Marianas Trench lead guitarist, Matt Webb can hear the howls of protest already. As he prepares to promote the release of his second, Ep, “Right Direction” with a mini tour kicking off in Hamlton March 5th, he knows that cynics will be anticipating a band split just as Marianas Trench come off their most successful year to date, having been acclaimed `Group Of The Year’ at the 2013 Juno Awards.
“I get sick of it sometimes, people complaining `Oh there must be trouble in the band,” bemoaned Webb. “We are family, the `brothers’ have been together since 2001. We would never do anything to appease the integrity of this band.”
After touring for two straight years in support of their 2011 “Ever After” release, band members, lead vocalist and chief songwriter, Josh Ramsey, bassist Mike Ayley , drummer Ian Casselman and Webb took time off to re-group which gave Webb time to sneak off to the studio and lay down tracks to vent his own creativity.
“The band situation is pretty well straight forward. Josh is the band’s lead vocalist and chief songwriter and he is the creative driving force behind the band,” acknowledged Webb. “Josh is an amazing writer. The rest of all contribute little bits here and there, but the bulk of M.T stuff is all his, which is fine because the stuff that I write is not necessarily suitable for M.T. By recording my own Ep, it’s like I’m doing something completely different and throwing our fans a curve ball.
Webb points out that “Right Direction” isn’t his first Ep as he also released a seven-song record, “Coda And Jacket” in 2008. “I just look at these records as another creative outlet for myself,” noted the band’s lead guitarist. “Funny, but nobody said anything when that first one came out. The other guys are fully supportive of my outside efforts. It’s a healthy sign that there’s a lot of creativity going on.”
Certainly, no one was critical of Ramsey when he co-wrote Carly Rae Jepson’s monster hit, `Call Me Maybe’ and Webb himself is hoping for a positive response when he heads out on his first solo tour.
“I can’t hide in the shadows as a guitar player on this tour, I’m going to have to be out front entertaining,” observed Webb. “It’s going to be fun, playing in smaller, intimate clubs with a stripped down production and with the fans right there in front of you. So different from the larger crowds we have been playing in front of where all you see is a sea of faces. This is definitely going to allow for a lot more interaction.”
Call it a bus man’s holiday if you will but Webb is looking forward to a change of pace from all the bustle and excitement that Marianas Trench has generated over the past few years. “Winning the Juno for top Canadian group in 2013 was so amazing and so unexpected, we never saw that coming, reflected Webb. “To achieve that was so rewarding for the group. It culminated what we have achieved over the past few years. Back in the day, we might have sold more records which would have translated into more money for the band. But the flip side is that with all the social media that’s now available, we have more direct access to our fans, we don’t have to spend $50,000 making a video and with stuff like YouTube, twitter and Facebook you can promote yourself really cheaply. Overall, I find the environment of the music industry in Canada is super healthy.”
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With three top-selling records on Nickelback Chad Kroeger’s 604 Records already to their credit, Mariana’s Trench is committed to keeping the ball rolling and Webb reveals that the band will soon be back in the studio working on their next release.
“The guys are working hard in the studio right now and when I finish this tour, I’ll be right back in the studio with them,” informs Webb. “It is great to do something different but I am also looking forward to get back with the guys. We are aiming for something new by the end of this summer and we will be out on the road again soon.”