Interview with Mantus (guitar/bass/drums) of Patria


“Real art should criticise and accuse, be ugly, dark and twisted…”

Interview by Jason Guest

Hi Mantus. Thank you very much for taking time out for this interview and congratulations on Individualism (reviewed here).

Hello Jason! Thanks for your interest in Patria’s music and the space here.

Individualism is your fifth album. What was it that you wanted to achieve with it?

We’re constantly trying to forge our own personality and way to compose Patria’ music, even being a way-conservative band in the general terms. So, what we usually do is to get the old and classic formula and try to reinvent it, giving a little fresh perspective with our personal touch. At least that was what we had in mind with Individualism. Of course, it’s still growing discreetly but I think we’re reaching something interesting already…

The album appears just over a year since 2013’s Nihil Est Monastica. How long were you working on material for the new album? Is there material on Individualism that was being written at the time of Nihil Est Monastica or before?

Well, maybe a few very rough ideas that I had in my mind but in the practice all the songs were written just after the recordings of our Split CD “Divide Et Impera”, in the middle of 2013. I’m not so sure but I think the album took about 6 months to be entirely composed and recorded. We were excited with the songs, conception and also with the new contract with Indie Recordings, so everything was really intense and fast. We gave our blood to this album!

What are the lyrical themes on Individualism and what inspired them?

Triumphsword Patria

The album conception goes straight into a mental and spiritual isolation context, beyond any reason or sane perspective. The Individualism representing freedom, misanthropy, opposition to religion and all kind of dogmas, in a way that we all can have our attitude and ethical values based on our own principles. All lyrics in the album carry a relation to this theme, especially the song ‘Orphan of Emptiness’ and ‘Requiem for the Ego’, despite this last one be an instrumental track. We got inspired by some personal thoughts based on philosophy and science books.

You work as a duo with vocalist Triumpsword. Was your approach to writing of Individualism the same as it was for your other releases, or did your approach change as you were working on it?

Basically was the same thing as on our latest albums but for Individualism we had a way better production, that’s probably the main difference. Anyway, my vision when I was composing the album was keeping it simpler, straighter and stronger, regarding the musical structure.

Who designed the artwork for Individualism? And what was it that drew you to their work? And how much direction did you give the artist in its creation?

Patria – IndividualismThe front cover art was made by the artist Costin Chioreanu. He worked for us on our album Nihil Est Monastica and we loved their trace and style. Something that we really wanted to keep for the new album, so our choice couldn’t be different. We had a general conception and idea for the cover but we wanted to give him such freedom to work on his own way and vision. At the end it had a little bit of my hand too but the general aspect of the art was created by him, of course. He has a very singular style and did a fantastic job!

Why did you choose to work with Indie Recordings for the release of Individualism?

Indie Recordings is one of the biggest rock / metal labels in the world today. I’m following close their work for a long time, they have some killer bands in the cast and they’re doing an outstanding work of promotion and distribution. That’s exactly what we were looking for Patria and I hope it’s just the beginning of a great partnership.

After five albums and a few other releases, how do you keep it fresh for Patria?

Despite being a kind of traditional Black Metal band carrying that 90’s necro feeling, between that there’s also a lot of mixed influences, even out of metal I would say. I’m a real eclectic person, I listen to all kinds of music and I love it, so it’s always cool when I can find a way to bring some different approaches and transform it in the drapery of Black Metal. If you listen to Patria’s music carefully you’ll probably notice that, especially in our latest releases. It’s a discreet thing but it’s definitely there. I allowed myself to add my musical emotions on Patria compositions and I’m working better and better on this. It allied to my restless personality and still added to that feeling charge according to specific moments of my life sometimes sounds like magic! At least to my ears… It’s growing up and I think it’s becoming part of Patria identity.

Patria have a distinct Norwegian influence, so much so that the band doesn’t sound like it’s from Brazil. What is it about Norwegian Black Metal that you find so inspiring?

That dark, evil and necro sound, radical approach, cold and theatrical atmosphere is something that really attracts me. They simply re-forged the sound of the Black Metal in a very singular form and I’m extremely influenced by that vein. It’s iconic and fantastic! Norway has being also almost like my “second home” for the last 6 years, my daily work is for a Norwegian company and I have many great friends there. I’m always going to Norway when I find time, almost every year and I can even know places there like a local already. I love that country! Very nice people, beautiful landscapes, great music… Very inspiring! So, everything comes to the surface of Patria music very naturally I would say. At last I think music is universal, it’s art in the purest form, emotional… There’s no relation to a specific region or anything like that. It’s a like a story or dream, we can feel and view whatever we want or be everywhere…

Being from Brazil and inspired by Norwegian bands, why do you choose to write in English?

English is a more embracing language and we think we would reach more people like this. But we also have a few songs sung in our native tongue, Portuguese.

Is there an ideology that underpins Patria’s music?

Today we have our lyrics under the basis of a non-religious or politics structure, raising the freedom perspective maybe in a dreamlike context. Each of us have our own personal spiritual side, thoughts and feelings about the world, nature, humanity, life, death and everything that surround us. Patria carries the subjectivity of an underworld, offering different viewpoints as also portraying part of our own experiences, grief, madness, regrets and why not, achievements and victories… To be honest we were used to be more straight and accusers… But now I think we’re questioning and digressing. Sounds like an interesting approach for us, going through the old same core though.

Are there any influences outside of music for Patria? (literature, art, etc.)

Sure, my job has a straight connection to the art world. I’m a graphic designer / illustrator and I dedicate my work in 100% to the metal music, doing covers, merch, adverts and all kind of visual propaganda. Couldn’t be better… I’m also a big fan of movies and books… All kind of movies but especially sci-fi, thriller and horror ones. And regarding books I’m more into science and history… So, everything is interconnected and it reflects on the music of Patria, no doubt.

What does the act of creating music mean to Patria, individually and collectively?

Everything depends of the context proposed. I couldn’t say what’s the best; there are always the liens and bonds. In my case I prefer to focus on Patria compositions alone. It’s faster and flows more natural. Sometimes “external” interventions can ruin the path of a very good song. When it comes to music I’m a little bit introspective and I prefer to do it on this way.

Mantus Patria

For black metal bands, artistic expression is more important than commercial success. How important is this to music and black metal in particular?

I couldn’t agree more and I personally don’t give a shit about commercial success. Of course it’s nice when we have the opportunity to reach a larger number of people with our music. But our focus is on people that really matter and can understand well what we’re saying and representing through Patria music and attitude. Commercial success is for the great mass, boring and regular people… Black Metal is beyond that and it’s definitely not for all ears. We’re agents of the dark side of the art… I mean, the art is not supposed to be always beautiful, colourful and easily absorbed. The real art should criticise and accuse, be ugly, dark and twisted, going against pre-established models and fashion, having a strong role of opposition… And many people are not prepared for this or even can’t understand or at least respect that! These people shouldn’t have the access to the Black Metal. I know it’s maybe a too romantic and radical way to think but I’m not lying, am I?

You express anti-Christian views in your lyrics. What is your opinion about religion? How much power does it have in Brazil? Does it affect Brazilian people, its culture and its politics?

Religion is the cancer of the humanity! Blind faith is something dangerous and idiotic, especially when it comes to rules and stupid dogmas based on a fairy-tale. I just can’t accept that in my life. Brazilians are usually a multicultural people and in the most part also religious but I don’t think it really affects the core of the culture or the politics in a general way. The church does not have a huge power here at all …

How is the black metal scene in Brazil? Are there any bands that we should be aware of?

It’s giant with a lot of good bands doing a killer job. Well, there’s not a real metal “market” happening here like on Europe, for example, but I risk saying that Brazil has a huge potential to be one of the most extreme scenes of the world. We already had Sepultura and Sarcófago, both very influent names to the metal universe, almost like a watershed on the genre… Also the guys of Krisiun are making a lot of noise around and many man others, then with the right support and hard work it’s always possible to bring some more great shit to the surface. Humm, let me see… You should check Brazilian bands like Luvart, Sword At Hymns, Thy Light, Land Of Fog, Murder Rape, Torqverem, Grave Desecrator

What does the future hold for Patria?

We never know… But we’re working intensely on the new album promotion and distribution. Indie Recordings is doing an amazing job, by the way! We’re still an unknown band but I’m sure we’ll collect many positive things in a not so distant future and make more and more people listen to our music and know about us.

Any plans for live shows? If so, will we be seeing you in the UK?

Yes, we’re back to the rehearsals and we’re preparing the first part of our Brazilian tour on August. We also had an invitation to do a small tour in Chile by July, not concrete yet though. There are no plans to play in Europe yet, but the new album just came out, so it’s early to say. But of course, would be awesome and it’s something we really want to do. I have been in the UK last February and I loved the place. I really hope we can do a gig there!

Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?

No problem my friend! Thanks for your support and interest in Patria. For the people interested to buy our new album in physical or digital editions from Indie Recordings, click here, and follow us on Facebook for upcoming news.

We’re the underground resistance! Keep the Black Metal Cult Alive!