Interview with Lars Larsen – Manticora

First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to me and for letting our readers know more about MANTICORA and what is in the future for the band.

No problem at all, Mia. It’s my pleasure.

MANTICORA has recently been on a European headline tour. Could you let us know, in a few words if you could, what your experience has been?

It was a little bit of ups and downs. Some shows went quite well, and at other shows, a bit more audience would have been great. Overall, it was very cool though. Tight playing and a great delivery of the new material at all shows. Die-hard fans at most venues, making it more fun to play.

MANTICORA are playing some festivals during this summer. Could you let our fellow readers know where they will be able to see you live this summer/autumn?

We’ve been booked for the following festivals: Copenhell/Denmark, Dokk’em Open Air/Netherlands, Wacken Open Air/Germany and Evoken Fest/Japan.
After the last show in Japan, there’ll be no more live shows in 2019, as we’re focusing the rest of the year on fine-tuning the upcoming album.

MANTICORA is far from new to the metal scene, but why do you think there is such an explosive interest in your band at the moment?

Explosive might be a small exaggeration, but I do believe that we’ve kept up the consistency of delivering good albums and high-octane live shows and no matter how many other bands have thrown in the towel and broken up, we have kept up the hard work and taken the good with the bad, so to speak. The north American tour we did last fall, cost us shitloads of money and there are a lot of activities within such a band as ours, that just cost you money all the time. But we consider it an investement, so that bookers, agents, festival bosses etc., get the name shoved in their faces all the time, and it looks like the never-ending efforts are beginning to pay off.

MANTICORA´s latest album release To kill to live to kill was based on the book you wrote with the same name. Do you personally think the interest for the band has to do with your release o the book?

Nah, I would be a complete bastard if I claimed all the attention, just because of the book. It has of course helped that we have actually done something larger than anyone has ever done before in Danish music history. People do notice something like that (now we just need the generel press to actually open their eyes), but I think all the amazing reviews we had on the music of this album helped a lot, as well as the release of the book and the fact that we took absolutely no shortcuts, be it production, cover artwork, set-up, video or any of the other aspects around the release. If you deliver a top-notch product, you tend to get the best reaction.

Could you let our fellow readers know what the process was to write the music for To kill to live to kill? Because I can understand that the book has been in the making for quite some time. Was the music a natural part of it, or did the music come to life after the book was already written?

The initial idea was to base the next album(s) on the story I had, brewing on my computer. Kristian and I decided (on a summer morning, after a LOT of gin) to give it a go with this concept after talking for several hours about the future of the band. I told him, I had begun developing a book, from writing away some issues I had), and that we could actually do a pretty amazing concept double album, if we had the balls for it. Kristian immediately said: “No dealines, Lars! I don’t want any kind of label, telling us to have this part ready in 2 months, and that part ready in 6 months, or else I am out of this project. I finally want the time we need to make everything perfect for us to say that we delievered 100%”, and we shook hands on finally making an album where we took as much time as we wanted to write the whole thing, even if it’d take 10 years (it ended up, taking 4 years).
So from the beginning, the book and the music were developed at the same time, meaning that they influenced each other all along the way. Of course the book was the medium that dictated the music on an 80/20% scale (which was also the case on our “Black Circus” albums), but I did have to re-write some stuff in the book at certain occasions, when a certain riff just screamed for changes in the writing. I think I finished the book (and began translating it into English), when we were 75% done with the music, so it has been a process of writing both products at the same time.

Have the other members of MANTICORA been a part of To kill to live to kill? Or was this a “one man project” of yours?

I think the answer above says it all. Everyone have been a part of the process, although I did the actual writing of the book myself. However, the guys actually took some decisions for me in the story-line, as I also wanted them to be as involved in the book as possible.

Will there be a sequel? To live to kill 2 (too) Album or/and book?

We’re right now working on the 2nd part of the album (it was meant as a 2-album concept from the beginning – we even talked about doing a triple-album concept), so we expect a release in 2020 as we already wrote the 2nd album when we did the first. A release where we can close the story on a musical level. The book is final and there won’t be a follow-up on that one. So album one is about the first half of the book and album 2 is about the last part of the book.

Regarding Manticora, where do you see the band heading? Where do you think/hope you will be in 3 years? 5 Years?

As all other bands, the aim is to live off the music and that’s what we’re working on, but if it ever happens, is another story that takes place in the land of near-utopia. It depends on so many things and outside factors that it’s not even in our own hands. What I know is that we’re continuing as long as we’re having fun, doing what we’re doing, and even if the last year has brought us some extremely stressful situations and a few buckets of lukewarm bullshit, the light at the end of the tunnel could be closer than we think and the fun times within the band have never ceased, no matter how dark the future might have looked at some points.

As stated earlies you have some live shows coming up in the near future in different festival scenes. Any plans for another headline tour with MANTICORA in the near future?

Nope. We won’t be touring until after the second part has been released (at least that’s not the plan).

Will there be any changes in your live lineup in your upcoming shows? We have seen bassplayer Kasper Gram and drummer Danni Jelsgaard associated with MANTICORA lately. Are they both a part of your live lineup in your upcoming shows?

Kasper is a steady part of the live line-up and he’ll most likely also be part of the fine-tuning of the new material, which he’ll be recording as well when time comes for that. Danni was hired to do the European tour and he also played with us at Karmøygeddon in Norway in May, but we’re using Lawrence Dinamarca as our live drummer now (the guy, who recorded the drums on the first part of this concept). He’s a beast on those drums and lifts the band to another level, when he’s behind the drumkit. Manticora has never sounded better in the 22 years, we’ve existed as a band!!
Lawrence will also be recording the drums on the new album, so it’s natural for us to use him as much as possible for our live shows, to keep him updated on the style of music we want him to play.

Thank you so much for your time, Lars. Do you have any other comments or statements for our fellow readers?

No problem at all – thanks for the intie..:-)
To all the readers: See you at frontrow, when we play those summer festivals. You don’t wanna miss this!


To Kill To Live To Kill (2018)
Safe (2010)
The Black Circus Part 2: Disclosure (2007)
The Black Circus Part 1: Letters (2006)
8 Deadly Sins (2004)
Hyperion (2002)
Darkness with Tales to Tell (2001)
Roots of Eternity (1999)
Dead End Solution EP (1997)

Current Line-Up:

Lars Larsen
Kristian Larsen
Stefan Johansson
Sebastian Andersen
Lawrence Dinamarca
(Kasper Gram)

Mia Hall
About Mia Hall 62 Articles
Music is my passion and has always been a huge part of my life, both performing and listening.

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