MELODY LANE had a great interview with DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS singer and guitarist of the Swedish Progressive Death metal band MARA! Their new album "Djävulstoner" will be released on March 12th via Wormholedeath. 
"...  we wanted to express something fresh and unique to the community.We wanted to create an album that really gave the listener a lot of different experiences throughout, lots of aggression but with space to reflect...."


MELODY LANE: First of all, also if it can sound a bit expected…Can you tell us where does the name MARA come from? 
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS: According to Germanic folklore a Mara is a nightmarish entity that beats nightmares into you while you are sleeping, we thought of this as a fitting name because of the dreamy and eerie vibe we wanted to produce.

MELODY LANE: The line-up of the band is confirmed, is it the same from the beginning of the band…or have you had changes in the last years? Can you tell us anything about the roots of MARA? And where the band was born?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS: No, me and Erik joined forces in 2012 and both of us wanted to create something without boundaries. After this we had a revolving door of characters that entered and left, Anton joined in 2015 and Johan in 2019 when we needed a new bassist for some live gigs. The roots of Mara are set in our common affliction to darker forms of art and that we all want to play at the edge of our capability, it makes us feel alive… The kick from playing the music almost puts you in a trancelike state. Anton, Erik and Johan are all born around Gothenburg…I was born in Athens.

MELODY LANE: Can you list us 5 songs, from  MARA ‘s discography (including new material), that can define the sound of the band … 5 songs that can help our readers to know MARA at the best.
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS: I would say the songs that really put you in the Mara state of mind would be, Under a Bleeding moon, Born to Die, Efreet, Heaven shall burn and Djävulstoner.

MELODY LANE: Tell us something about the creative process of your music. Is there a main composer or we can talk about a team work? The songs come from ideas of a single member and then the band works on these ideas in the studio jamming together, or your songs are written in the studio and all the members compose together?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS:We write as a team, all the members of Mara speaking in unison through our instruments that is the main philosophy of Mara. Everyone needs to feel that they have put part of their creativity into the songs, in doing this we feel that we can create more authenticity in our music.We jam a lot in the rehearsal, just disconnecting our minds and play on the feeling and then we go home and sharpen the ideas.The riffs that you can play over and over again are usually the riffs that we then puzzle together.Lyrically the music is a both an emotional reflection to where the world is at, and through meditation images comes up that I write down. A lot of my own beliefs are towards Polytheistic concepts, I channel this through my music and let the song guide me.

MELODY LANE: Can you tell us something about contents and messages of your last album ? …Can you tell us anything about the whole concept of Djävulstoner? And plese tell us where does this title come from?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS:We really went out of our way to write a full album, it’s a throwback to what we loved about buying records and listening to them back in the days. At the same time we wanted to express something fresh and unique to the community.We wanted to create an album that really gave the listener a lot of different experiences throughout, lots of aggression but with space to reflect. As for a message I guess it’s about the occult and Sumerian beliefs. The title “Djävulstoner” is ambiguous, if you translate it from Swedish it can mean both “The Devils Notes” and also “Devil Stoner”. We started out playing a lot of stoner metal, and it’s very present in the music so we thought it would be a fitting name for the album!

MELODY LANE:  …After time, are you totally satisfied with your choices about sound and the writing of your previous EP and live album? If you could… would you change anything? What did you focus on to make the sound better and perfectly consistent with the musical ideas you had in mind?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS:I would say we are, we recorded and mixed both the EP (Usurpers to the crown) and the Live album ourselves they are snapshots of where we were then. The thing is, I (Dimitrios) switched from just singing in the band to singing and playing guitar in 2017 and we decided to rework all the songs because we wanted to play faster and more agressive. As for focus, we all really stepped up and practiced a lot so everything was tight   and clean. Then we decided to record the album in Italy free from distractions to really get the best out of ourselves.

MELODY LANE:  So apart from the covid/pandemic situation…will you tour in the next future? Have you already a touring schedule? Any chance for us to see  MARA playing live here in Italy in the next months/year?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS:We do not have any tours planned as of this moment, we wanted to do a tour as soon as the album dropped but the pandemic came between. We are doing some live streams from a studio in Gothenburg for those who are interested just check out our Youtube, Facebook or homepage we will post information there. If anyone wants to book us, feel free to contact us would love to play in Italy!  

MELODY LANE: Could you tell us two bands, from the actual international scene, you’d like MARA to tour with?... Two bands that would represent a perfect line-up for  MARA  to play with. And why these bands?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS: Opeth and Mastodon, I think that would be a great line up.I think our musical approach are similar, and they really push the boundaries just like we try to do with our music. 

MELODY LANE: We know that ‘to define is to limit’… but how do you define  MARA’ sound? Are you a DEATH Metal band…a PROG DEATH band… a MELODIC DEATH band…Or…?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS: It’s hard to define just as you say in your question, I guess Progressive Death Metal would be the closest fit. But I see it as it’s own thing. Metal should be about breaking rules, rebellion and absolute freedom. When we write music we do it out of our love for metal and heavy music in general, but we try to keep a lot of groove in the music and blend growls/screams with clean vocals. We feel that for our sound it helps to express the different layers of emotion that surround a concepts like death or the life after your earthly existance.

MELODY LANE: Which musicians are/have been your main musical inspirations? And which are your favorite bands nowadays?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS: There are so many great musicians that inspire, but if I had to narrow it down to just a few I’d say

Black Sabbath – They are the roots to everything

Dissection – The way Jon composed and wrote lyrics were just otherworldly

Metallica – Their music formed us all.

Testament – They just never let you down with the consistency throughout the years.

Opeth – They really made an impact on us with their music.

As far as modern bands we all really like Gojira, Watain, Mastodon and High on Fire and personally I really like Fit For An Autopsy and Blood Incantation. 

MELODY LANE: As a musician, what has been your biggest achievement to date and what do you want to achieve in the near future?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS:Our greatest achievement must have been to get signed to Wormhole Death while always staying true to our music. As for the future we aim at touring and performing our music all over Europe and hopefully the world.

MELODY LANE: Until today...What was the most important concert for  MARA career? And why?
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS:  We did a gig in Varberg just before starting the recording of ‘Djävulstoner’, it was great because the crowd was amazing they sang along, got rowdy and all in all a great night!

MELODY LANE: In the end…A message from you to all MELODY LANE readers.
DIMITRIOS OLSSON-YAOUZIS: We just want to thank every single soul that support us and listens to our music and shows their appreciation. Djävulstoner will be available through all the streaming services on the 12:th of March, if you want to order a physical copy of the album you can do this through our homepage. 
Stay Grim!