When we started Metal Jacket Magazine, we wanted to somehow bring our readers closer to bands that might have a harder time breaking through to listeners in the sea of bands and music.
To begin with, it would be best if you introduced yourself.
Hi, we are Solar Mantra, a 4 pieces stoner rock band based in Rome (Italy), active since 2017. On september 2021 we came out with our debut album, our first LP, called “Away” through the italian label Argonauta Records.
Is it hard to keep all the members together since this music has no income?
Tommaso – “To be honest, since I can remember, “underground” musicians in italy have always had to struggle to push forward and promote their own art and production. If u start playing and create something “not commercial” hoping to get incomes from your art, you better change your mind and place to live! Not in italy! To answer your question then, we are still together even without incomes!”
How do you finance yourself and can you cover the costs of recording, equipment, concerts with music?
Tommaso – “We all get incomes from other jobs and we can cover the main expenses with our own resources. To tell the truth, recently we could also finance ourselves by the revenues resulting from the selling of our LP “Away” and other merchandising.”
What made you start playing metal music? Who were your role models in the beginning and has that changed over time?
Tommaso – “Even if Solar Mantra is not properly a pure metal band, i can easily affirm that many generes and styles related to metal have influeced our artistic production. Talking as a band, is really difficult to find a role model.. to many in my opinion. To answer your question, by the way, i can report that many journalists and bloggers in their reviews of our album “Away” found some relations with the Black Sabbath sound and style. Even if i am not that sure, i’m proud and flattered of this comparison.”
Is it hard to find a publisher or is it better to self publish considering the internet?
Tommaso – “I personally think that publishing is a job, so publishing by ourselves can’t be as efficient as leaving it to a professional publisher. According to this point of view, SM produced their first album through Argonauta Records and recently signed a collaboration with Rock On Agency for press, promotion and booking services.”
What have you published so far?
“An EP “Solar Mantra” in 2018 and an LP “Away” in 2021.”
How do you create songs, how do you record them?
“We usually take a riff, develop a basic structure then leave it to Tommaso’s inspiration who normally writes brand new lyrics or adapts pre-existing ones to a vocal melody that matches with the music. Last step is playing the draft in our rehearsal room to adjust structure and drums pattern.”
Where do you get inspiration for the lyrics?
Tommaso: “I normally get my inspiration from common people, social interactions, resilience, nowadays life where everyone can find himself.”
What is your favorite song you’ve made so far and why?
“Impossible to answer this question. Every song is a unique and every song is part of Solar Mantra.”
Where can readers listen to you and maybe buy your material?
“On Bandcamp to purchase our merchandise and cds. To listen everyone can easily get SM production on Spotify and Youtube on our official page/profile.”
How do you organize concerts, is it difficult for you and how many people come to such concerts?
“Well, it depends: as you can imagine, it wasn’t easy during the Pandemic to play live.. now that everything is finally starting over we signed with a press/booking agency (Rock On Agency) to manage our live events.”
In which countries have you played and where did you have the best time, where is the crowd the craziest?
“We just played in Italy till now but we hope to go abroad as soon as possible!”
What do you think about the digital release and is it serious like CD or LP?
Tommaso – “in my opinion, digital release is very important and very useful to get more audience worldwide in a very short time. On other hand, I believe that purchasing the LP phisically pushes someway the listener to a more careful listen and I guess that is the right way to get the best feeling about our artistic choices, our sound and our intensity.”
Was metal music more honest than today?
Tommaso – “Well, I’m the older member in the band and if mean honesty as purity of genre, I believe so. Yes, I do.”
How do you comment on this bunch of sub-genres in metal and is it good for metal or is it destroying it?
Tommaso – “Metal is metal. I believe that this bunch of sub-genres, as you call it, is just a natural consequence of the physiological music evolution. Good or bad, it’s just nature. Metal survives the ages and the sub-genres. If you want it you can get it anyway.”
Do you support this commercialization of metal music and how about the wearing of metal t-shirts by some “exposed” people who do not belong to this philosophy of metal music?
Tommaso – “I believe that commercialization is the only way to survive! I personally don’t mind if someone wears a metal tshirt or dress as an headbanger without listening to the genre or without feeling as a metalfan. I thing that integralism just brings problems in every way, so better to be openminded and hope that a good commercialization could get more and more audience!”
What would you change in the world of metal and would you like to go back to the time before the internet if you remember it at all?
Tommaso – “Past is past. Get the inspiration, get the heritage, then look forward and grow!”
How important is supporting the local scene and can you single out a band from your area that you would recommend to our readers?
Tommaso – “Support underground is the only way to survive! It could sound selfish but I obiouvsly recommend Solar Mantra!”
How do you see this situation in the world and how do you think it will develop? Will they imprison us again, scare us or maybe send us into a big war?
Tommaso – “I really can’t answer this question as present events demonstrated us that everything could happen even at this stage of social evolution. The only thing I could say is to get the good part from every event even the worst and try to get the chance to evolve and become a better person and, in our case, a better artist.”
Finally, what would you say to our readers and why should they listen to you in the sea of bands that are offered to them every day?
“Listen to Solar Mantra because is simply what you need right now!”