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A Dirty Dozen with KASPER GRAM from MANTICORA – July 2020

| 29 July 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “MANTICORA was formed in 1997 by Lars Larsen (vocals), Kristian Larsen (guitars) and Mads Volf (drums). In the early days the band was a foursome with bass player Rene as the last member – the young guys laying the foundation of the MANTICORA-trademark sound; hard hitting power metal with both epic and thrash elements.” We get Kasper to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I think To Live To Kill To Live is the strongest release from Manticora to date… and yes, I know everybody always says that about their latest release, haha. But it really is a well written and well produced album! It’s so powerful and very diverse in its song writing with some great melodies and aggressive riffing, keeping the listener entertained every single minute of the album. If the fan would like the whole experience he/she should definitely read the book “To Kill To Live To Kill” by Lars Larsen. It just adds a whole other dimension to the musical experience when you know the full story behind the concept. Fans of insane heavy metal drumming will love this album too! Regardless of what kind of metal you like, you should definitely give this album a spin, as it contains a lot of stuff from different genres.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I have an older sister who presented U2 to me at a very young age, and not long after that I found out about bands like Europe and Bon Jovi. At that point I was already playing the bass, and at the age of 10 an older friend of mine gave me a tape with Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 2 and Live in the U.K., and from that day there was no hesitation of which way to go!

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Well… specifically Helloween has made a huge impact on me in the early days of my career,  and to this day Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 2 is still one of my favorite albums. Markus Grosskopf has also been a big inspiration for me as a bass player, and I still clearly remember the first time I saw Helloween in concert on the Chameleon tour in 1993 in Copenhagen.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Helloween, In Flames, Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden, and Symphony X.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I could imagine doing some old school speedy heavy metal with Kai Hansen of Helloween/Gamma Ray would be pretty cool! I have always admired Kai Hansen for his writing skills (music) and his nice, calm and positive way of being (met him a few times).

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Take a big box and put down acts like Nevermore, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Symphony X, Angra, Helloween and then add some newer Dimmu Borgir and some older In Flames, then you might have it! Maybe intelligent prog/power metal would fit, even though we are not really a power metal band anymore, or have never really been?! I don’t know… the best way to find out is to listen to our music, haha. I can’t really recall any comparison from fans or reviewers that was weird or “offending” in any way.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The recognition of the fans and travelling the world. An intense show with dedicated fans is simply just an awesome feeling! In general I love travelling, so being able to see the world while doing what you love is just freaking cool.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Somehow all of us actually cook very well, so we always get good food when hanging out… and we are good at drinking too :-). Only problem is, I suffer from a terrible hangover so I always hold back a little on the alcohol. No acoustic guitars for singalong, just funny and stupid anecdotes from the past.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

In general I don’t really get star struck, since in my eyes everybody is just a human being. Saying that, I do respect people who are really good at something, BUT meeting and shaking hands with Bruce Dickinson at a show in Copenhagen years back, was pretty cool! 🙂

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Hmmm, who knows. I’m kind of “nerdy” and love history and geography, so I would probably be digging up dinosaur fossils and saving marine wild life or something like that, haha.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Hmmm, not really… well, I can’t recall anything. I always follow my gut, think it over and then make my decision, and it has been the right way for me, so far. Of course there are situations where you couldn’t do anything about it, where you wish the outcome would have been a little different… you know, bad weather at open air shows, buses that break down, so you miss the next show etc.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

That’s a tough one! I think I would go for a recording of an Iron Maiden album. Which one, I actually don’t really know, but I think Iron Maiden would be great fun to hang out with :-)…..Let’s go for Number of the Beast since it’s a classic and I love that album! I’ve been playing in an Iron Maiden tribute band for many years, so most of their songs have a very special meaning to me, and I’ve always felt connected to the band by playing their songs.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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