music|May 18, 2023
Mares of Thrace is a doom metal duo from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, featuring Therese Lanz on guitar and vocals and Casey Rodgers on drums. Formed in 2009, the band has made waves in the metal world with their unique fusion of sludge, doom, and progressive metal.
The sound of Mares of Thrace is characterized by Lanz's complex guitar riffs, seamlessly blending heavy, distorted tones with complex melodic lines, while Rodgers' powerful and dynamic drumming drives the band's music forward with a relentless energy. Lanz's voice ranges from gut-wrenching screams to haunting melodies, adding an extra layer of intensity to the band's already powerful sound.
Mare of Thrace has released a number of critically acclaimed albums over the years, including Metamorphosis (2010), Pilgrimage (2012) and Exile (2022). The band's music has been praised for its originality, creativity, and technical skill, and has earned a loyal following among lovers of heavy music.
On June 12, Art Riot Promotions will welcome them back to Fargo, more than a decade after their last visit. I had the pleasure of chatting with Therese about upcoming shows, the past and future of the band, and more.
HPR: How did the Thracian mare come about?
Therese Lanz: That's a sharp question. It started in 2009, and time flies, if you can believe it. My best friend and I had our bass player quit and become a normal person with a normal career and kids, and I think it was a hectic phase. Every musician goes through it, and at least some band members quit. So we thought, okay, what if we stick with the two of us? Which sounds like a ridiculous idea, but you know, I like ridiculous ideas. We were playing a bit hard at the time... so I thought, okay, I'll turn the volume down and play real slow. And it works very well, people seem to be interested. But above all, it's a lot of fun. So we do it all the time. The challenge was basically to make the most disgusting and wicked riff that I could.
HPR: I love the spirit, it makes me laugh, but it's also what I like to hear in my music, so it's very important to me. I've seen their music described as everything from doom metal to sludge and I've even seen nu metal. How did you develop your sound and what inspired you to incorporate different genres?
TL: My taste is all over the place, like my influences, and it's probably easy to say that it's pretty bad. In any case, I always love when people hear or see us and leave immediately, you are a loud rock band. Because, personally, I think I'm more faithful to noise rock than to metal. I mean, I like metal, obviously, but the entire '90s AmRep catalog is very important to me. But it's like a bag, I like hardcore, I like black metal, etc.
HPR: In band life, you were very lucky and toured with a lot of good bands like High on Fire and Ken Mode and things like that. Do you have any quick travel stories or something like that about cool trips you've done?
TL: We haven't toured with High on Fire yet. I wish we had.
HPR: Have you ever played High on Fire? You probably played with them at festivals or whatever. The computer tricked me into thinking you toured with them, so you can say yes.
TL: Haha, I actually have a wholesome travel story to tell you. This is our September tour with Ken Mode and Vile Creature, and we'll be adding it to our resume of great bands we've toured with.
HPR: I love Vile Creature. This is one of my favorite bands right now. I just like, like you said, evil, dirty, disgusting sounds. That sound is my favorite.
TL: They are also one of my favorites. In fact, I feel like coming back to music after a hiatus is like a new era in my life because I find that if I like a band, I can get them to tour with us.
I asked KW from Vile Creature Hey, you guys have never been to the west, would you like to tour with us? They said yes! Ken Mode invited himself, but they are the sweetest, nicest people. Anyway, the whole story started on the last night of our mini trip together, the three of us getting hotel rooms at the Leduc Sheraton.
It was the Sheraton Alberta, and it was around 2:30 am. m. after the show, and we said okay let's go to the party last night. Let's do classic rock and roll and go back to our hotel room for a classic rock and roll last night hotel party. So we did, we went back to our hotel room, we were all very tired and realized that this was the most sober hotel party that had ever happened.
I did not find a single alcoholic drink or joint. Three very heavy bands, we liked chips and fudge instead of pot candy, and that was one of the most fun times I've ever had playing in a band.
HPR: When you can happily sit in a room and just eat fudge and soberly munch on chips, that's another level of growth!
TL: Yeah, I mean, the company definitely helps too. Some people drink to endure your presence. That's not the group that needs that kind of reality reduction.
HPR: The Ken Way has always been around. Did you tour with them before that tour? Or is it the first time?
L: We did it. In fact, a long time ago I was the bassist on his tour. They are my dear old friends now. We did another short stint with them, but that was a long time ago, I think it was 2010.
HPR: I always tell people who haven't seen Ken Mode that their singer is horrible on stage. He's like a nice guy when you talk to him, but on stage, he just has a slightly scary look in his eyes.
L: Absolutely. They have to go there regularly because they are close to you.
HPR: You performed in Fargo with Sleeping in Gethsemane in 2011, any memories? I'm on that show.
TL: Yeah, actually, Brandon from Sleeping in Gethsemane took us out for lunch. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was great. I had one of the best Eggs Benedict I've ever had. So that's definitely my memory of Fargo - it's the amazing Eggs Benedict.
HPR: There's a big gap between "Exile" and the previous albums. How do you think your music has changed since your last release and where do you think it will go in the future?
TL: It's a bit strange, like I never intended for this band to be a band again. In 2017, after my drummer retired to do some real solo work, I decided I needed to do full body work as well. So I went and bought one and it really works great. I thought, well, the only thing I like besides music is video games, so I became a game developer.
And then after the move, because it's a full-time career, very competitive and demanding. I thought, well, I have to play the music or I'm going to explode, like I'm going to fall and die. So this is 2017 and I just sat down and wrote a bunch of riffs.
I was like okay what the hell maybe I'll see if Steff wants to play these she said yes then she said no so I sent the song to another old bandmate from our hometown also our old friend of mine.
He said, I could get on this, I could do all the production myself, we could push it out into the universe, but nothing would come of it because we lived in different parts of the country at the time.
I'm pretty sure, what the hell is going on, this is never going to be played live, and our label probably doesn't even want to play it, because I'm not interested in playing live anymore... and then none of this really came to fruition.
The record company wanted to put it out, so I ended up moving back here and we went into the jam space and within the first 20 seconds of playing with another guy, I was like, I'm a fool for leaving this, this is what I'm going to go on. doing things until I die.
HPR: It's been great to be able to pause and come back to real life and realize that maybe this isn't the right path and that music needs a part of you. I was going to ask you about video games because I read an interview from a long time ago, maybe from 2012? At that time, you said that you went to school to work in the video game industry. So you just told me you graduated. Are you still doing it or have you put it on hold for now?
TL: I know, maybe that was an article you read on the Little Decibel sidebar?
HPR: Possibly, I read everything I thought you'd done, just to make sure I at least asked an original question.
TL: I appreciate that because that kind of due diligence is not always the case. I mean, we all end up answering the same questions because people are usually curious about the same things.
But anyway, yes I do. Early in my career, I actually chose the opposite path from most people. Most people start out as small, unknown independent studios, and then, if they're lucky, move on to larger studios. I start with the biggest studio you can find. I am an intern at Mortal Kombat. So my first job was at Ubisoft.
HPR: Wow. So you went to the big one right away?
TL: Yeah, if anything, the smell of working in those places gave me a bad taste in my mouth, so I started working for the smallest studio possible, just by choice. This is what I do now. I have a good balance at the moment and can do it based on a contract on my own terms.
HPR: What's the best game you've ever worked on? Which one are you most proud of?
TL: I'm proud of all of them, for different reasons. When I lived in Chicago for a while, I had to tell my employer the phone agent when I was filling out the online form to apply for health insurance, so I told him about NetherRealm and he immediately said, oh by the way, I already booked. above.
I love bragging rights. Just like bragging rights are great. But in terms of what I'm really proud of, is what I'm doing now, and I'm very proud of it. This was designed for a small studio in Canada and it's an AR game. Kind of like Pokémon Go, but it's about invisible creatures from the sky and the fight against climate change.
HPR: I have to ask you this because most of the people I work with are nerds and have read something that says your tattoo has something to do with Dungeons and Dragons, so if I don't ask you, I'll get fired. . What is your favorite class? If you play with modules, I don't know what that is, what is your favorite?
TL: Which class is my favourite? You'll need to follow up on the nerd to follow up on that nerd question. what version?
HPR: Oh my gosh, I'm not nerdy enough to know that.
TL: I guess it's the fifth edition.
HPR: Fifth Edition Yeah, you just beat them.
TL: I would say that fifth edition of D&D is rogue. I just like to be like a sneaky, sneaky, lock picker.
HPR: Sounds interesting. Sneaky Stabby is my cat's middle name. I can dig it.
TL: Modules. I have definitely never played with modules in my life. I like homebrew, if you need a nerdy translation that's it, basically a module is a prepackaged scene like everything written. Every plot hook, every monster and encounter has been designed for you. The Dungeon Master then lets the player through. And then self-made is when you don't build on a pre-made story, you just make it up yourself.
HPR: Okay, so you're just making up your own story, which sounds cooler. I totally agree. Be more creative.
TL: It's like a kind of cover. I mean, that's fine. A lot of people love it and start doing it, but I had to create something, even if it sucks.
HPR: Yeah, I kind of agree with that. I want to create my own bad stuff instead of using someone else's good stuff.
TL: In general, I'd rather write my own shitty song than cover a great song.
HPR: Of all your songs, which one is your favourite?
TL: For the record, we haven't released yet.
HPR: Ah, so he's in the room?
TL: Well, a lot of people say, please don't make us wait ten years to do it again. I'm really touched that after all this time someone still cares, like I'm still humbled and amazed and super grateful. So Kathy and I, the new drummers, had to write together and we had almost written the whole record.
HPR: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians just starting out to keep their heads above water?
Therese: You really want to know what your goals are. I think this is the most important and sometimes the most effective way to achieve your goals is to find people who are doing what you want to do and ask them how they do it. As for the likes, just a general suggestion, there's a quote from my mom that's stuck in my head for some reason. Watch out for the donuts. In this case, what it means to me is that music is sometimes its own reward. It's always a reward, but sometimes it's the only reward. Sometimes that is enough.
HPR: I like that. That is good advice. One more thing, did you design the poster art? Some Fargo bandmates contacted me asking who made this poster, so if you want to make some extra money in the Fargo poster/flyer making business, all you have to do is talk to some guys who talk, I think you're going to. Being a billboard manager in North Dakota.
TL: So, that's my new professional goal.
The Thracian mare, the suspended wound and the idiot boy
Aquarium, upstairs at 226 Broadway, downtown Fargo
June 12, 2023