Interview With Martin Mendez Of White Stones/Opeth
By Keith Clement
It’s a great pleasure for me to talk to the most amazing bassist Martin Mendez of the band Opeth, This time not an Opeth Interview, this might arise a question, if not Opeth, what the hell you are talking about. Hey, Chill! Martin Mendez released his first Death Metal Project with his new band White Stones, to talk in brief, it was released in March 13 this year, the debut album titled “Kurahy” Which basically means “Sun” in the native Uruguay Language “Guarani”. Let’s hear from the man Martin himself.
Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine Martin, I’m Keith Clement Editor In Chief from India, Seen you couple of times in India during your tour to India, how are you doing?
Hi Keith, very nice to meet you and many thanks for showing interest on my work.
You have put up a beautiful album “Kurahy” tell me how it started and the songwriting and production behind it?
I did started writing the songs right after I was finished with the Opeth tour for the album Sorceress. It did start as a fun project, I didn’t had any intentions for it than just make some music and keep me busy during the time off. But things went pretty fast and suddenly I had a couple of songs that I though they sounded pretty good. So I decide to record them properly. At this time I was living in a place where I had the recording studio 20 meters from my house. And I was enough lucky to have my own keys for the studio. I was there almost every day during the process working on the album. The studio owner is Eloi, the singer of White Stones. He did help me during the recording process as well. Mostly for the drums. So we did record a few songs. When we were finished I was quite happy with the result so I decide to send it out for a proper mix and mastering. At this time I started to think about to make this album printed as a vinyl. And maybe to self release a couple of hundred copies of it. So everything kind of build up on the way. When the mix was done I did send it to my manager explaining him my ideas. but he took it in a higher level. After a couple of days he came with the news about Nuclear Blast been interested. So first at this point it was when I realized that I made an album, or I had a new band. But I’m glad it went that way, having no expectations behind it. I’m glad I made the songs with passion and heart, the best way I could at that moment just for me. And now it feels great to have the opportunity of share it with people interesting in this style of music around the world..
“Kurahy” basically means Sun in your native language, The sun has shown a path to start a new side project for you, how do you feel about it? Also what is this native language of Uruguay, Till date I was thinking that Uruguay speak only Spanish, my bad haha?
You are right, in Uruguay the only official language is Spanish. The language I use for the title of the album is the language the natives that lived in the area back in the day used to speak. It’s call Guarani. So, unfortunately nobody does speaks this language in Uruguay anymore. The only country that still speaking this language that it’s an official language for the country is Paraguay. I would love to know this language, unfortunately I don’t. The name of one of the biggest ethnicity that spoke this language were the Charruas. The most popular ones in the country. But it was several different ethnicity that used this language in some areas of south america . And about the sun, It’s just a combination of things that made me choose it as the name of the album. The Uruguayan flag has a sun on it for ex. but for the most I wanted to have something powerful for the title. And no many things are as powerful as the Sun itself. I guess I wanted to reflect something powerful, something that been and still very present and important for humanity, for our lives.
Is this a solo project or you have guest musicians to help you out?
I consider it a band really. I do think the rest of the guys did put some ingredients in the music to make it better. Just for that reason it does make it a band and not a solo project I think. And my idea is to keep making more albums together with this guys. So, in my eyes we are a band.
I would be interested to know the roots of and your seeking your ancestry and putting it into your album is quite amazing, would you like to tell me about it?
Well, I always been interested in this cultures. The way of living and thinking the natives had.. I know It was a different time with a different environment, but the way they treat nature for ex. it’s something we should pay more attention this days. But overall this album became a bit nostalgic. It’s not an image I will keep for upcoming albums, it just happen on this one.. Music are emotions, and I always had present in my soul/ head the time I lived in Uruguay.. I do reflect different things from that period in my life in the album. I guess it’s like a therapy for me.. I don’t know really, but it feels good to share it this way, reflecting it on my work. I did started listening to Death metal over there too, I do remember that very clear, how it made an impact was on me. This are emotions that are from that period and are not coming back. And that’s why it’s more like a nostalgic theme for me. putting together all this emotions and memories from that place.
I’m sure White Stones is going to be a huge success, man each song is amazingly produced, with great riffs and amazing vocals, Wow I’m flabbergasted by this new album, as the man behind it, how do you feel about it?
It’s a truly honor to hear those comments. I feel glad and it gives me some kind of strength to keep doing it. As a musician (and anything else in life) I try to do things as good as I can, I always give 100% of myself sort to speak, and this reactions/comments feels like a real pay off for the work.
Would you come to India and do a show for us?
That would be fantastic. Time will show us the truth. Right now I have no idea what is going to happen for this band. But that would be so great, I love playing in India. The experience I have from Opeth gigs over there is fantastic. The food, peoples hospitality. It’s a joy for me visiting your country. So, I would love to visit you some day.. fingers crossed.
Who were behind this to make this a huge success for you, would you like to talk about the team behind this?
Business wise It’s been Andy and Northern music co., together with the Nuclear Blast team. But it’s a lot of people involved in one or other way I would say. Family and friends for the support and help is as important for this to happen.
How is the situation for you, With Covid 19 like wild fire around the world, a big back-down for every human being in the world, how do you cope up with the situation?
It’s a difficult time for everyone in this planet. The thing that makes me more worry about it is that nobody really knows what will happen in the near future. But for now it’s not much we can do apart from, just be at home, be safe and wait.
And listen to a lot of music..
What would be the next plan for you apart from this side project?
Don’t know, hopefully some more new musical adventures.. but for now I will be busy ( if the covid 19 let us) with Opeth touring and hopefully some shows with White Stones as well.
Do you have a message for the fans?
Thanks for the support!!! Stay safe.
MHF Magazine/Keith Clement