As Canadian pop band Marianas Trench prepares for the fishbowl experience of performing live on MuchMusic, giggling young fans are gathering in the adjacent TV studio.
“We’re standing in the makeup room, and I hear people on the other side of the door,” said lead guitarist Matt Webb, who had just wrapped a sound check in Toronto before doing a recent phone interview with the Advocate. “It’s pretty close proximity here,” a chuckling Webb added. “But we enjoy these small, intimate shows. It becomes a real interactive experience.”
Marianas Trench may not have so many cozy concert opportunities in future.
The Vancouver-based group that performs with Down With Webster and Anami Vice on Wednesday at Red Deer’s Centrium, has been playing to bigger and bigger crowds since its last album, Ever After, produced a string of radio hits. Haven’t Had Enough, Fallout, Desperate Measures and now Stutter have all had tons of profile-raising airplay.
As a result, Webb said Marianas Trench has been performing for as many as 50,000 people at some festivals. And starting last year, the group has also been headlining tours through Canada, Asia and Australia.
“I don’t think things have changed that much for us. We’re still having fun touring and working hard,” Webb added. “The only difference is that maybe we are getting known more internationally.”
The musicians are next planning a tour of the U.S., where some Marianas Trench singles have done pretty well. “There’s been a lot going on,” said Webb, who’s glad the group’s last concept album has been so well received.
Ever After is constructed around a storyline about a heartless queen and an imprisoned princess, conceived by lead singer, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Josh Ramsay. He decided not to put pauses between the tracks as a way of encouraging fans to experience the whole album instead of just buying random singles off iTunes.
Webb doubts if this effort will have much effect on shoring up overall CD sales, which “are dying, that’s for sure.” But he’s glad that the theatrical aspects and storyline of Ever After appear to have sparked fan interest.
“I find it refreshing that a lot of people are digitally downloading the whole album, as opposed to just individual singles.”
Webb revealed his favourite song on the album is the title track, which has not been released as a single because it doesn’t really fit radio format. “It’s a little more out-of-the-box and challenging to play live. And creatively, it’s more cool than just a three-chord song.”
He hopes his band’s next album will feature more tunes that break the format.
Marianas Trench was formed in 2001 by Ramsay, who recruited his high school friend, Webb, as lead guitarist. They found drummer Ian Casselman through a want ad in the Georgia Strait, and through him discovered bassist Mike Ayley. The band best known for the tune Celebrity Status off the Masterpiece Theatre release, is signed to 604 Records, which is co-owned by Chad Kroeger of Nickelback.
After so many tours together, Webb is glad to report all the group members still get along. “We respect everyone’s personal space and we’ve learned to recognize when someone needs some alone time. It’s just like any relationship, except it’s with four people.”
While a lot of young bands have gone off the rails the moment success strikes, Webb believes his still-single bandmates are too well grounded for bad behaviour.
“We’re careful, in terms of our lifestyle, staying healthy and exercising. And we stay away from adult beverages. . . .
“Priority-wise, our families are at the top.”