; if you don’t like this tune then you probably won’t like the band. It’s not as dark as some other songs, though, so we thought that would make it a good fit among the other songs on Grungetown Hooligans II.”
Knot (originally by 7 Year Bitch)
“A very underrated band in my book. I heard them first on some sort of 90’s grunge documentary on German TV; they played Knot”and I fell in love right away. Our version is very different than the original – we play faster, d-beat drumbeat and all that. I think it suits the song a lot. Also we skipped a whole verse as we thought the original song is way too long! The first breakdown/halftime part where the song goes ‘My lungs are filled with smoke’ still give me the chills every time I hear it. We turned it into some sort of black metal moment.”
Grungetown Hoolgians II is out June 26 via Brutal Panda Records.
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