Marianas Trench Play The Pageant Aug. 5 on Their Summer ‘SPF 80s’ Tour

By Cara Wegener
In Culture

Multi-platinum selling rockers Marianas Trench come to STL on their summer tour—the “SPF 80s” Tour. Their newly released album, “Astoria,” is part 1980s fantasy adventure film and part classic Marianas Trench. The songs are “about completely falling to pieces, and picking yourself back up again.” It reflects frontman Josh Ramsay’s personal journey, who often touches on heavy subject matters such as addiction and eating disorder. (Check out the video for their single, “This Means War.“)

Marianas Trench have had two Certified Platinum albums in Canada, as well as many chart-topping hits, including “Fallout,” “Haven’t Had Enough” and “Stutter.” Ramsay also received a Grammy nomination in 2013 for co-writing and producing Carly Rae Jepsen’s breakthrough smash, “Call Me Maybe.”

Check out what bass player Mike Ayley had to say about their headlining tour in our Q+A!

Photo provided by Marianas Trench

Photo courtesy of Marianas Trench

What inspired your pop-punk style?
I’m not sure I would describe the band as pop-punk. I would probably say we are more of a pop-rock band. However, on our first album, there was definitely more of a pop-punk sound than there is now. We were just coming out of an era where some of the bigger influences were Green Day, Foo Fighters and Blink 182. With that much exposure to those types of acts, it’s bound to affect your own sound. We’ve certainly grown and worked to make each album its own style and experience as we’ve continued our career.

What music on the radio right now inspires you?
You know, it’s just good songs. It doesn’t have to be a particular artist. If there is a song that manages to have great music, melody and accessible lyrics, it can be pretty hard to deny. Sometimes you’ll hear a vocal performance that just crushes. Jessie J is a good example of that. If you look up Max Martin, you will find that he has written on so many monster tracks. It’s funny how often I will be drawn to a song and find out later that he was involved.

How did it feel getting signed to 604 Records? How has it helped your career?
I think it goes without saying that getting that record deal was a big moment. 604 has been as loyal and supportive as anyone could expect. We are really partners working to continue to build the story of our band and to get the music heard in as many places around the world as we can. I don’t think we could have accomplished what we have with another label.

How do you go from writing songs about addiction and eating disorders to a fun pop song like “Call Me Maybe”? What is the transition like for you?
When you write for yourself, it makes sense to draw from personal experiences. If you’re going to play a song hundreds of times after it has been recorded, you really want it to mean something to you. When you’re writing with or for another artist, you can try things that you might not normally do. If they are in another genre, it’s really interesting. As a producer, it makes you learn a lot about different styles. It’s fun and challenging. The cool thing is that you end up learning some new tricks that will work for the next time you work on your own material.

How does your new album “Astoria” compare to past albums?
“Astoria” is another album that we set in a little universe of its own. This time, we went for an ’80s coming-of-age adventure theme. The biggest difference with this album was the recording process. We tracked a bunch of it in Josh’s apartment. The place was in character with the album concept. We had a total ’80s vibe. It was really inspiring and helped with the creativity.

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Photo provided by Marianas Trench

Where did the 1980s fantasy adventure film idea come from?
One day when we were late in the “Ever After” album cycle, we were just about to go play a show, and Josh starts talking about a universe for the album. It was that coming-of-age adventure movie. Things like “Super 8,” “The Goonies,” “Monster Squad,” “ET,” etc. …

When we looked at a list of some of the great films of that type, we noticed that so many are set in the ’80s even if they were filmed later. Seemed like a great musical era to draw inspiration from. We didn’t want to go for the new-wave vibe because that had been done.

We took inspiration from lots of other sources though Tears For Fears, Michael Jackson, Top Gun, Eurythmics, etc., but we also held true to our sound and original influences. So, rather than try to sound like other people’s music, we tried to make our music reminiscent of that era.

What has been the single most exciting moment of your music career thus far?
That’s a big question. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it was the first time we played our own show to 5,000 people. Maybe it was the day “Ever After” came out and we were in Chicago and somehow all the people already knew the words to the new songs. The first time you have an album go platinum is incredible. We’ve had more than a decade worth of experiences. I don’t think I could pick just one that stands out above so many great memories and moments.

Is there anything else you want to say to your St. Louis fans?
We’re coming for ya! Bring your sunscreen.

Marianas Trench play Aug. 5 at The Pageant in the Delmar Loop. Doors are at 7pm, and Skylar Stecker kicks off the night at 8pm. Get tickets here

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