Mental Exile is a Spanish solo-project set up by Mondträume singer Damasius Venysthe. We last year discovered Mental Exile by the EP “Exile Nights” revealing a great retro electro-pop approach. Mental Exile has now unleashed its debut album “Ride The Madness”. The album is available by Alfa Matrix and reveals a danceable sound mainly inspired by eighties elements. But it also is a conceptual work, which has something sensible and emotional. The interview will give you more details about it all.
(Picture credits by j2ms; interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: What incited you to set up Mental Exile as a side-project to Mondträume and what do you expect from this solo-project?
Damasius: Many years ago, before I joined Mondträume, I was working with other projects as a musician. When I started with Mondträume, my part of the work was writing the lyrics and to sing. That was okey for me, but of course the necessity of composing my own music was present all the time. For this reason I kept on working with Mental Exile, just for me and without priority.
What incited me to give it the importance that it deserves and to share it with the rest of the world, was a good friend of mine. He showed me how short life could be and we don’t have to wait until tomorrow to do the things that we really wish to do. Mental Exile is my way to talk, to feel and to see around me, so what I expect is to keep this special connection between myself and the music I create.
Q: The album has a solid 80s connotation in some aspects of the production. Tell us a bit more about your passion for 80s music and how did you try to transpose it into Mental Exile?
Damasius: The 80s left their traces in a lot of aspects and for me personally, the music and the films are a great inspiration. Here I have to mention the synth-wave genre, a music style that was growing more and more during the last years and where I found my place with Mental Exile. I’m fascinated by this genre, because it sounds totally 80s, but it didn’t exist like that in the 80s. Without any doubts, this helped me to transpose this essence to my music.
Q: “Ride The Madness” is a conceptual album, which has been introduced as inspired by this passion for 80s music and sci/fi movies, which you tried to transpose into music as a movie-soundtrack. Tell us a bit more the concept?
Damasius: If it would be a movie, I resume the conceptas an action film, with an antihero, hungry for vengeance and trying to find the sense of his life again. This is the summary of how I decorated the history, but there is a true story behind the concept. A good friend of mine was diagnosed with a cerebral tumor without cure. He was fighting during one year and eight months to live another day, although he knew that he cannot win this fight. He lived with his wife for 23 years, the most beautiful love story that I ever knew, and together they were fighting against everything to enjoy the time they had left. The reason why it was created as a movie soundtrack is because of the situation he was passing in a concrete moment. He was my inspiration and for me “Ride The Madness” is my dedication to him. Sadly he passed away one year ago and I couldn’t show his history to him.
Q: So the ‘hero’ of this concept called ‘Shadow’ was inspired by a good friend of yours, but are there still parts from yourself in this story?
Damasius: Without doubts, Shadow has the personality of my friend, but he looks and lives the situations through my eyes. I talk through Shadow from my perspective about what my friend was living and how I was feeling it too.
Q: You last year released the EP “Exile Nights” which featured songs that don’t appear at the album. It makes the EP really interesting, but do you see this EP as something apart from the album or still inspired by the same concept?
Damasius: Thanks!! “Exile Nights” is something totally apart. The concept of the album starts and ends with the album and it is something that I don’t want to touch. About “Exile Nights”, I like this kind of EP concept and I can tell you that I will repeat it.
Q: A clip has been also released. What can you tell us about it and do clips still make sense today? What brings the future for Mental Exile?
Damasius: To do the “Renegades”-video was a fantastic experience and it was a pleasure to work with the director Achilleas Gatsopoulos (Hypnagogia Films). During the production of the video we really had the impression to live in a dream and it was a feeling that I like to repeat.
About your question if clips still make sense today, I see two sides of the story. On one hand, of course they make sense because it is a way to spread and give life to the music, and for the followers it is a very positive point. Including myself as follower of other bands, it is something that I really enjoy when a group releases a music video. On the other hand, financially it does not make any sense. It is obvious that you will not get back the money you had to pay for it. My conclusion: if I can afford it, I will make more videos!
About the future, I’m working on the live shows because I like to bring my creature on stage next year. At the same time I’m working on new material for a next EP and album. Probably a new music video will come too…