Mary and the Ram – Lucky 7
LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…
MARY AND THE RAM is the studio project of Kiran Tanna of The Nightmare Generator; Dom Smith of The Parasitic Twins; and Edward Alan Logie of Modern Mood Swings. Described as Post-Punk-Alt-Rock and Nine Inch Nails meets Nick Cave, their music is moody and dark with driving vampiric beats hungry to you make you the next Lost Boy.
One thing that always amazes us is the effort bands go to for our LUCKY 7s. Artists dig deep for us and this is no exception. Not afraid to show a different side, Dom really opens up to us. Whether it’s by selecting song that has helped him deal with Cerebral Palsy or being brave enough to admit he likes Incubus, it’s all here. And to qualify, I LOVE INCUBUS but I have backup now, so hopefully more will discover their brilliance.
Having just released OFFICERS LUNAR DUB REMIX of their latest single ECLIPSE, Velvet Sheep takes the perfect opportunity to hold hands with Dom and jump into the magical painting that is his Lucky 7…
1. HELL IS FOR HEROES – I Can Climb Mountains
A bunch of these picks will lose me all of my goth credibility, and I don’t really give a f***! Haha! This is just an absolute alternative rock anthem, and one of the most underrated British rock bands of the 00s. Hell Is for Heroes ‘I Can Climb Mountains’ absolutely changed my life. From the moment I hear that intro, all of the hairs on my body stand up … yes, all of them. The band have an incredible back-catalogue of stuff, and I recommend you start with Neon Handshake. This, though, is my absolute anthem and as someone who has Cerebral Palsy, and struggles to get out of bed in the morning, I can tell you that this song has motivated me in more ways than you can imagine when I’ve been on tour with other bands, when I’ve gone travelling or when I’ve needed to get through a certain amount of pain to crack on with a day and get shit done. This track is a testament to what music can do for a person. I have the title of the track tattooed on my arm to keep me going at rough points.
2. INCUBUS – The Warmth
Again, not a particularly heavy or dark tune and not very in keeping with the brand of Mary and The Ram. Indeed, this is more of an uplifting track that reflects on our mortality, and how we should try and do as much as we can, and be as kind as we can while we have the time before we grow old. Incubus’ trademark quality drumming and rhythms are all over this, alongside Brandon Boyd’s emotive, stunning vocals. I listen to this when I need motivation and, no pun intended, drive. It reminds me to be good, and to try and help others as often as I can. Others might take something else from this, but that’s what it means to me – an absolutely beautiful track that serves to motivate and inspire. Incubus are a timeless band, and probably are my favourite band of all time. I hope others are still to discover them, and that this tune makes them feel the way it did to me the first time I heard it.
3. FAILURE – Another Space Song
The last of the more uplifting tunes on this list, although it’s definitely dark in tone. Failure are absolutely one of the more overlooked rock bands on the planet, having inspired the likes of Hayley Williams of Paramore. I cannot describe the way this makes me feel. I’m pretty sure this track has brought a tear to my eye once or twice, as the melody is particularly overpowering. If that’s weird to you, I don’t care. Like I said before, I believe that music is meant to move you, and I bloody adore this track. To be fair, some of Mary and The Ram’s melodies and energy can be attributed to Failure’s broodier work. The band and Kellii Scott do inspire me a great deal, and I think their entire catalogue is worth looking at, particularly Fantastic Planet, but also one of the more recent records, The Heart Is a Monster. The line from this, ‘All my missions float away, I never trained too hard, I’m so caught up in the tree of stars, falling in my backyard’ inspired the tree tattoo I have on my arm.
4. SEEP AWAY – Loving You
All right, so this is a weird metal cover of Minnie Riperton’s classic by my old band Seep Away. We had at least a few good songs (I’d recommend Joie De Vivre too) and it takes me to a very chaotic time in my life. I think this band embodied chaos entirely! I loved being in it, touring and playing shows. Though the track itself turns everything that’s beautiful about the original on its head! I’m including it here because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without being in this band, and without those terrible, and terrifying experiences! Haha! I’d go on to form The Parasitic Twins with Max (Watt) from this band, and we’ve been able to tour Asia and Europe, and I know we wouldn’t have had the confidence to do that without Seep Away. My punkier style of drumming will feature on more of Mary and The Ram’s stuff in future, and I think Kiran (Tanna) is okay with that. I must say that I enjoy the fact that people used to call Seep Away a nu-metal band, and I grew up loving that genre, so for me at least that was a win. I know everyone else in the band despised it being tagged in that way!
5. NINE INCH NAILS – Reptile
Probably one of the darkest songs Trent Reznor has written, and that’s saying something! The machine beats on this are exceptional and encapsulate everything I love about industrial music and heavier bands like Nitzer Ebb, Youth Code, Street Sects and Code Orange. There’s a debate as to whether it’s written about Courtney Love and Trent’s fling with her, and his subsequent opinion of her. I think this is an anthem for every pained, miserable goth which when I put it like that is kinda sad, but it’s definitely true. Nine Inch Nails have been the go-to band for outsiders for years, and their darkness is commercial and cool. Every industrial band’s favourite industrial band. We wish we were NIN, and so does every fu**er else. Still, this is an absolute banger, and has served to provide me with the aural vitriol that I need to get through break-ups, stressful experience and/or dark times that I’ve ever gone through. This is venom in audio form, and it’s bloody brilliant. There’s such a cool clip of them performing it with David Bowie years ago too!
6. MARILYN MANSON – Long Hard Road Out of Hell
Man, one of, if not my favourite, artist of all time. I mean, he might be a bit of a dick but he taught me that you could use music to focus energy and release any dark thoughts in a (mostly) constructive manner. That, and that it was okay to be androgynous and confuse and scare everyone back in the day! Honestly it was a difficult decision between this track and Placebo’s ‘Nancy Boy’, because both tracks had such exceptional imagery and beats that I fell in love with them almost instantly. This track actually features vocals from Kelli Ali of Sneaker Pimps and was included on the infamous Spawn Soundtrack, but Manson kicked off for some reason and Sneaker Pimps don’t really get credit. But yeah, much like Nine Inch Nails, MM was the soundtrack to millions of people’s self-loathing, and the music offered me (and those many others) comfort when I wasn’t sure of who I was. I would absolutely say Marilyn Manson, and tracks like this, helped me figure that out, gain confidence and it definitely inspired my passion to try and create dark, seductive heavy tunes like what we do in Mary and The Ram.
LUCK 7: MARY AND THE RAM – Eclipse
We leave this open to interpretation. It’s about dark relationships? It’s about taking a look at yourself? We like to make people think… said every band ever! Haha! We’re just trying to occupy our space in the world. We’re a little bit goth, we’re a little post-punk and our new material is a bit shoegaze! If people dig it, that’s awesome, and if not … well, that’s fair do’s. I love what we do and so does Kiran, and that’s what matters. Eclipse’s video was animated by this dude Duncan Catterall and there was some pretty dark, uncomfortable stuff and themes in there and we are very proud of it. Check it out and let us know what you think? Sonically, it’s equal parts Depeche Mode as it is Tom Waits, and that’s our vibe, man.