With their fourth studio album, Astoria, due for release later this year, multi-platinum pop-rock group Mariana’s Trench are looking to shake any signs of rust off their live show with a performance at Moncton’s Casino New Brunswick on Saturday night.
Of course, we aren’t intimating that the Canadian group is in need of shaking the rust off by any stretch of the imagination. They are one of Canada’s most successful bands of the past decade, building their name and reputation via seemingly ceaseless touring, while engaging their fans via social media.
Since singing to 604 Records last decade, a boutique record label owned by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, the group has amassed a plethora of number one singles, in addition to multiple Juno, Muchmusic Video Award and SOCAN award wins and nominations.
Earlier this year, Mariana’s Trench released a four-track digital EP, Something Old / Something New. The EP, boasting the hit single “Pop 101” in addition to the latest radio track “Here’s To The Zeros,” is the first new music from the band since 2011’s Ever After.
It has been a long road to their upcoming new record Astoria, something that Mariana’s Trench bassist Mike Ayley says partially involved undisclosed personal matters on the part of vocalist Josh Ramsay.
“Some of the delay between releases could absolutely be attributed to some personal stuff going on in Josh’s life, which inadvertently put a six-month delay on moving forward with the new album,” Ayley says, noting that he as well as the other members of Mariana’s Trench completely supported Ramsay’s decision to take care of himself.
“If you try to push yourself beyond what you are ready to deliver, it then stands to negatively impact the quality of your work and your art. If you focus only on work and don’t stop to listen when life is calling you, you will grow to resent your work sooner or later. That can lead to self-destruction, too, so it was very important to everyone that Josh take the time he needed.”
Given the intensely personal nature of Ramsay’s writing in the past, Ayley says the lyrics on Astoria will help shed some light on the trials through which he found himself struggling.
“Given the personal nature of the songs on the new album, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Josh is 100% comfortable laying everything on the line with the lyrics as much as he might feel as though he doesn’t have a choice in revealing himself through these songs. I feel as though the process ends up being rather cathartic for him.”
Asked if he feels as though Ramsay will regret the personal nature of the group’s new songs, given the fact the group will be performing many of them live night after night, Ayley says Ramsay has always been open with his lyrics.
“Listening to the album, there are a lot of tough experiences on there. To have to relive that night after night might be challenging, but also puts Josh in a bit of a vulnerable position. As an artist, you have to give a lot of yourself, and while some might not be comfortable putting themselves ‘out there’ like Josh, we are all incredibly supportive of the direction he wants to bring the band.”
Given their success, Ayley admits that Ramsay’s intuition has served Mariana’s Trench well so far.
An integral part of the Mariana’s Trench story, however, has been the organic way in which the group has cultivated their fan base. While the group has been fortunate enough to score widespread support from radio and video outlets, there was a time in the not too distant past where few knew who the band was.
“With Mariana’s Trench, our success has been a slow building kind of thing, rather than us exploding out of the gate or anything like that,” he says. “We spent a whole summer playing all throughout Southern Ontario just to try to get the band better known. Some weeks, we would play two shows and other weeks we would play five shows.
“I remember playing Barrie, Ont. three times in one summer. The first time we played, there were maybe 10 people there, but with each subsequent show, attendance doubled. It was so inspirational to see this swell of support growing behind the band, which we built just by playing live wherever we could.”
It is that commitment from the early part of their career combined with their steadfast dedication to interacting with their fans after each of their shows that has helped Mariana’s Trench sustain and grow the popularity of the group.
Ayley is incredibly proud of what Mariana’s Trench have accomplished over the course of the last decade and is hopeful that when Astoria is released later this year, it too will continue their enviable track record.
“Success is never anything we have taken for granted,” he says. “We started off with a lot of bands that we have watched fade away or just go away altogether.
“People seem to connect to our music on a different level than a lot of other bands. I feel we have sustained and grown our fan base over time, because we haven’t been shy about pushing creative boundaries. Fortunately for us, our fans have changed and grown with us. That’s something that not every group is afforded, but is something for which we feel endlessly grateful.”
What: Mariana’s Trench
When: Saturday July 11, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $49.99, plus taxes and service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone 1-866-943-8849 and online at casinonb.ca