Music should not be exclusive. It should be inclusive. Which is great that all these cool bands from the NWOBHM still area around or reform because that means that those young to metal can go back and see where it all started, like with MYTHRA. Answers by Vince High, John Roach and Alex Perry. Anders Ekdahl
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you?
Vince High: It was our guitarist John who came up with the name. We wanted something short but memorable. I was in Rome last year and visited some Mithraic remains from the first century AD. An awesome experience touching something that is almost 2,000 years old…and linked to your band’s name!
John Roach: I have always been fascinated by religions and science fiction. When our original bass player Pete Melsom and I were at school, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey was out and everyone knows the theme tune ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ – I thought it would be cool to call our fledgling band Zarathustra. Nobody could say it properly so the hunt was on for another more catchy name. Now Zarathustra Spitama was the founder of Zoroastrianism and my readings as a youngster had it that Mithras was the deity who held the balance between dark and light, night and day, good and evil. This fascinated me so I dropped the s and changed the i for a y and there you go….Mythra.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have?
Vince: The band was formed in 1978 and is influenced by the heavy rock/metal bands of that decade including Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, UFO, Scorpions, Judas Priest. We started out playing covers of songs by these bands but very soon progressed to writing our own material. I was also influenced by the Punk Rock bands that emerged in the UK around 1975 and in particular The Clash. I loved their energy, attitude and self determination.
John: I can’t argue with Vince but would add Slade, Humble Pie (who our band member Maurice introduced me to), plus Ted Nugent and Focus.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
Vince: We have two songs in our set which have slow passages i.e. ‘Machine’ and ‘Together Forever’. They both have stripped back guitar introductions which provide a great contrast to the full on energy of the rest of songs in our live shows. Light and shade! It all helps to build atmosphere and intensity into our overall show.
John: Slow is exposed – once you get used to that and are comfortable then you can enjoy the exposure. It’s all about the contrast.
Alex Perry: Arrangements for the slower song tend to have “longer” musical passages whereas the faster more aggressive rhythms tend to be shorter and more punchy, at present no Mythra song is “slow” all the way through but that could change as we continue to write.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
Vince: Our music definitely works well live in both settings! Back in the day we played massive gigs such as Motorhead’s Heavy Metal Barn Dance at Stafford Bingley Hall in July 1980 as well as many Club gigs. This time around we have recently been playing all 18 tracks from our latest album in our live Club gigs which combine to make a blistering 80 minute set! Our music still works equally well however in bigger settings such as BROFEST UK, where we played last year and went down a storm. Likewise we are looking forward to playing KEEP IT TRUE Festival in Germany at the end of April which will have a sell out crowd of well over 2,000 heavy rock/metal fans. Can’t wait to be up there that stage the atmosphere will be electric!
John: Our music is written to be played live. On a bigger stage there is more room to create a show, but smaller venues are more intimate so there is merit in playing both types of venue.
Everybody seem to be disappointed with something once they have released a recording. What would you have liked done differently the last time around?
Vince: Personally I wouldn’t do anything differently. We recorded our first 4 track EP back in 1979 in a small studio in just one 12 hour session and here we are 37 years later and the fans still love that recording. The rawness, the energy, it’s all there and we kept that feel throughout all of our early recordings. This time around too we recorded the five brand new tracks on our new album in just one day. We have had the same positive feedback from fans who love the sheer power we capture in our recordings!
John: Totally agree with Vince – we have captured the energy of what we do every time, that’s because we have never faked it we just do what comes natural to us!
Is it hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
Vince: We communicate with our fans worldwide through social media now and it’s incredible. We have a Mythra Facebook page and the individual band members have their own pages too. We are communicating with people on a daily basis and it’s awesome. We are signed with Gabriel Management EU and our news goes out through their website and social media links too. There’s also a lot of Internet radio stations worldwide that we’ve broadcast with plus interviews such as this which are also very important in enabling us to connect so thank you for this opportunity too.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
Vince: The reaction from fans when our ‘Warriors Of Time: Anthology’ album artwork was launched prior to release last November was phenomenal. The fans absolutely love it so for me Bart Gabriel at SKOL RECORDS got it absolutely right in commissioning Italian artist Roberto Toderico to create the album cover. It looks exciting, is very dynamic and got great colour too. All you would want in an album cover. These guys know what they are doing in creating the imagery to complement our music and we thank them for it!
John: We know that artwork is very popular in our genre of music and band photos less so. So the imagery is very important – the more mysterious the better for me.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for music in your country?
Vince: We are part of the original set of bands that recorded and released music in 1979 which became known as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). There’s still a lot of interest in the genre from original fans and younger ones alike which is awesome.
What does the future hold?
Vince: The vinyl edition of our album is released on High Roller Records in the form of a double album on 29 April to coincide with our appearance at Keep It True. More gigs over the summer including Der Detze Rockt in Germany in June. Then more writing and recording for a future release before continuing with gigs into 2017.
John: The future is very bright for us there is a thriving global metal scene that we’re very proud to be a part of.