New Release – Between The Lies (album) by MantraRay

New Release – Between The Lies (album) by MantraRay

MantraRay are two long-time friends, Trevor Brill and Billy Raymond-Barker. Trevor lives in Cardiff, South Wales and Billy lives in Brixham, Devon. Back in the 90’s, Trev and Billy worked together in London and were part of a five-piece band gigging around the London pub circuit, Billy on guitar and Trev on the drums. Then life got in the way, children were born and the band went their separate ways. Fast forward thirty years and the boys, are back! The magic of electronic file transfers has made their collaboration a reality despite the geographical separation.

Their music covers a variety of genres but is mostly filed under Alt Rock. Musical influences include the Manic Street Preachers, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Super Furry Animals, The Cure, Rush and Stone Temple Pilots. Their lyrics often reflect the emotional turmoil existing within personal relationships, grief, loss, love, sex as well as events such as 9/11 and the war in Ukraine.

After a lot of discussions around practicalities, the band are unlikely to play live gigs and will concentrate on sharing new music online. The second album ‘Between the Lies’ is released on December 1st and they continue to live the message “Enjoy yourselves, it’s later than you think……..but never too late!”

What are the songs about?

“Track 1: ‘Rockstar’ – a song about fading away from when you were on top of the world. From the famous footballers to the Top Dog in your local boozer – always someone younger to take your crown. A real singalong chorus.”

“Track 2: ‘My Broken Heart’ – written a few years ago when both of us were going through breakups. A really catchy riff belies the pain inside.”

“Track 3: ‘Filthy’ – written about the way our politicians treat us as fools, continually lying, cheating and filling their own pockets at our expense. Another rocking track.”

“Track 4: ‘Plush’ – a cover of the Stone Temple Pilots song that stays true to the original version. We have loved this song since we first heard it back in 1994 and is the only cover we have ever recorded.”

“Track 5: ‘The Devil You Know’ – a dreamy soundscape to this track which is about the struggle to leave a relationship that you know is failing.”

“Track 6: ‘Interlude’ – a short acoustic number about the futility of war which leads nicely into….”

“Track 7: ‘Sunflowers’ – previously released as a single, the song is about the war in Ukraine, specifically referring to a brave woman who gave sunflower seeds to a Russian soldier, telling him that at least something good would grow from his death on Ukrainian soil. The track was produced by Joe Adhemar who also played piano and provided backing vocals on the track.”

“Track 8: ‘Kaleidoscope’ – a moody groove with low strings, beating drums and great drops, the song is about seizing the day, living life while you can.”

“Track 9: ‘Cuts Too Deep’ – a sad song about a man on the verge of suicide, waiting for the love of his life to save him. A beautiful, haunting ballad that builds to a crescendo.”

“Track 10: ‘Forever Your Pleasure’ – our first single release, an absolute banger mixed by Invisible Squirrel. A song about wanting to please your partner.”

“Track 11: ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ – starts off with a reggae vibe before morphing into more familiar rock pop territory. A song about self discovery.”

“Track 12: ‘Lazy Days’ – a previously released single, pure and simple a cheesy, summer holiday pop song. Inspired by the likes of Benidorm and Duty Free, it’s about wanting to stay on holiday forever and never return to the daily grind.”

“Track 13: ‘Just Like The Sun’– another previous single release, a hypnotic electronic pulse runs through the synth based track. A song that questions the aesthetics of conventional beauty.”

“Track 14: ‘Grown’ – a short acoustic track to close the album, written for our grown up children and a reminder of how quickly childhood passes.”

Is there a story behind the cover artwork?

“Many of the song lyrics reflect a theme of failing trust, between partners, family, friends, those in power etc. This theme lent itself to agreeing the title of the album as ‘Between The Lies’. With that title, we initially felt that the album cover could feature quotes relating to the danger of telling lies and their potentially devastating consequences….this led us onto the spilt glass of wine and burnt paper being symbolic of the damage caused. After a quick Internet search, Billy wrote some quotes on a notepad, used his Ikea occasional side table as the background, used a candle lighter to singe the paper (trying to blow out the flames before they destroyed the paper entirely) and uncorked a bottle of red wine to create the spillage. At one point the glass rolled off the table and deposited the wine onto a white shagpile rug…..fortunately cleaning products were at hand!”

“All of the CD artwork was photographed, processed and laid out by Billy.”

What are you hoping to achieve with this release?

“Everything and nothing! It has been our ambition to have a physical release, something we can hold in our hand, something that will exist long after we have passed, something of ourselves to leave for our children…so even if no-one else wants to hear it, we will have achieved our aim. Whilst creating and releasing an album goes against a lot of conventional advice to simply release singles “for traction”, we have done this album for ourselves. We have no label or management and it is entirely self-funded.”

“However, that said, of course we want others to hear and enjoy our music. As we are fortunate enough to not need to make money from our music, we will be donating any profits from Bandcamp sales to the Mind, Body & Sole charity for mental health. Hopefully our promotion efforts will bear fruit and once people start to hear the songs, word of mouth will increase sales. This is where the “everything” part comes in, because we want people with “reach” to know about and tell others about our new album. We want to achieve physical sales of 100 units (which will be amazing as an unknown, non-gigging band) as that will result in a hefty donation to Mind, Body & Sole…it’s important to us that we help others when we have the opportunity to do so.”

Where was it recorded and mixed?

“All songs were recorded in Billy’s home studio in Brixham, Devon. They were produced, mixed and mastered by Billy in the home studio except track 3 ‘Filthy’ and track 7 ‘Sunflowers’ which were produced, mixed and mastered by Joe Adhemar and track 10 ‘Forever Your Pleasure’ which was produced, mixed and mastered by Invisible Squirrel (Joe’s alter ego).”

Pre-order link for Bandcamp. Presave link for Spotify.


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