Q&A with Band of Rascals’ drummer Marcus Manhas

Band of Rascals (Photo Credit: Brian Van Wyk)

Band of Rascals is a four-piece rock group based out of Victoria, BC. They formed in 2013 and last week they released their latest EP, Tempest, on Oct. 13. It was recorded at the iconic studio, The Warehouse, by famed producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Arkells, Monster Truck). Tempest is the follow up to 2014’s self-titled debut EP and contains six new heart pumping tracks including the new single, Holler.

Band of Rascals are Sam Trainor on vocals, Malcom Owen-Flood on lead guitar and backing vocals, Sean Marcy on bass and backing vocals and Marcus Manhas on drums and backing vocals.

Band of Rascals is currently on tour in Western Canada and will hopefully be making their way across the nation. In the meantime, Music Life Magazine caught up with Marcus Manhas to find out who these Rascals are.

MLM – How and when did you guys form and where are you based out of?

Marcus Manhas – Malcom and I have known each other for quite a while and we actually used to play covers together in my garage when we were about 11 or 12. We lost touch until he messaged me one day in May of 2013 asking if I wanted to jam and play some rock for fun – and that was pretty much it. He brought Sam; and I brought a bassist to form Band of Rascals. We’re currently based out of Victoria, BC.

MLM – Is there a meaning behind the band name Band of Rascals?

Marcus Manhas – That’s a funny story actually. We got booked for a gig a couple months into jamming, and this project didn’t have a name yet. It was between that and a couple other awful names. We figured we could change it after the gig if we wanted to but it caught on and now we’re stuck with it – although it is pretty fitting and we’ve all grown to like it.

MLM – On October 13 you released your latest EP Tempest which was recorded and produced by Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Arkells, Monster Truck) at Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios. How did you hook up with Ratz? Did you work with him on your debut self-titled EP in 2014?

Marcus Manhas – When we were in the final writing stages of the album, our management asked us to come up with a list of producers we thought would be a good fit. We really liked what Eric did with Monster Truck and Billy Talent so we threw him on the list as a sort of “dream producer” if you will. It ended up working out and we’re so stoked on the final product. Our first EP was actually produced by Malcom and the rest of the band, it was more DIY. Tempest is our first project with Eric.

MLM – Why the gap from 2014 to now to release your second EP? What has happened with you guys as far as touring, promotion, etc. in the last few years?

Marcus Manhas – We really just wanted to take our time with the writing and we wanted to make sure the project was done right. We did a ton of touring and played a lot of festivals in that gap as well, which was really important for our song-writing and for figuring out how the songs translated live. It was also good to really build a solid fan base to release this album to.

Band of Rascals (Photo Credit: Brian Van Wyk)

MLM – How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard Band of Rascals?

Marcus Manhas – We’ve sort of been given the genre “Nuts and Bolts Rock ‘n’ Roll” so that’s the easiest way to describe it. It’s rock with a bit of a southern influence at times and also a bit of a modern taste. We’ve got some harder rocking stuff and then some acoustic ballad type songs as well. It’s a good mix!

MLM – Do you guys all contribute to the writing?

Marcus Manhas – It always changes, but Sam mainly takes the lyrics duty. We all contribute on melody and the song structure itself is a group effort. We’re all involved in the actual building of the song and I feel like that’s a good way for us to make sure we’re making strong decisions.

MLM – How are your writing skills or song topics different from the first EP to Tempest? Is there a difference? Do you feel you have grown as a band and as writers? Do you have particular topics you write about?

Marcus Manhas – I think some of the topics are similar to the first EP but our writing has matured a lot since then. We have a better idea of what we want out of a song and how it’ll translate when we play it live. We’re also done a lot of growing as a band and I think that shows in both our live perfomances and writing. We basically just write about things that happen to us everyday and that keeps us honest. It’s easier to create a story when you’ve lived it!

MLM – “Holler” is the first single off Tempest. What can you tell me about that song? Why was “Holler” chosen as the first single?

Marcus Manhas – “Holler” is my personal favourite off the EP and it’s a really fun one to play live. It’s loosely written about a relationship and it’s a song that we can all relate to as a band. It was chosen as the first single because we were all really excited about it in particular. It was unanimously decided that it was one of the strongest on the EP and I think it was a good choice to introduce people to our new EP.

MLM – What other Canadian artist or artists excite you or inspire you? Who are you listening to now?

Marcus Manhas – Arkells are always a huge one for us, especially working with Eric. It’s a never-ending list but some other big ones that inspire us are Big Wreck, Sam Roberts Band, July Talk, Monster Truck, Current Swell, and DFA. I used to be a huge DFA fan when I was younger and I’m stoked that they’re back and putting out great music. Currently listening to most of those bands listed above, Nothing but Thieves’ new record and the new Noah Gundersen record.

MLM – Band of Rascals is touring most of October and into November out West. Are there plans to tour the rest of Canada? When and where?

Marcus Manhas – There are plans in the works right now but I don’t think I’m allowed to spill the beans just yet! We’re definitely stoked to get back out east. All our dates will be on our website and we should be announcing something soon!

MLM – What about outside of Canada for releases or tours? Is there a place or country you would love to play or go on tour?

Marcus Manhas – We’d love to play outside Canada. Canada is great and really supportive but the drive distances are a killer sometimes. I really want to tour Europe and we’ve put the bug in some ears about that so who knows. We were chatting with Brando from Monster Truck at Rifflandia this year and he pretty much convinced us that Europe is the place – so we can’t wait to get there! We’d also love to tour Australia because who doesn’t want sun and some surf on days off?

MLM – If you could name any song by any artist you wish YOU wrote, what song would that be and why?

Marcus Manhas – That is the hardest question I’ve ever been asked… 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon. One of the greatest of all time.

MLM – If there is anything you want to add or say, please feel free to do so. Thanks for your time!

Marcus Manhas – Thanks so much for the interview! We’re always stoked to be able to talk about the EP and what’s going on in our world. Thanks to everyone for the support and we’ll see you soon!

To find out more on Band of Rascals and their tour connect with them online:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/bandofrascals
Website: https://www.bandofrascalsmusic.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bandofrascals
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bandofrascals
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/bandofrascals
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2vsVYUH



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