This week we’re featuring Romanian hard rockers Manic Sinners in Meet The Band. Their debut album is King Of The Badlands. Guitarist/bassist Toni Dijmarescu introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Manic Sinners.
Toni Dijmarescu: When Adrian Igrisan and myself decided to start Manic Sinners, we knew we need a singer, who has that certain something in his voice and tone, and also the pipes to deliver what we envisioned. Now, the Romanian scene isn’t that big, so it was relatively easy to find that voice, in the person of Ovidiu Anton, because he and Adrian were already friends. Being a studio project, each of us had to play more than just one instrument on the recordings. I play guitars and bass, Adrian plays drums, keyboards, also bass and guitars on a couple of songs, and all backing vocals.
Describe the songwriting process for King of the Badlands.
The songs came very naturally. I think this is our biggest plus, we are creative and work very well together as a team. Mostly, we presented each other completed songs, but there were situations when we had only a melody or a guitar riff, so the process was never quite the same.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I will never forget how happy I was when Adrian sent me the drum parts to our first song, “Drifters Union.” I felt that our crazy idea might work, and there is a real chance for us to release at least a handful of songs together. The deal with Frontiers was a far cry at that moment, and the thought of our songs being commercially released came much later.
How did the pandemic affect the process?
The pandemic didn’t affect the recordings per se, what did affect the process though, is that we live in two different countries, Germany and Romania. This is our biggest impediment, being separated and unable to work as a band, to record together, to make fast decisions. This slows us down quite a bit and can be frustrating sometimes.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Almost all of our lyrics are inspired by things that actually happened to us. For example, I wrote the lyrics for the song “King of the Badlands” driving through the desert from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, back in 2017, right after I had to experience the mass-shooting that took place in Las Vegas that year. “Nobody Moves” is a song about the pandemic, about how it changed us and our society. Last year Adrian lost to Covid one of his band mates from Cargo, his main band, which was a huge blow, as you can imagine. What I’m trying to say is, we don’t see lyrics as a byproduct. To us they have the same value as the music.
How was the video shoot for “Drifters Union”?
Oh, that was such a rush, pure adrenaline! It’s not a performance clip, but a short action movie – at least that’s what we tried to do. We had a lot of fun driving those cars and, luckily for us, we know a bunch of people who helped us getting it done.
How did you come to sign with Frontiers?
It was like in the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll. We asked if they are accepting demos, they liked what they heard and that was it. Back then we had only 6 or 7 songs, so we had to write a couple more. The guys from Frontiers were very nice to us and didn’t put us under pressure, they gave us a lot of time. After the songs were written and recorded, we talked to Alessandro Del Vecchio and he agreed to mix our album. He is such a great guy, very nice and friendly, we enjoyed working with him a lot!
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Hopefully, our songs will be heard by as many people as possible. We worked a lot on this material and gave our absolute best – hand on heart! We are also aware about the state of the music business; it’s tough to get your music out, especially as a newcomer. On the bright side, we are privileged and thankful to work with Frontiers Music, being the first band from Romania they signed, so I think we have at least a spark of a chance to make a name for ourselves in the scene.
Do you have plans to play live shows?
Manic Sinners was conceived as a side-project, we all have our main bands or projects. But hey, why not? We learned to never say never, so if the opportunity ever comes, there are chances we will seize it.
How did you get started in music?
I started making music at the age of 6, by playing violin. I would lie if I told you I loved it very much, but it was an important period to me, for building a good musical hearing and getting strength and mobility in my fingers. At 14 I switched over to guitar and had my first semi-professional band two years later, the same time I got my first student. After that came many ups and downs, but that’s usual if you are in it for 30 years. I was, and I still am, involved in projects in both Germany and Romania. I’m also working as a session musician. I love making music, getting to know fellow musicians and creating something beautiful with them.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
My early influences are also my current ones: John Sykes, Jake E. Lee, George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Chris Impellitteri, generally guitarists who are excellent players, but can also write great songs, melodies, hooks. The internet is overflown with guitarists who are extremely technical and can play insanely fast, but have no feeling. I never wanted to be like that. I always wanted to be a musician who plays for and with the band.
What was the first rock/metal concert you attended?
It was the concert of a very famous Romanian band, Compact. This was 1988, I was 13, we still had communism and were living behind the Iron Curtain. In time, I became good friends with the members of Compact and with Paul Ciuci, their singer and guitarist. He supported my career a lot, still gives me advices and loves what we are doing with Manic Sinners. As I mentioned earlier, we are truly blessed by having such great friends.
How is the heavy music scene in Romania?
I will never understand why Romanian bands aren’t as famous as German bands, for example. The musicianship is insane and you will find there every genre, from heavy metal to hardcore, from punk to thrash, and from alternative to prog. Who knows, maybe you will hear more and more about heavy music made in Romania in the years to come.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I love the classics: Mötley Crüe, KISS, Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy, Judas Priest, the list could go on forever. I also listen to a lot of music on Spotify. I just heard the new album by Saxon and I love it, they are still on fire. And let’s not forget the fellow bands signed to Frontiers! I highly recommend you to follow the label’s playlists on the streaming platforms; you will discover lots of talented artists.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thank you so much for this great opportunity, keep listening to good music and don’t forget to follow Manic Sinners on social media and check us out on Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube. If you like what we’re doing, please buy our album, it’s the only way to support our music. Cheers!
(interview published February 26, 2022)
Watch Manic Sinners – “Drifter’s Union” Video