Lifestyle Magazine

Astoria: Marianas Trench Album Review and Q&A

By Phjoshua @thereviewsarein

Marianas Trench, the West Coast, Vancouver-based boys are back after a four-year hiatus, and we think it’s been worth the wait.

Astoria, a 17 track album is everything you want in a Marianas Trench album and more.

Never a band to shy away from letting us in, by the time we get to the end of the almost 7-minute title track,  they’ve touched on the broken engagement, a stint in the hospital, and a glimpse of what’s coming next, all in the title track.

They followed it up with  Burning Up, a great blend of lyrics and music. The fun pop sound is back and the lyrics that make us wonder about our own breakups, wonder about what’s enough and calling everything off. At the same time, this song makes me want to dance. It’s got a great backbeat and that falsetto! I do love Josh Ramsay’s falsetto.

Marianas Trench Astoria Album Cover

I’m going to skip ahead to one of my favourites, track 7, Dearly Departed. The gentle opening mandolin sucks me in. At first, it seems sweet but when I listen to the lyrics I feel the pain of being left. Last calls, last times, who hasn’t wanted to give it one more time. Tossing in lyrics and song titles from the past, bringing cohesive continuity but with a slightly more mature angle. I love this track!

They’re still the same Marianas Trench, still talking about what matters to them and of course the things that matter to us. With 17 tracks there’s something here for everyone. It’s an album about love and loss. There are amazing symphonic transitions and the final track End Of An Era is the perfect ending to this long awaiting album.

We had the chance to do a Q&A with Mike Ayley about the album, the tour, the band and a few other things.

Astoria Track List
Q: The “Never Say Die” tour is kicking off March 9 in Kingston and ending April 8 in Vancouver. Will there be international dates added later this year?

A: We will be doing much more touring in support of Astoria. We’re hoping to do as much international touring as possible.

Q: Your tour mates are Walk Off The Earth and Kieran Mercer. Can you tell us how that decision was made and what you’re looking forward to regarding playing with them?

A: Kieran is a great guy. We have played with him once or twice when he was in another project. We’re happy to have him with us on this run. Walk Off The Earth came highly recommended by our booking agent. Obviously, we’d heard about them in the past, but it’s nice to work with them directly. Their show is really high energy and is fun to watch.

Q: Astoria was recorded in Josh’s home, what was the biggest difference between recording “at home” versus in a studio?

A: The experience of turning that home into a recording studio and, in essence, a themed world of its own really enhanced our experience. The atmosphere was the most creative one we have had to date. The location was also more central which made dropping in for all of us very easy. You could just come by for a couple of hours on some days if that was all the time you had. You never knew if you would be just hanging out and soaking up the process, or singing, or playing an instrument. On any given day, if the inspiration struck, you would be tracking something. It kept you on your toes but also made everyone involved useful and essential to the final product.

Q: I love the added sound of a symphony, is it different working with one on your tour?

Marianas Trench - Ontario Tour Dates
A: We don’t bring a symphony on tour. That would require MASSIVE amounts of additional show production and engineering. It would almost be impossible to get the show put together in time once you add in all of the other production facets we have incorporated on a daily basis.

Q: According to Wikipedia, all of the original band members of Marianas Trench are still part of the band. How have you made it work for over a decade?

A: Sometimes I’m even baffled by how well we get along. I’ve really thought about this quite a lot lately. We’re still out on the road for weeks and months at a time. Somehow, we still laugh all the time, work hard and have fun. I think one thing we’ve always done is keep a really good sense of humor. There are so many things that will go wrong over that many years. There are so many days where everyone is so tired all we want to do is “call in sick.” There are so many days where your voice is hanging on by a thread, but we always seem to find the light side of it. I think that is our secret.

Q: Is there a favorite stop of the tour for you guys?

A: Every city is a mystery. You never know what the show will bring, how the crowd will be and what magic may occur. I try to go into every show bringing my absolute best. I think that’s the most you can do. If I had to pick one show on this tour that’s been “circled on my calendar” it would be the hometown show in Vancouver. My son is 6 and this will be the first time he will come to one of our shows and probably remember it. I can’t wait for him to see what I do for work!

Marianas Trench Astoria Tour Stage
Q: If we could get a sneak peek into your personal playlist, what would we find? Who are you listening to right now?

A: You’ll find lots of Taylor Swift, that Halsey song Castle, The Weeknd, some of my kid’s favourites too haha.

Q: In 50 words or less, can you tell someone who’s never seen Marianas Trench live what they could expect from your show?

A: If you’ve never seen us, it’s time! Our show is way more experiential than most people would imagine. Seeing some of the album tracks live will give you a whole new perspective on Marianas Trench. I’m willing to guess that you will know more songs than you thought and leave feeling great!

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