Marianas Trench Interview
How much have your friends and families played a part in your career so far?
In the day to day life of the band our families don’t appear to play a big role. However, they have all been essential to our career. Josh’s family worked in the music business in both the studio/recording side of the equation as well as in the performing side. He was around music so exclusively as a child that he just thought that’s what everyone did when they grew up.
When we were going on our first winter tour I remember Matt’s family buying us some high-quality winter tires so we didn’t die. They probably saved our life.
Before our first album came out we spent an entire summer in the southern Ontario region to start building a fan base in that area. There is no way we could have done that without my dad and stepmom letting us live in their home for those months while they were transferred out of town for work.
On a personal level, I think we all needed our families for support and encouragement the whole time. We still do! They give meaning to all of the hard work, the weeks and weeks in a row away from home sleeping on a bus every night, etc.
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
I think it was in high school when I started realizing how much I loved music. I had been in a choir and a marching band playing the trumpet before that. There was a point when my mom bought me a bass guitar for my birthday and that’s when I really started digging into learning to play mainstream music. A few years after that I was in my first band with Ian… and the rest is history!
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
I grew up listening to a lot of my older brother’s music. I really liked The Cure, Jane’s Addiction, Smashing Pumpkins, The Stone Roses and a bunch of other great stuff!
Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?
For some reason I can’t seem to forget what Pi is equal to to a completely useless decimal point… 3.14159265358979323846…
I’m much better at math than music – which is why I usually am the guy trying to figure out how much merch we need for our tours. I love and hate that responsibility. It’s like you crunch a whole bunch of numbers over and over to see if you get the same answer and then just be sure you wave a magic wand over the whole thing and pray. Haha
I didn’t get my drivers license until 9 years ago. I don’t know why. It just never happened. Maybe it was all of the nightmares I used to have where I was driving a car and it was out of control? Haha
What song of yours best describes you and why?
What song best describes me or the band? I think if you were to sum up the band, all that we do, in just one song, it would be “Ever After” or “Echoes of You” (from the new album.) Those are crazy tracks that go outside of the box for a pop song, but still manage to feel like an accessible track that you can get into on your first or second listen. For me personally, it’s got to be Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” I mean, it’s pretty obvious.
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
Impossible to name just one. I’d say headlining and selling out the House of Blues in Chicago for the first time was incredible. The audience there is so fired up. It’s such a great music city. The first time we headlined a summer festival and it was sold out (in Winnipeg) was shocking. It was during the “All To Myself” single from Masterpiece Theatre. We weren’t sure anyone would show up. When we walked on stage and saw almost 10,000 people, I couldn’t control my emotions. It was truly overwhelming. We have played Ottawa Bluesfest a few times. The last time we were there it was complete chaos… amazing chaos. The capacity of the venue was 35,000 people but they ended up having ticketing issues and to make sure everyone who paid got in, they just had to open the gates. There were more than 40,000 people watching our show that day. It was NUTS.
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
I think it would be Wembley Stadium in London. It’s such an iconic name in music lore and such a great city too.
What has been your best achievement to date and what would like to achieve in the future?
I think our best achievement is making five great albums over all these years and still being such good friends, having the desire to work so hard, and still having a fantastic time doing to all. I would love to see that life continue and I’d like us to gain traction around the world to the level we have in Canada.
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
I love that being emotional while I work is actually a positive thing. I get to feel larger than life when we’re on stage and when we’re off tour I still do lots of work, but it’s at home or in the studio, and it feels very normal and balancing.
If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?
Well…. I was a waiter for years while I pursued this. So, if this failed that would have been the short-term answer. As I mentioned before, I have a pretty good math mind, so I think I would have to go into finance… like counting guitars or something.
What would your ideal festival line up be and why?
Let’s say I can choose the band and the era of their career and put them all on one show… Depeche Mode circa 1989, Oasis circa 1997, The Beatles 1967, Queen circa 1977, and Michael Jackson circa 1984 (in no particular order.)
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Dave Genn produced our first album. He was also in The Matthew Good Band. It was a band that everyone in our group had grown up listening to and loved. Honestly, he gave us so much advice when we were a baby band and we needed every bit of it. If I shared just one it would be that when you’re in the writing process, you really want everyone to come up with as much of a contribution as possible. However, once an idea is “out there” it’s not yours anymore. It’s one of many options. It’s important to detach ownership from the ideas so you can be unbiased and truly pick what is best for the song. I interpret it as “Bring your creativity. Check your ego at the door.”
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
What makes me happy, shorter than anticipated hold times when you’re calling your cable provider or any customer service phone line. What annoys me, I’ve never experienced shorter than anticipated call volume. Have you ever noticed that EVERY time you call there is a higher than usual volume of calls? When are they comparing their usual amount to, 1876, when the telephone was first invented?
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
I’m into fitness, sports, travel, dining, spending as much time as I can with my fiancé and my son.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry and how do you cope with using social media to build a profile in music?
That’s a good question. I think the internet has clearly resulted in unprecedented change in so many facets of the business. We’ve kind of been through a lot of them. CDs were everything during Fix Me. On our next album, Masterpiece Theatre, the iTunes single digital download became a huge part of the business and that continued through Ever After. By the time Astoria came out, streaming became a huge factor and now as we’re about to release our fifth album it has continued to grow.
How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
That’s a tough one. You can go to the end of the spectrum with image like how Madonna, Elton John, David Bowie, and Lady Gaga have. I think with them it’s the larger than life approach, where people watch and want to be like that person, or they escape through the grandiose nature of the performance. There are also artists like Ed Sheeran, Nickelback, or almost anyone in country music, where being down to earth and having a normal-looking feel leads them to be so relatable. I think whatever direction you go, just being committed to it and feeling like you can perform your music as you’d like it heard, is the most important part.
Can you tell us about any tattoos have and the significance of them to you?
I have two tattoos. One of them is the coordinates of the Marianas Trench. Each guy in the band has that tattooed somewhere on him. I also have another that I share with my best friend on the planet. He and I have been friends since we were 3 years old.
If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?
Do I get to choose which country? Lol
Can you tell me as much as you can about any new releases gigs or anything else coming up soon?
We have a new song out right now called “I Knew You When” and the album it’s from will be out in early March. In support of the album we have our Suspending Gravity tour coming up in March for Canada and the USA leg of the tour in May/June.
What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
I would tell them to ask their self if they truly love music. It’s a really challenging industry and there are lots of ups and downs, lots of people with strong opinions, and no guarantee that you will find a stable career. If you love the art and it’s the only thing that makes you happy, then it’s an amazing option. All of those things about won’t phase you. If you’re doing it for fame, there are certainly other ways to get famous, and you will probably never find fulfillment from your work.
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
Max Martin, for sure.
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Haha it would be cool if I’d written “Livin’ On A Prayer.” We played that song between the openers’ sets and our set all last album cycle and everyone STILL LOVES THAT SONG! It’s incredible. Obviously I’d love to have written one of the great symphonies, but that seems a little greedy.