We had a conversation with Jorge (Bass).Enjoy!
Welcome to the FILTHY DOGS OF METAL Webzine.
1. Tell us a few things about MANDRAGORA (Members, Starting Year etc).
Jorge Mandrágora: Hi FDM, thanks for the interview. Mandrágora begins as a personal project in 2005 (more or less), in the city of Nuevo Chimbote - Peru, and the need to make own subjects.
I already played in a couple of Heavy Metal cover groups (Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, etc.), but I felt it was time to make my own music.
So I started the process of finding musicians to accompany me on this adventure. In the beginning I shared the dream with my friend Marko Millhouse. With it the creative process began in parks, with a lot of rum and pisco, with acoustic guitars and with informal guests.
This lasted, perhaps, a couple of years.
Already for 2007 we had a formal alignment: Pablo Campana (Guitar), Angel Plato (Guitar), Chino Beto (Drums), Jorge Mandrágora (Bass) and Fatima Natthammer (Voice). Millhouse would definitely leave the project days before the band's first official presentation.
With this alignment we recorded an EP demo: Return to Metal. Two themes, in a more melodic wave.
After a few years, there was a second change in alignment and musical orientation. We hardened the sound (Maybe because of our new influences much more NWOBHM and Japanese bands like Hellhound and Metalucifer).
We would record the first demo tape: Steel Metal: Herman Roll (Guitar), Carlos Cazanova (Guitar), Giorgio Raven (Drums), Fatima Natthammer (Voice) and Jorge Mandrágora (Bass).
With this alignment we were able to travel for the first time in the country.
Then we met our great friend Lucho Palomino, who became our manager / producer and we recorded our first EP, in vinyl format: First Attack and then the CD: Waves of Steel.
With this came the 3rd generational change: Herman Roll (Guitar), Paulo Roquett (Guitar), Abel (Drums), Fatima Natthammer (Voice) and Jorge Mandrágora (Bass).
We had the opportunity at this time to play and support great bands, of which there were only seen on vhs and dvd: Doro Pesch, Satan, Accept, Enforcer, Massacre, Nervosa, Apokalyptic Raids, Pentagram.
And we had the opportunity to leave outside Peru and reach Ecuador and Brazil (Open the Road festival - open air).
Finally Mandrágora made the last change on the chess board, which is the current lineup:
Herman Roll (Guitar), Paulo Roquett (Guitar), Jorge Mandrágora (Bass), Giorgio Raven (Drums) and María Orithya (Voice).
We have just launched a Split (with Hyena, also from Peru) entitled: Bite of Steel.
We also visited Chile: Evil Confrontation Fest and shared the stage with Angel Witch, Triptykon, Demolition Hammer and Dead Lord, and a couple of weeks ago we returned to Peru after doing two dates in Ecuador, promoting our Split.
2. You have recently released your new Split album with HYENA ''Bite Of Steel''. What is the Feedback from your audience as well as from the Press?
Very good! The audience was expectant for some time.. I already expected our music with Maria in her voice.
Last year we had released only one single: Never Surrender, but now we have much more new music.
This Split is a musical preview of what will be the next album we will record next year.
The press is happily giving a positive view of our work. We hope to have much more momentum as the months go by.
At the moment we have the Split for sale and we are focused on promoting all our music.
3. Label or DIY and why?
Wow, I think both have their advantages. As Blaze Bayley says, being independent is the best. You are not accountable to anyone and you work in the best way, without pressure and music is honest.
But it is also true that there are labels, such as Inferno Records (Fra), which was our label that launched our CD Waves os Steel, which are spectacular people.
Fabien is a really cool guy and he let us work and gave us all the facilities as label boss.
I think that to start it is good to be independent, so your music takes shape in the way that only you, as a musician, you like.
You form the character of the band and create your own parameters, so when a label appears, it cannot dominate you with any absurd rule or manipulative tendency.
4. Do you prefer Vinyl, Tape, CD or Digital Format and why is that?
Wow! Hahaha. I really prefer everyone, hahaha. I explain.
I feel that vinyl is the best format of all, from the visual, its sound, presentation, its history and what it means.
The tape is part of my musical history. Having been able to record music in tapes, our own demo on Tape demo gives this format a special feeling.
The Cd is part of the current presentation, it is inevitable to participate in this format (Although I would prefer the vinyl).
The digital format is inevitable. We like it or we are not part of the generational change. Much of the current audience does not buy CDs.
The vinyls and tapes are part of a vintage collection, but maybe just that. We sincerely accept this fact and adapt if we do not want to perish commercially.
Even so, I welcome the fact that the underground scene has created its parallel market. It is part of the nature of Heavy Metal to resist and I am proud of that.
I finally believe that it is an emotional conflict between what I would like and what is currently necessary to use. With Mandrágora we try to balance all that.
Therefore, while we release CD and Digipak formats, we also launch on tape and Vinyl. We are part of the change but we respect the tradition.
5. Your music style is Heavy Metal. Which are your main influences (Favourite Artists / Bands etc.)
Uhm, they always ask us that and I always think a little before answering. Is that I try to differentiate the personal influences of each member and the influences that if they are related to the band, hahaha.
I think a top would be: Iron Maiden (Dianno, Dickinson, Blaze. Each era is simply spectacular and contributes differently to the band), Aria, Tank, Saxon, Megadeth, Running Wild, Judas Priest, Accept, Riot, Metalucifer; and Dio of course.
I think those are the bands in which the 5 members have as a reference and beyond tastes, preferences and trends, we always return to them as if they were our bible chapters.
6. Which things, do you think, a Band should sacrifice in order to succeed?
Have you ever sacrificed anything in your life for a better future of your Band?
Wowww! The question that every musician's girlfriend would hate, hahaha.
In fact I always use a saying: The path of a warrior is always lonely.
There are always sacrifices and many times we sacrifice things that other people are unable to value: Time, rehearsals, money, love (If not, ask Doro...).
I feel that this is a passion, I don't conceive my life without music, without art, without Heavy Metal. I can't even imagine leaving everything to live a "normal" life, working in a bank, in front of a computer, always dressed in a coat and tie (as they have suggested to me more than once).
At the beginning I left my university studies to devote as much time as possible to the band. (Last year I have retaken it).
I finally believe that all sacrifice is necessary if you want to follow your dream. Mandrágora is my dream, our dream as a band and I will leave my life on every moment. This brings me problems of course, my family, my girlfriend, studies, work, etc.
But you know what? I don't care because this makes me happy. I Feel my music takes shape and realize that this dream is shared with 4 crazy adventurers just like me makes me much happier.
What will be the final sacrifice? I do not know. At the moment I will step on the accelerator thoroughly, like a Formula 1 on a straight line. The dream is now and we must live it intensely.
7. Describe your ideal live show, as a performance Band. Have you already experienced that?
The ideal show will always be that show where people have a good time. Always beer in hand, always shaking his head and chanting the subject, although he doesn't know it well.
A show idea is also to enjoy each chord from beginning to end and to be self-conscious for emotion.
8. Which attributes, do you think, that a new Heavy Metal Band should have in order to gain identity and be unique?
First, is that you must be honest. The music, your music, you should like yourself as a composer in the first place. No pressure from anything. Not even labels, trends, fans. Each song should speed up your heart and get you goosebumps.
Second is that it must be understood that this is a long road and you must be very patient patient. With your bandmates, with each event that involves the band.
Today you are on the ground and tomorrow you are a god, yet it is only a moment in life. The main thing is that your music transcends the barrier of time.
Third and the main thing (In fact it is the banner of the band), never give up. Never, never bow your head. They will tell you that you cannot, that it is wrong, that your moment has passed, that it is not so good, etc. But you know what? Fuck with that!
A Heavy Metal band must be stubborn, must be focused on their goals and fight to the death to achieve them. And if he is going to die in this fight, he will be standing and facing forward. Heavy Metal is for the brave of heart and indomitable spirit.
9. Do you believe that Bandcamp and other Digital Platforms help the new Heavy Metal Bands? Which, do you think, is the ideal way for a Band to promote its work?
Technology has arrived and we are definitely part of it, we can't help it.
I think so, they help. We are living in a digital era in which people of all ages have access to music portals, access to small and large bands, and even dedicated bands.
These types of platforms help to publicize bands that do not have a great support of a label, that have little budget and that do not have an open market in Europe, Asia or America.
It has happened to ourselves that they follow us in places as far away as Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, etc. Places where we have no promotion, we do not sell CDs, or anything like that.
But there are already people who listen to us, are aware of us and write to us.
It also happens that after contacting you they buy you CDs, vinyls, etc., and they are sent to those places far away. Something incredible for us.
So if you look at it positively, technology contributes so that tradition does not get lost.
I think the best way to promote yourself is a simple way: Create your music, record it (as pro and independent as your budget can afford it) and then record a video (not a super pro one, but something that looks decent hahaha) and launch it on all the damn existing platforms on the planet.
If you still have a budget, of course, present it in a format that allows them to distribute it and make small sales.
Things will improve as the quality of your production improves and of course, and how good your music is as you launch more productions.
10. Tell us a few things about the New Underground Metal Scene in Peru (Bands, Fanzines, Webzines, Metal Clubs etc.)
Peru's Heavy Metal scene has grown tremendously in recent years.
I highly recommend Cobra and Blizzard Hunter, the most important bands of the current scene in Peru. There are also Metal Crusifier and Strogena (Fem voice) from Lima; Hyena (Fem voice),
extraordinary sister band from the city of Cajamarca with whom we share our Split: Bite of Steel, Los Indios.
From my city, New Chimbote, I recommend: Wakas, Stonehead, Desert Gang, Mantarraya, Poison Death, Oppression, Shrapnel, The Wild Apples and Inicuom.
The most recommended zines: Thrash Zine Command, Metal House zine, The Metal Barracks, Evil Confrontation records, Open the Road agency.
11. Do you know anything about the Hellenic Metal Scene?
I know just a little about the Greek scene, I heard Rotting Christ. But I wish I could listen and follow Heavy Metal bands especially.
12. What are your future plans?
At the end of the month we will release the video that will promote the split, entitled: Death to te Witch.
We have already agreed dates for the beginning of the year: Tren Loco´s Support, from Argentina; A couple of dates in our city, also Cajamarca. We are putting together a schedule.
The other year our intention is to record the 2 disc of the band, so there are many goals to fulfill.
13. Thank you very much for your time & Keep up the good work! The closure is yours.
It has been a really entertaining interview. Greetings to Metal warriors around the world. We, from our trench, will follow the path of Metal to the end of our lives. Be assured. Cheers with Pisco to everyone.
By Steve the Filthy Dog.