As Marianas Trench wraps up another album cycle, this time for “Astoria”, Alternative Addiction caught up with frontman Josh Ramsay to talk a bit about their latest album. Ramsay also talked briefly about the next album and their surging popularity outside of their native Canada.
Before we move forward it’s important to understand what Marianas Trench does with their albums. Starting with their album “Masterpiece Theatre” and continuing with their next two albums “Ever After” and “Astoria”, Ramsay and co. find a central theme for an LP and then they create everything they do around the theme. Everything from Writing, production, show production, videos, and wardrobe choices is decided with the theme in mind.
“Yeah, I guess I’m ambitious that way I suppose. Or stupid. I don’t know what the right answer is,” said a laughing Ramsay when talking about that tactic with Alternative Addiction in a recent interview. “With the last record, the concept itself was simple. As a backdrop, have it set in the universe of an 80’s coming-of-age adventure movie. That wonderful idea shaped the way I wrote the songs, production choices, wardrobe choices on tour, merch choices, the whole live show… You can pull a lot from a little thing. For me, that’s the most inspiring way to write songs because I have an outline to write a batch of songs and I kind of work from there.”
It's not the easiest way to create an album, but when you think about it from a creative standpoint, it an incredibly exciting way. It’s like writing and recording an album, producing a Broadway musical, directing a movie, and launching a product line – all at the same time. There’s a lot of challenging work with each album including a lot of research, usually before the first song is written.
“On Astoria, I was watching a bunch of 80’s movies and paying attention to the scores,” said Ramsay on how he prepared to make the album. “We did the symphony breaks. I wanted those to sound like John Williams. I was paying a lot of attention to movie scores and I’d be listening to vintage vinyl every day before work. The way I approach it is a lot how a method actor approaches a character. They like to live in that and stay in character the whole time they’re working on it. I’m sort of the same. When we were doing this album, I was tracking vocals while wearing leather pants and a scarf. I was trying to channel Steven Tyler. I try to get absorbed into it as much as I can.”
The symphony breaks are unique, but another cool part of the album is the opening song, the title track, “Astoria.” Josh talked about the concept behind the song and how it fits in with the theme and the narrative on the record.