Interviews: Dog Drive Mantis

In this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the  Rock band Dog Drive Mantis from Canada. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

After forming as a band in October 2015, we were literally calling ourselves the ‘No Name Band’ for a year while we were playing house shows and releasing some demos on YouTube. We couldn’t decide on a name we could all agree on, and we didn’t want to rush it and settle for something sub-par. We would brainstorm almost every week though. Our bassist Carmen pitched the name ‘Dog Drive Mantis’ about 8 months in after it came to him in a dream. The rest of us instantly shot it down. It seemed too wacky at the time. After 3 months, we were brainstorming around the table again, and he brought it back up. For whatever reason, it just seemed to stick better with us the second time. It rolled off the tongue and was memorable. We were still a little hesitant at first, but it was the best option so far. We couldn’t be nameless any longer because we were getting ready to play our first few live shows at that time.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

I’m still not entirely sure if we really know what genre to classify ourselves as. There are a lot of influences from the genres we like such as jazz fusion, post-rock, prog rock, math rock and maybe some funk. I can’t say that our sound is entirely intentional, we just jammed the first few times together and figured out our function as individuals within the band and had a conversation with our instruments. The sound of DDM is the result of our playing and listening experiences.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Mike (guitar) and Carmen (bass) have been childhood friends forever. They met Neilroy (drums) in 2014 after reeling him in off a kijiji ad. They had a few ideas together and made a few small tracks. One year later in 2015, they reeled me in (again, off of Kijiji) and the rest is history.

4. Each band member favorite band?

Derek - Streetlight Manifesto

Mike - Broken Social Scene

Carmen - Radiohead

Neilroy - Tool

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

I’m sure we all have our own musicians/bands that influence our own personal play style. At the end of the day though, I really believe that we get inspired by each other as a band to write. We are always pushing to become more and tighter as a band, introduce new ideas that we haven’t explored yet, and most importantly build the already natural musical chemistry that we have had between us from the beginning. I think we are inspired by each other to improve the overall sound of the band as a whole to keep it constantly evolving and fresh.

6. Where was your last gig?

A very cool DIY venue in Guelph, Ontario, Canada called ‘Silence’, back in February of this year. It was our last show before the live show hiatus that we are currently on now.

7. Where would you like to act?

We would definitely love to start exploring festival territory now. Nothing in particular, hopefully, any kind of rock festival or jazz festival that would boast an audience that could receive our music well. I also wouldn’t mind getting the band into more jazz clubs in our stomping grounds of Toronto, because we haven’t been to any yet. Possibly jazz clubs like The Rex Hotel, Reservoir Lounge, and The Orbit Room.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Any other cool horns + rock style bands such as Streetlight Manifesto or any other cool new wave jazz fusion bands like BADBADNOTGOOD. Even other post-rock more instrumental heavy-based bands like Broken Social Scene or Do Make Say Think.

9. Whom not?

Anyone who is a far stray from our genre (pop, country, etc…) so anyone with an audience that wouldn’t understand our music.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

I'm sure we all have. I had my first shows before this band, so I was somewhat over it by the time I joined these guys. I got laughed at on stage at my first show ever. It was an all-covers song gig at a popular bar on a Thursday night. I got a list of songs a week prior and the day of, none of those songs on the list were called. About 90% of the songs that were, I had never even attempted a full playthrough before in my life. I survived that though and didn’t let it get to my head, because they clearly had no idea about the situation I was in. I actually did another show next week with the same band. My advice is: like everything else, the more you do it the better it gets. The first few shows might be a trainwreck. You just have to be content with knowing that you could fall flat on your face, or it might not be the smoothest ride the first few shows. The more you’re up there, the more comfortable you will become up there over time. It’s that simple. Just have patience and keep plugging away.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

I have a lot, so I’ll just name the one that has been the most inspiring for this band in particular. Streetlight Manifesto. I discovered them from a friend’s recommendation in high school. I’m glad I did because I was instantly in love. I grew up listening to a lot of classics, prog, 90's and 00's alternative rock. Deciding on the sax (which has almost nada to do with these genres), Somewhere In The Between showed me that my dream of trying to become a rockstar with a horn was achievable. The title track was happy-go-lucky upbeat mixed in with the superstitious vibe and deep lyrical sense (aka religious bashing) of ‘40 Days’, topped off with heavy headbangers like ‘What a Wicked Gang Are We’ seemed like a perfect blend to satisfy everyone's tastes while boasting HUGE audience response at shows (which I’ve attended regularly over the last decade!). Nevermind the lyrics, people at shows sing the horn lines now for god's sake! And without a doubt, because the music is so incredibly well arranged and super melodic (the horn section harmonies also kill). Some songs were like religious experiences at shows. They also had amazing stage presence, without ANY gimmicks at all. They come on stage in whatever street clothes and just play the damn music. They are instead recognized for their instruments and their iconic stage formation where the horn section stands upfront. It was very soon after discovering them that I told myself, “this is exactly the kind of thing I want to be a part of, this is the epitome of exactly what I want to listen to and play”. Back in high school, I would daydream all day long about being in the band and playing shows with them, haha. I kept wondering if in the future I would be a part of anything remotely close to what they had achieved. Now here I am with Dog Drive Mantis.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Nothing comes to mind at the moment, but I’m sure we’ve had some bubblin’ folks at shows blurt out random song requests for Nickelback tunes or something haha. 

13. What do you think of your fans?

Love them. We have a handful of really dedicated fans that span out within our neighboring cities, and also some one's way out on the east coast of Canada that we’ve acquired while on tour last summer in 2018. They have been really supportive and active at shows and on social media, which is super dope in helping spread the word.

14. What do you think of our site?

Seems pretty cool! You guys seem to offer a wide range of hard-core and more full energy-based rock. The site is also very organized and easy to navigate. I also like how you keep personalized artist profiles. I got a kick out of the genre “Nintendo-core” haha.

15. Something to add?

Our new single and video ‘Volta’ is out this Sunday August 25th!

Check it out here on our YouTube channel:

Also if you dig that, please check out our other releases.

You can find them on any and every streaming platform. 

And follow our social media to stay in the loop with new music/shows! 


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