It was announced this morning that Marianas Trench are returning to the UK with with their brand new tour visiting these cities in November – Newcastle, Manchester, Bath, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, London and Brighton.
It was only a few months ago that the band released their latest album Phantoms, which not only was full of a complete new sound, but it also knocked Ariana Grande off the top off the album chart in Canada.
This year has been a great one for the band so far as they have also had a sell out tour across Canada, are just about to head off on tour in North America. I got the chance to catch up with Josh Ramsay the bands lead singer, songwriter and producer to find out all about what they have in store for the UK fans!
It has not just been a big year in regards to Marianas Trench this year, it has also been a big one for Josh too as he recently alongside Carly Rae Jepson was honoured at the SOCANs (The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) for Call Me Maybe as it is one of the Most Performed Songs in the organisations 30 year history.
So, as you can imagine, I had a lot to ask this very talented musician and decided to delve right in by asking Josh all about the latest news – The UK Tour.
Hello Josh! You are coming back to the UK on tour! I came and saw you perform your first ever London Show back in October of 2016 and remember you saying you were really surprised as to how many fans you had in the UK – does it still surprise you how your fan base is growing over here?
I was very pleasantly surprised! You know what, you never know when you are going to a new country for the first time if there is going to be people there. To go around the world and see sold out shows and everyone knowing all the songs it was awesome! It is always a good surprise.
What are you most excited about coming back to the UK for?
There is a bunch of things that I love about he UK. First of all, you are very well dressed people, I am wearing Pretty Green at the moment!
You know the thing I also love is the pub culture there. North America has a pub culture but it is not like how you guys do it. I love that you can go into a pub at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a work day and it is still absolutely packed with people.
There is like 15 year olds to 85 years old, it is very social and everyone is having a good time! You are in some cool pub that is like a thousand years old with some wood fire burning and stuff – I just love it.
The one thing I really enjoy about a Marianas Trench show is the humour and comedy that comes in between songs – is this all improvised or do you tend to have a few lines ready for the audience?
No, it’s Improvised for sure! I am usually pretty in the moment for something like that!
Your tour in Canada and US had a masquerade theme is the UK set to be the same?
“If you are only writing singles it’s like if you are only eating donuts – it’s too sweet.” – Josh Ramsay, Marianas Trench
Your voice can reach some incredibly high pitches – Is there any routines you have to do to get it prepared for a show?
Firstly, thank you! My mum is a singing teacher so I have been training my whole life really. The main thing I do is real gentle warm ups pretty much all day from the time I wake up to the time I am on stage. No forcing or no pressure but just really gently going through my voice singing scales and stuff like that at night nothing fancy.
The other really important thing is you also have to do warm ups when you are done singing. If you think about it, singing is the exercise and the warm ups are the stretching, you have to stretch before and after too.
How are you finding playing the new songs on tour? Have there been some songs that have been more difficult to adjust to playing live than others?
I mean some of them are a little more difficult. The Killing Kind is a little difficult then others because it’s very low and very high but that also means it is one of the most satisfying songs to sing. I like singing the harder ones – it’s a challenge.
What songs out of your old ones are your favourite to sing?
I mean the nice thing about singing older songs is that we have sung them so many times I can really just focus on interacting with the audience because the songs are on muscle memory for me. So that is when you can really interact with the audience and have fun as you are sort of on autopilot for like the music side of things (laughs). Not that I am not paying attention obviously. But I know the songs so well that there is a high chance I am not going to make a mistake. Although saying that I still Fuck up lyrics – I always Fuck Up lyrics.
“My plan is at the end of my career I want every album to be linked to another one and for them all to be connected at the end…” – Josh Ramsay, Marianas Trench
I always describe your music to people as a ‘cinematic experience’ as your albums in their entirety feel like they take you on a journey both narratively and musically – Do you think with the saturation of online music culture it pushes you to be more creative in the way you approach an album?
I think the music industry is changing, I think the way that online music is now, I think you are now going to see artists not doing complete albums anymore and we are going to see people just doing singles. For me that is not just the kind of songwriter that I am.
You’re suggesting that with our albums you should listen from start to finish and that is exactly what I am trying to do. For me, the reason that I don’t like the concept of only doing singles is some of my favourite songs off of albums, were not the hits or the cool album track, I would hate it if we just lost that.
For me writing full albums is definitely more inspiring even if it is not as in fashion as trying to chase the hit all the time. I like to write a collection of songs. If you are only writing singles it’s like if you only eat donuts – it’s too sweet.
There are a lot of varied instruments used on the album as well – how do you decide which ones to include and what’s the weirdest one you have used on Phantoms?
(Laughs) I mean there is the choral stuff and we are always going to have bass, guitar drums and vocal certainly. I sort of like to work in themes and that can suggest the weird instrumental choices.
I think on this album the weirder ones are probably the Harpsichord and probably the Theremin (it’s in there on a couple of songs). That’s an example of an instrument I would never of used unless I was working with the theme of ghostly things because that’s the most ghostly thing I can think of. (Josh starts to act out the noise of the Theremin).
What is your favourite lyrics on Phantoms and why?
I am happy with the lyrics on this record, I do try and put a lot of thought into that but I don’t know if I have a specific favourite. I try and write songs from a real point of view. I find in the UK, the style of music people listen to are a lot more varied where as in North America the radio is sort of the same five songs over and over again and I find I get a little bored of generic pop style of writing.
Do you try and link all your albums together with a music theme?
Oh yeah definitely. My plan is at the end of my career I want every album to be linked to another one and for them all to be connected at the end. On this album The Killing Kind does have a reference into Astoria – the big screaming thing (starts singing) but yeah I always try and throw back to a previous album.
That’s a clever thing, some acts sometimes ignore previous albums and try and reinvent themselves so it’s nice you always refer to them.
I always kind of like that if you are willing to revisit old ideas then that that kind of means that whenever you are coming up with a song I may not be done with it I may be able to expand on it in 4 years. I like the idea as a writer I can still come back to it later.
I have read that the use of real instruments is dying in modern music – do you still feel that using real instruments is just as important in this day and age as it was 10 years ago and why?
I think currently a lot of pop music is programmed. I specifically wanted Phantoms to feel modern but also organic so there is not a lot of programming on the album.
I think there is a pendulum – music trends will go one way for a while and then they swing back the other way. Coming out of the eighties there was so much pop, then grunge happened which was the exact fucking opposite.
I think it is inevitable that all of a sudden there will be some explosion of a completely opposite thought.
“I feel like that’s a job that doesn’t get a lot of glory because everyone wants to be the guy playing the solo…” – Josh Ramsay, Marianas Trench
We HAVE to talk about Call Me Maybe. How did it come about that you got involved with the song writing and producing? Have you been surprised how well it has done globally?
I am constantly grateful for it – it’s sort of surreal being attached to a song like that. It came about quite naturally – Carly and I were friends already and we had worked together before her first album.
Carly hadn’t really broken into Canadian Top 40 so our only real goal was to give her a top 40 hit in Canada. All of the lives that the song had after Justin Bieber got involved and when it became cool for celebrities to start lip dub videos to it and all the viral life – it has been the luckiest thing that has ever happened to either of us I am sure.
To end any interview on The Phoenix Remix, it is always tradition to end with a quick fire question round, so this is what I did with Josh but music and Marianas Trench themed
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Your favourite Marianas Trench Song?
I don’t have one I prefer to be the most excited about the next song I haven’t written yet. I like when I am working on a song – that’s my favourite song
Favourite guitar you own?
Ooo that is a tough one! I own a lot of great guitars and I don’t think I can pick one it’s like picking my favourite child. I have a few that are very special to me but I will just randomly pick one and it is not the only good one that I am very happy about. I have a Fender Jazz master that is from early 1959 which was the first year they were ever made and it is covered in water damage because I got it from New Orleans and it was in Hurricane Katrina so it has got a lot of soul.
Most underrated instrument?
I am going to say Rhythm guitar – being a good rhythm guitar player is very fucking underrated and it is a really important job. If you listen to ACDC I know everyone is like ‘oh my god Angus Young’ and he deserves that status but Malcolm is the one holding together the feel of that band.
If you listen to the Foo Fighters he is not a soloist but the way he plays the guitar really shapes the feel of that band. Billie Joe Armstrong in Green Day he is not a lead player necessarily but he has such a style when he plays rhythm guitar now tat it really holds together that band. I feel like that’s a job that doesn’t get a lot of glory because everyone wants to be the guy playing the solo.
Which band member would you give $50 to, make them listen to a song on repeat for 24 hours that they hate and go on a once in a lifetime holiday with – Mike, Matt or Ian for each one.
Ian definitely Ian for the song on repeat – it wouldn’t be a specific song for him you know what it would be – it would be like a 10 second loop that wasn’t in time – something that wasn’t a looping beat something that felt like it tripped everytime that would make Ian go crazy.
I don’t know about the other two could I just give them 25 bucks and give them each a pretty good holiday?
Who is your top three music heroes and why?
Bryan Wilson, Freddie Mercury and Shakespeare – It may not be music but I draw a lot of inspiration from so I would personally put that as a music hero for me.
Most delightful word you can think of?
(in a high pitched tone and a huge smile) scrumtrulescent!
And finally Three words why People should come and see you on tour?
BECAUSE WE”RE COMING
TICKETS GO ON SALE MAY 1st WITH VIP TICKETS AVAILABLE AS WELL VISIT HERE TO FIND OUT MORE