After a ten year absence, Canadian sludge/doom/noise duo Mares of Thrace came back with the highly-regarded The Exile. Mike Huck caught up with the band and spoke with guitarist/vocalist Thérèse Lanz and drummer Casey Rogers about the album, the band, and even Weird Al Yankovic.
Mike Huck: What led to the resurrection of Mares of Thrace?
Thérèse: There wasn’t really a plan at the beginning. I started writing again in 2017 to exorcise the existential dread everyone was feeling at the time (hah, if only I’d known how much more the future held!) I was living in Halifax and had no plans to move back to Calgary at the time, so we just emailed demos back and forth. At first we thought it might be a one-off, sort of farewell project, but I think it’s grown into a bit more than that.
How did Casey come to be the drummer?
Thérèse: I’ve known Casey for years; we used to play together in a political grindcore band called Exit Strategy, and he was instrumental in the early days of Mares– he recorded a couple early demos that established what I wanted the project to sound like. With Stef (MacKichan, the original drummer) unavailable, Casey was a natural choice, and he really pushed for this album to come to fruition. This version of the band is a different animal, but it’s a good, natural evolution.
Casey is credited with drums and bass on The Exile. Did he bring anything else to the equation?
Thérèse: Of most value, besides his awesome drum and bass skills, was his enthusiasm for the project. As I mentioned, he was so persistent with his belief in the songs and the project that it was infectious. He also produced the album, so that was a huge bonus. Honestly, he’s the Konami code of bandmates.
What was the recording process like?
Thérèse: Since Casey was producing it was pretty easy. He can read my mind when it comes to tones, as well as drum and bass parts. We just wrote everything long-distance and then tracked in one marathon week when I came back to Calgary over Christmas.
What are the ideal plans for Mares of Thrace in 2023?
Thérèse: Tour, ideally Europe as we never got to do that last time around. Also, the riffs keep coming and so we keep writing new songs, although I’m being reined in a bit from getting too epic with these. If it were up to me every song would be twenty minutes long, AT LEAST.
Casey also played on the excellent Caveat release, Alchemy, released back in February. Any other projects?
Thérèse: Not really, things are fairly quiet at the moment, having spent some time playing shows. We’re writing a new record though.
Casey: Another band I’m in, Greybeard, just released an album as well. Dark Age, you can find it on Bandcamp. It’s blackened progressive death metal, if you want to label it.
It’s list season. What are your favorite albums this year?
Thérèse: This is, alas, the most obvious choice I could possibly make, but it’s true, dammit. NULL, from KEN Mode, one of my absolute favorite bands and super touring buddies. Their new album is amazing.
Casey: Meshuggah is my favorite band and their latest, Immutable, is absolutely killer. Definitely my favorite of the year.
If you could tour with any bands, who would they be?
Thérèse: The 2003 version of Isis.
For your next release the label tells you you have to include a cover song. What do you pick?
Thérèse: I think we could do something pretty cool with Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up.”
Casey: I’m a huge fan of Weird Al Yankovic. I think I’d have to go with “I Want A New Duck.”
Thanks again for your time! Anything else to add?
Thanks for chatting with us! Come say hi when we’re on tour in 2023. All the bullshit of algorithm placation that’s apparently just background radiation of being in a band in this era is inconsequential, compared to playing loud riffs at humans in person.
(interview published December 24, 2023)
Listen To Mares Of Thrace – “Onward, Ever Onward”