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What I Learned at Bandcamp: Mars and The Massacre

Mars and the Massacre, Bandcamp, interview

Mars and The Massacre began in Los Angeles in late 2012 and has since been named one of LA’s “Top Live Bands” by LA Weekly.

The three-member psychedelic rock band, comprised of Peter Doherty, John Newell and Ethan Walden, released its sophomore EP, Blackout, in March and has plans to release singles and more EPs in the near future.

Blackout and the band’s debut, EP A, can be streamed and purchased on Bandcamp.

The Spec interviewed the members of Mars and The Massacre, read what they had to say below…

Tell us a little about yourselves…
John: Hey, I’m John and I play guitar and sing in the band. When I’m not playing music, then I’m probably skateboarding or playing video games. Something else noteworthy about me is that I also have a healthy obsession with bacon.

Peter: I’m Peter, I sing, play bass and drums in Mars and the Massacre. I’ve lived in LA for four years but I grew up in Indianapolis.

Ethan: My name is Ethan.I love music and TV! I’m not a big fan of the outdoors. I get bummed when it’s super nice out in LA, which is like almost everyday, because then its harder to think of an excuse to stay in and watch TV. Is this supposed to be about ourselves personally or more about our role in the band? Anyway, I play drums and bass in Mars and the Massacre. It’s fun. We’ve been known to send some concertgoers to the hospital for accidentally melting off their faces with our music. Oh, and I have a little french bulldog named “George, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He is literally everything that is right with the world, but he still bites a lot.

How long have you been making music?
John: I started playing guitar and making music when I was around 11. In high school is when I started picking up more chops and really started to connect some dots. We weren’t a band, but a small group of friends and I would play for hours after school each day until my dad got home. The first band I was in was a cover band with a horn section. A lot has changed since then.

Peter: I’ve been making music for awhile, since high school, 10 years plus.

Ethan: I’ve been making music since John was in diapers. So I’d say about 12 years or so? I remember my friend, Joey and I made this CD on my computer when we were in like 5th or 6th grade. We recorded the whole thing using the default sound recorder on my computer. Needless to say, it was brilliant. Our single from that album was titled, “I Don’t Believe In Dinosaurs, No More.” I started playing drums around that time and picked up guitar from just watching my friends play in high school.

Who/what are your influences?
John: I don’t know. I believe everything I do influences me. So life is my influence. I get a lot from listening to music, but I think listening to music mostly helps to expand my musical vocabulary.

Peter: I was raised on a large mixture of different artists, but I’ve always been influenced by anything rhythmic and melodic, especially anything remotely experimental that is able to retain a level of accessibility, i.e. Radiohead, Beatles, Pink Floyd. On the other end of the spectrum, high volume music has always been something I’ve been heavily influenced by, especially melodic loud groups like Nirvana, Pixies, and Queens of the Stone Age.

Ethan: My dad was huge into Elvis Costello, Pearl Jam, and REM, so those are some of the artists I grew up listening to. Also, David Bowie. I think our whole band takes a lot of inspiration from David Bowie. I also love punk music. Actually, not to sound cliche, but I really love everything. I create playlists every month of what I’m listening to and it very well could include rap, country, rock, etc. My mind is all over the place.

What is your favorite song on the new album and why?
John: I have a hard time answering this because each song is special to me. I think the most challenging song to play is “A Mind of Its Own” and so in a live setting, I really enjoy that one.

Peter: It’s been back and forth, but personally I like the very end of the EP, the blackout finale. It has a really uplifting and anthemic feel to it, and it’s a thrill to play live.

Ethan: “Blackout III” for sure. It gets so hyped and anthem-y. I listen to it a lot during pregames, before we go out to the bars.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
John: We have a few singles and more in the works, but a focus of ours is not to pre-meditate the music we create. That said, I’d like to do one or two more EPs before we release an LP. Other than that, I’m not sure.

Peter: Well I want Mars and the Massacre to expand as far as possible. Every member of the band has a broad range of musical tastes and ideas. I’m excited to see where the project will go from here. I don’t like to have very concrete ideas for the future. I find that spontaneity and organically making something new provides more genuine and often better results.

Ethan: I definitely want to get on the road. We’ll always continue to make music and I’m excited to release a full LP, but I think getting out on the road and having some kickass shows is going to be the bees knees. Or as John says, “the cats pajamas.” Or as Peter says “the frightened boy’s bonnet.”

If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
John: I would open a restaurant where I also grow and raise all the food served in it. Or I want to be an astronaut. That would be badass.

Peter: I’ll always be doing something in music. Whether it be playing or writing or engineering or whatever, music is what I want to do.

Ethan: I personally would love to be a stay home dad to my dog George. We would have so much fun. I would take him to the park, we would watch TV, we would give each other high fives. In the unlikely events of that happening, I think I would like to get in film. I have a passion for creating. I think it would be fun to write for TV.

What musicians or bands do you look up to?
John: So many bands. I’m really influenced by bands in the local LA scene and by all the friends we’ve made playing music together. In terms of national acts, I’m kind of on a Danny Brown kick.

Peter: Wayne Coyne, Thom Yorke, David Bowie, Damon Albarn, and Jonsi are a few artists I admire a lot. They’re all artists that have evolved over their career, and become more famous and renowned for it. Those are the types of people that stand the test of time.

Ethan: Recently I’ve been into bands that are just making stuff happen right now. Now Playing: FIDLAR, The Orwells, Nobunny, Parquet Courts.

Why do you make music?
John: Music is like therapy to me. I make music to express myself and because it feels good. The feeling from playing a high-energy show is like no other.

Peter: It’s what I like to do the most.

Ethan: I love creating. It’s definitely an outlet. When I feel sad or happy or funny or tired or angry or pervy or wild, playing music helps me deal with that stuff. When I’m sad, I can pout to my guitar. When I feel wild or angry I can bang on the drums. When I feel tired I can go to bed. Also collaborating with people and hearing new ideas and things you hadn’t heard of or thought of, that’s pretty “bonerjams” (John Newell, p.231).

Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
John: I want them to know that I’m willing to drink a beer with them at any time and that I think they should come see us play.

Peter: No comment.

Ethan: Yeah, I guess there’s a few other things I would like the readers to know about me.

One Comment

  1. “Bonerjams”, thats “Bonerneat” ! I can’t find that in the dicktionary.

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