BONDS OF MARA: Canada's Great New Rock Hope
To make a great stew full of rich, savory flavour, you have to have the right mix of ingredients, spices and chunks of meat. Same can be said for a great rock band, and BONDS OF MARA certainly qualifies. Since coming together less than a year ago, BONDS OF MARA have hit the charts twice, first with their debut single, “Lights Out,” and now with their follow-up, “Killed the Love,” which you can hear in rotation on 97.7 HTZ-FM. Formed by members of My Darkest Days, Default, Hail The Villain and Sons of Butcher, BONDS OF MARA is a band tailor made for mass consumption by rock fans hungry for big chunky hooks, spicy grooves and raw intensity. With two local shows on the horizon – February 26th at Hamilton’s Casbah nightclub and again March 4th at Willie John’s Big Easy in Niagara Falls, Bonds of Mara (Sal Costa, Dave Benedict, Bryan Crouch and Daryl Ralph) are winning fans the old school way – one show at a time. Former Default bassist Dave Benedict took time out to chat with GoBeWeekly about their new project and tour.
GoBe: What’s the initial meeting like when a group of musicians from successful bands come together. What’s the first thing you determine in those meetings? Musical direction? Songwriting? Make-up or no make-up J? How calculated is that first discussion?
Dave: When we first talked about this project we talked a lot about our influences, the state of music and what kind of a voice we wanted to have in it. It was very important to us that we be exactly who we are and not try to fit some kind of mould. We just want to make music that we like and not to conform to any genre or style. Just let us be us and let it all come out naturally. That was how we approached the songwriting when we first sat down together. No one had anything solid. We just started jamming together and ideas just started to pour out of us. In three days we had 10 ideas that we cut down to 3 solid songs.
GoBe: Was there conscious attempt to avoid creating something that sounded too much like Default or MDD or HTV? Or did you just jam and let the music develop organically
DAVE: Those bands are us as individuals, so I think there will always be a tiny element in the music, but none of us intentionally go into a song thinking it needs to sound like any band. As musicians and artists we want to branch out and do different things and challenge ourselves. We want this band to have its own identity. We are all very proud of the things we did in our previous bands but we want BOM to stand on its own legs and for people to forget where we came from and just talk about what we are doing now and how great and different this music is.
GoBe: There seems to be a lesson in the new video for KILLED THE LOVE; “be careful what you wish for.” Was that a lesson someone in the band learned the hard way?
DAVE: I think everyone can relate to the story in some way. We have all wanted something so bad in life. The forbidden fruit let's say, to only realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side and sometimes works out to be worse than your current situation. It could be a job, relationship or where we live. As far as this particular story goes... I'm going to leave that one as a mystery. Maybe, maybe not
GoBe: Bonds of Mara is a unique band name; what’s the origin?
DAVE: So Sal was reading a Buddhist scripture called the Dhammapada and came across a line which said, "there will be no salvation for those under the bonds of Mara." Curious about the passage he looked up what this meant, and he found a story about a demon named Mara who tried to tempt the Buddha into doing bad things. The Buddha stayed the path and found enlightenment. In modern day, "Mara" can be defined as our minds trying to work against us. It's something we all face and deal with so we thought it was very fitting as our band name.
GoBe: How stoked are band members over the great reaction to the music?
DAVE: It has been fantastic. When you put yourself out there for the world to judge it can be a very vulnerable and intimidating situation. So when you receive positive feedback and people genuinely like it outside of your mom telling you your great, it's all you can ask for as artist
GoBe: All the gloom and doom types continue to claim rock is dying; when you’re forming a kick-ass rock band like Bonds of Mara, do you use that as inspiration to prove them all wrong?
DAVE: I think that has always been a driving force for all of us. The “don't tell me I can't do something mentality” is in us all. Especially when it comes to something we are so passionate about. Something that we have all been talking about lately is resistance and not to fight what or who you are. We are music lovers of all genres, but at our core we are rock and roll and we are not trying to chase any trends. Good music will always find a way to grow out of the most volatile situations. We are perfectly fine being a prickly weed in a bed of tulips
GoBe: There’s a business end to making music: what’s the business plan for the band. What’s the short term and long-term goals you’ve all agreed upon.
DAVE: The short term goal is to work on more music to make an album’s worth of material. The long term goal is to keep this train rolling for a long time and make people talk about BOM and the music and not where we have all individually come from. Once again, we are all extremely proud of our musical paths, but what is important for us is that people talk about the music and not the individuals
Gobe: For fans coming to the show in St. Catharines, what can we expect from the band?
DAVE: An entertaining energetic evening with your favorite new band 🤘
Check out the new BONDS OF MARA single, Killed The Love, here: https://youtu.be/C2Av6jJm034
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