Last week we sat down with Taylor Scott from Mantis. Mantis is currently preparing for a massive show at TomorrowWorld in their home town of Atlanta for the second year in a row. Taylor Scott and Paul Ollinger, known as Mantis, are a relentless duo. Having begun their musical careers with metal & deathcore, the transition to heavy bass music was not so much a step down in intensity, but a slide into a world with spectacular tools to mix dense layers of music in new ways, and deploy it with force. Mantis was formed in early 2011 to test the boundaries of metal-influenced production, and plunge the result into a wash of haunting atmospheres. Mantis wants to provide “music to make you feel like you’re somewhere else, and you’ve never been more stoked to be there.” I asked Taylor some questions about upcoming releases, how they came up with their name, and what it was like playing at TomorrowWorld.
All of your fans know that you have played in metal band prior to producing dubstep. How has your view of the music industry changed over the years coming into the “EDM” scene over the metal scene?
One thing about the metal scene that I noticed is different is that when you get to the level where you can start releasing albums and singles, you normally only release with one record label. Well, with EDM it’s not like that. You can release an EP with one label, then release a single with another label, then finish another EP with a different label than the other two. So that’s one thing that hit me as being really different. As far as what I think about the EDM scene…What I noticed about metal acts is that they were always content with playing underground shows and never really got this thickness or ego as some EDM artists do now. Right now what’s happening is that DJ’s are the rock stars. Since dubstep/EDM blew up these guys became the new rock stars, not regular rock bands. I think that is what has changed over the years.
How many of the fans you have talked to actually listen to metal as well as dubstep (your music)?
I think the true fans; the big Mantis fans that buy all of our sh*t, I would say about 75% of them are metal heads. What I would consider a true Mantis fan is someone or a group of people that are up front f*cking head banging and just raging. We have fans come up to us and tell us that they love our music because it is a combination of metal and EDM. But you know our true core fans? A good bit of them are into metal.
Where did you come up with the name Mantis?
I wish I had a better story…I wish I had some dope answer, but we were just talking and I always wanted to name a band Mantis, because it just sounds mean. Since that was the kind of music we were going to make, we just went with that.
Who has been you’re favorite artist to tour with and why?
Downlink. For sure. The Downlink and Dieselboy tour was awesome. I love them both but Downlink (Sean) is just the coolest f*cking guy. I mean Dieselboy is awesome and hilarious, and so is Downlink but I really was able to open up to Sean (Downlink) and really have a heart to heart conversation about things we both have gone through in our lives, which I haven’t been able to really open up to many people in this industry. So yeah, Downlink.
Do any other producers influence your style?
Noisia. Even though we sound nothing like them. Their sound production and quality is like…we need to get to that level! Back in the day we really liked Cookie Monsta, Funtcase, 16Bit, those types of acts. But personally I think I am more influenced by genres over just artists.
Have you ever considered working with a popular edm/dubstep vocalist, like Tasha Baxter, or Heather bright like Au5 and Feed Me have?
Dude yeah, of course. I think in the early days we wouldn’t have. See when we first started out we wanted to make Mantis as this brutal orchestral metal type of dubstep, but I know that we can’t always do that to have a future. We have to start progressing to keep this as a lifestyle for us. Like for instance if we put out a track or EP that isn’t the normal Mantis style, people will be like, “WTF? Where’s Mantis!” But it’s like dude we can’t always do that. We have to progress in order to stay alive in this industry. So yeah, of course. Right now we are actually working on something that is…more “four to the floor.” It will definitely have that Mantis style, but yeah we would love to work with a female vocalist.
Would you like to work with a metal band and create a track or two like pendulum did with In Flames? (I mentioned Meshuggah as they are their favorite metal band.)
Yes! Of course! You know the answer to that question. We would love to work with our favorite bands. We have done some remixes for metal bands, including Suicide Silence and In This Moment. I think it would be pretty difficult to get that set up because we have our touring schedule and they have theirs, and then we would have to make time to meet at the same studio and getting everyone together would be very difficult. Anything we can do with any vocalist, or whatever we want to do. We just want to expand our creative minds.
What was is it like performing at TomorrowWorld near your hometown of ATL? Are you going to DJ for your homie Armanni Reign? Maybe throw down some of your featured tunes together?
Yes we played the ATL stage last year and that was dope. I know Armanni Reign has his own DJ, but I actually didn’t think of that before. Maybe we could go up there and perform “Slangin” if he wanted to perform that. That is actually a really good idea. We are going to talk to him about that. That would be really f*cking dope.
Since your visit at Lincoln Hall 2 years ago, you guys have released a few EP’s. Are you working on a full length LP? Any new singles or EP’s in the works?
What do you mean by full length? Like eight tracks. Yeah, no we are working on a four or five track EP. We just released “Slangin’”, “Warmonger,” and “Gods,” and the In This Moment remix. So now we are really focusing on this new EP. It’s going to have the Mantis style but we are going to try something different with this one. The four to the floor song will be on that EP, but I don’t really have any other information about it.
What is the best advice you can offer new aspiring artists?
Basically I will tell you what we did. When we started it was a different time though. Basically all you had to do was have dope f*cking music. But now, so many people have dope music but they really can’t seem to get booked. You really have to do everything you can to promote your music. I mean people sometimes just put a song up on Soundcloud and that’s it. You really have to work hard and maybe even go on the social sites and pay for a sponsored ad for like $100 just to get your music heard. Make friends with other producers and get them to listen to your music. You really have to work at it since there are so many acts out there and everyone has heard everything. There isn’t a trick, like go out there and just do this. You really have to work at it. Hard work pays off.
We would really like to thank Taylor from Mantis for such a great interview. It’s really easy to see that these guys from Mantis are pushing hard to be as creative as possible. They want to keep their hard Mantis style but you can also tell they want to progress their genre and push it to the limit. You can check out any new music from Mantis on their Facebook, or Soundcloud pages. Don’t forget to check them out at TomorrowWorld on the ‘All Your Bass Are Belong To Us’ stage at 1pm-2pm on Sunday!