Just in time for their short tour with German post hardcore act MERAINE (kicking off in 2 days, see the details below), we caught up with Greek chaotic, experimental hardcore/metal act MNRV (est. 2011, ex-MINERVA SUPERDUTY) to learn more about their amazing craft and, second full-length ‘Gorod Zero’ (mastered by the acclaimed engineer Alan Douches), and a lot more. Check out the details of their Summer trek, scroll down to see the full interview, and visit this place, to get their bio and more detailed introduction to their discography.
Summer tour dates with MERAINE:
July 7th PROJECT 31, NÜRNBERG, DE
July 8th JUHA WEST, STUTTGART , DE
July 9th PRIVAT, LINZ , AT
July 10th SUB, GRAZ, AT
July 11th VENSΤER 99, WIEN, AT
July 12th PLAQUE, LEIPZIG, DE
July 13th SCHARNI 38, BERLIN, DE
July 14th TBA
July 15th NORDPOL, DORTMUND, DE
MNRV‘s second full length record ‘Gorod Zero‘ was release in October 2016. The record was tracked, mixed and produced by the band and Kostas Ragiadakos at Unreal Studios, Athens, Greece. It was mastered by the one and only Alan Douches at West West Side Music, NY. Unafraid to break new grounds, the record surpasses the obstacle and the trap of generic sound and results in vital, vicious and adventurous listen!
You’ve just released this amazing new music video for the title track of ‘Gorod Zero’. Please tell us a bit about the concept for this visual and how it connects to the lyrics of the track.
The concept of the video is inspired by a 1989 film called ZeroGrad directed by Russian movie director Karen Shakhnazarov. The main story behind this film is about an engineer who moves from Moscow to a small Russian town in order to specify the dimensions of a mechanical part in a city’s factory. There he becomes the actor of an unusual and surreal stage as he is considered to be something completely different from his own discipline. During his stay in the town weird things happen and he is trapped in a way that there is no turning back. The film triggered us so much that we decided to entitle the album Gorod Zero (zero city). The idea of escaping your own oppressive reality, the struggle to kill everyday crushing routine and the need to burst are the main components of this album and consequently the video. We wanted a dark violent visual to express the concept of despair, anger and paranoia that everyone tries to handle in their own reality. The director of the video is our good friend Thanos Mitsios who is the actual responsible behind the visual concept. After listening to the album and having several discussions with us he came up with a result that justified our vision for this record.
I’m sure all the viewers would appreciate a follow up. Will there be more videos in support of the record?
For the time being, there is not a follow up planned.
Ok, so back to the record, how long did the process of putting together this release take from conception to fruition?
The process of writing the music lasted approximately 9 months. After making some demos on our own we decided to produce the album at Unreal Studios in Athens and work again with Kostas Ragiadakos. The challenge for us with this release was that after completing an actually instrumental volume we were confronted with a tricky dilemma – should we add vocals or not? During the process of writing new stuff and experimenting with different styles, we concluded that there was an essential need for words. So we asked our best friend George Papageorgiou (RUINED FAMILIES) to sing – and although he is not an actual singer he gave his best and sent us back a demo with vocals which was great.
George is not a member of the band and we knew from the beginning that he would not participate in future live shows etc, but we are very happy he became a part of this album. Not to neglect that the vocals were captured with the help of our friend Nick Hackas (RUINED FAMILIES, BROKEN FINGERS) at his own studio, Twin Picks.
Mastering the album took a while as well, since we had several different thoughts about the final sound approach. Allan Douches did the mastering at West West Side Studios, so to sum things up, the whole process from scratch to the album’s final form lasted about a year.
Who produced it? Also, how much impact on the transformation of the original demos had people from outside the band? How different were the tracks after the final touches from Alan Douches?
The album was produced by Kostas Ragiadakos at Unreal Studios, however we were always present from start to finish, to make sure we got what we had in mind. Having a band in a small town (Kalamata) away from all the venues, other like minded bands etc has some obvious drawbacks, but the thing is we were completely undistracted to play whatever, sound however, you know.. So no, not much influence was felt. As for the mastering, the whole mix was brought to a satisfactory level beforehand, mr Douches added some punch, a little bit of grit, some pepperoni, some other things and we are very pleased with the result.
Alright guys, so let’s jump into some of your history. When you first started thinking about this band a couple of years back, what was the starting point? Also, how has your view, satisfaction and understanding of this band evolved?
We started the band in order to escape our crushing daily routine and do something productive, simple as that. At first we just got down to having a good time jamming and experimenting with styles. After some months passed, we saw potential in what was going on, so we started putting more time and effort to it, playing shows and focusing deeper on the music. At some point, we kinda set two goals : to press our music in vinyl and to tour abroad. Having now done that, we feel stronger, more determined and open-minded. It is fair to say we are pleased with the choices we’ve made so far, but somehow we feel (or know) we could have done more with the band, as it is what makes us feel our best. A lot has changed since we first started almost six years ago, nowdays we don’t all live in the same town anymore, have to work in a different way than before, but we all share the same vision. The constant need for innovation and betterment, both for the band and for us as individuals and musicians through it. We firstly want to do right by ourselves and be proud of the outcome. It is heartwarming when other people align with what we do and be a part of it as well. Hope to meet many new friends in the upcoming summer tour.
Oh yeah, for sure! I remember you hit the road with your friends from KALPA earlier this past Fall. How was that trek? Did you meet some noteworthy bands?
It was a life experience for us and our first time playing abroad. We learned so much in this 10-day 6000+ km endeavor with KALPA, who also planned the whole thing and whom we send our love to. It was exciting to play in a different country every night and despite being most of the time in the van getting from place to place, we really made the most out of it and stand stronger and wiser in the outcome. What was really fascinating was meeting new people and seeing just how many things you have in common with them. Everything went well in general and we had quite a positive feedback. Definitely a memorable evening was the show in Vienna with BOAK and LUGUBRIOUS CHILDREN, as they both absolutely ripped. Also, excellent lads, every single one of them! Be sure to check them out.
Will do, thanks!
Ok, so back to the band, one more thing, cause I’m kind of curious. What were the reasons to change and simplify the original MINERVA SUPERDUTY name?
We haven’t really changed our name, it’s present on our pages on social media, bandcamp etc. We decided to use the MNRV moniker because we wanted to have a logo of some sort, an abbreviation that’s easily recognizable. Looks good, doesn’t it?
Oh, for sure, looks sexy as hell :)
Ok guys, so wrapping up this year, what records do you recommend we listen to?
BAKLAVAA – Dane On, SUMAC – What One Becomes, RUINED FAMILIES – Education, BÖLZER – Hero, DRAKE – Views, RUETZ – Melanoma.
Thanks! Lastly, what do you expect from the rest of 2017?
We will be on tour with brothers-in-crime MERAINE from July 7 to 16, playing shows around Germany and Austria. Can’t wait to have an awesome time doing what we do, meet old & new friends, watch some great bands perform and visit places we’ve never been before. After the tour, some shows back home are in order. Other than that, composing new material is our main driving force to the end of this year and beyond. There are too many feelings that need to be laid down in music and words.
Great! Cheers for your time! The last words are yours.
Thank you for this interview, we truly appreciate it. We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone that supported us thus far, hope to see you on the road and have a few beers together! Keep supporting the diy scene. Routine can wait.