Mary And The Ram is the studio project of Viaperperformance founder Kiran Tanna (vocals, guitars, keyboards, and programming) and Dom Smith from Seep Away on drums. The duo have returned after a couple of years away so we caught up with them to find out what their future plans look like.
Give us a potted history of Mary and The Ram
We’re a studio project made up of Kiran Tanna and Dom Smith. We’ve both had busy lives in the arts and particularly music and contemporary theatre, and we both play in other bands – sometimes the same ones. We met in York, UK and we still work between York and Hull, on the coast. Kiran is on vocals, guitars, keys, and production, and outside of MATR he’s a writer and composer who works mainly in the performing arts. Dom is on drums and production too, as well as all our outreach and management. He has a background in media in music, and he runs a successful music magazine. We’re in the process of drip-feeding tracks that will eventually be collected together as an album – but it’s 2022 so it seems sensible to release them one at a time. The work is a little different to our previous material, but it’s got similar energy and it comes from the same sort of place: it’s moody and mournful but occasionally aggressive, and it’s got a bit of an occult edge. Our previous releases have done pretty well, and we’ve picked up a sweet following to whom we’re eternally thankful. Better known tracks include The Cross and Eclipse.
Who inspired you to start making music
We both have broad tastes but back in the day we bonded over a love of Nine Inch Nails, old school Marilyn Manson and most Maynard James Keenan projects. In other genres, we’re also big fans of Infected Mushroom, Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares and Autechre, and so on. Kiran’s a huge Bowie fan like lots of people, he loves Nick Cave and Tom Waits and his favourite band you might not have heard of is Petreol Hoers. He loves Iron Maiden, but Dom does not, as well as a whole lot of hip hop. We’re also both big fans of Clutch, though we sound nothing like them.
And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically
The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails as if you can’t tell. I’ll [Kiran] never escape those layers of noise: Reznor taught me about symphony and dissonance and catharsis and so on. Also Real Gone by Tom Waits: it changed my attitude to vocals and made me realise I could actually sing.
If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say
Nick Cave getting hot with Trent Reznor in the toilets of a Lou Reed concert.
Tell us about your new track single
Black Cat And Staircase is the first one we’ve done completely in house – except some of the drum recording which took place at Young Thugs in York. The rest is just us for once. In the past we’ve worked with some excellent people in the industry, like John Fryer, Dave Ogilvie, Kallie Marie, and Howie Weinberg.
Where can we get hold of it
Bandcamp at the moment; Spotify soon we presume.
Tell us how you write
We have a concept, sometimes sonic and other times lyrical, then we record a shedload of separate drums and synth and guitars. Then we sit down with all that stuff and comb through it and stitch it together. Then we re-record where we need to. It’s different for different tracks but it’s safe to say we don’t start with verse chorus verse and some chords. Our secret is that we’re not very good at that, haha.
Tell us about your live show and how much have you been missing it recently
Mary and The Ram don’t tend to perform live, although we sometimes drop MATR material into our other live shows, which we tour as The THING. The THING is a roving ensemble, but Dom and I are constant members. MATR might start doing live in 2023. People keep trying to book us so that’s promising. For now, though, we’re studio based. I [ Kiran] personally love being on the road, though I do have to balance it with being at home with my cat (who features in the track art for this release actually).
What can we expect from you in the near future
A series of track drops going into autumn 2022 and then 2023. Imagine an album released over two years. Not all instrumental, but more instrumentals than our previous material in general. Dark and loud and responding to our fears, as usual.
Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones / tour bus / stereo
Right now, I’m listening to Killer Mike’s R.A.P Music. I’ve had a bunch of Outkast on blast too. In the car I tend to revert to Classic FM or soundtracks: lately I’ve been revisiting a totally normal mix of Rachmaninoff and Mick Gordon’s amazing OST for DOOM Eternal.
Find out more via the band’s Facebook
Check out the band’s track Eclipse, below: