Mary and the Ram (comprised of Kiran Tanna and Dom Smith) are a post-punk/electronic-rock two-piece band from York, England who are deeply influenced by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Nick Cave’s musical work. They have currently been collaborating with producer John Fryer (who also has worked with Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails), and it definitely seems like Fryer has helped another breakthrough potential band. Dom remarks, “I think Fryer was absolutely a natural choice for us, you know? Both myself and Kiran grew up absolutely loving the stuff that he developed with the likes of Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails.” They really wanted to go all out on these tracks, and they feel generally satisfied by what they made with one of their favourite producers. “We’re not trying to make loads of cash, we’re trying to live out one of our collective…errr, dreams – to create something that we’re both proud of that resonates with a group of people, where we can be creatively free” Dom states.
Personally, I really like Mary And The Ram (MATR). They are very different than any other band in their genre (post-punk and alternative). They have adrenaline-like qualities in all their songs which I have been waiting for some punk band to release. There are some really obvious things (in my opinion) they could definitely improve with, such as making their catchy songs (like The Cross) a little longer and adding more elements to their longer songs (like The Dream). I am really excited for them and I can kind of see where the guys are going with their music, although when do you ever know what’s next? Both the songs I have head so far, ‘The Dream’ and ‘The Cross’, are really appealing and different in all their own way. The Cross was a catchy punk song and The Dream was a hypnotic story with a bad-ass ending. Lets expand on these a bit more now.
First, I will talk about my favourite song out of the two, The Cross. Honestly, the only problem I have with this song is how short it is. From the moment I began listening to these two songs, I felt strongly prefered The Cross. The piano’s catchy-beat (along with the clapping) is like the background of some Typhoon songs, and the vocals are obviously, yet perfectly, Nick Cave-influenced with its static sound. The lyrics are so simple yet cryptic and well written. Similar to the The Dream, the composition and mixing of the bass goes fantastically with the rest of the song and I really can’t stop listening to that combination. According to Kiran, Cross symbolizes something like a struggle to go into somewhere unknown. “You can make of it what you want, but, for me, it’s about a drive, an inevitability, and a crawl into an empty place,” he says. To add to that, it’s also about a faith that both Dom and Kiran struggle to believe in. Kiran explains to me that the song and religion offer “a sort of sacrificial sense to it. You can offer yourself up… And in so doing, you can become more than you are… But we all know how those deals go. You always leave something behind. And does anything really change?” Overall, the song is meant to be “a bite, only a little taste of the collection of songs it announces” I am told.
“There is an empty place,
Beneath a twisted star:
Somewhere I think that you are still alive,
But don’t know where you are.”
And now onto The Dream. This song tells a hypnotic and psychedelic story. For a good part of the track MATR’s singer, Kiran Tanna, tells a story in a similar way to many Nick Cave songs. The story goes on for about 4 minutes, and then (in a Nine Inch Nails kind of way) all hell breaks loose with wailing guitars, drums pounding, and a heavy bass rhythm. I dont think I have come across many songs that tell you a psychedelic story then pounds you with such an adrenaline-provoking jam session that lasts for a good 2 minutes. “The Dream is what is left behind. It’s a hallucination. It’s a prophecy. It’s a warning. And I suppose it’s a love story. I won’t say too much – it probably bests that you come to your own conclusions” Kiran tells me. Just like The Cross, this song is also an introduction to what is still to come, “it’s about things coming around, and going around; about things being multiple, and about time being immaterial… Everything resting on the cusp of change, forever.” Just an FYI, this song was not inspired by an actual dream Kiran had; “maybe a waking dream, it came to me and so I wrote it.”
“I woke up in a strange place last night,
Underneath the snow-white sheets;
A girl with blood red lips,
Was gently kissing me.”
Dom says the media “seems to be responsive, I mean…. we’re are a little weird. It’s dark, spoken word… it’s alt-goth-rock. Accidental goth!” They understand that some won’t be too fond of their work, but people are definitely liking and listening to it. For the people who like and are listening to their music, they are grateful for the support.
“I hope they like it… Or that it upsets them. Or that – at least – they got to dance to it in their bedrooms.” -Kiran said when asked about the media and how they will respond.
Overall, Mary And The Ram seem to not want to be just any other post-punk band (much less another punk band in Europe). They are really intricate and creative, making two totally different songs but still having awesome jam-out sessions and bass riffs.