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Interview with Martin Mendez (Opeth/White Stones)
Benedetta Baldin | September 17, 2021
There’s no two without three. And the third interview for Beniy Talks Metal is the wonderful bass player and composer Martin Mendez, who just released a new record.
Hello Martin, how are you doing in these crazy times?
Pretty good actually, thank you for asking. It is good, I mean it is what it is.
“Dancing Into Oblivion” is out now. What are your feelings after your records are released?
It’s good, I mean, it’s been a lot of work, a lot of time to make this record, but I’m happy that I managed to make it done and release it, I’m grateful for that.
Of course. Do you remember who was your first music teacher and what was him/her like?
Well, yes I mean I started the lessons with a teacher, but the first steps, the base was my father. He showed me the notes, some bass lines I guess. Then I had a teacher… He was a great teacher, he was very different from the rest of the teachers I had. He did not know much about theory and all the stuff, but in a way he kind of got me into music. I have good memories of this.
If in Opeth we can fully appreciate your skills and technique as a musician, we discovered your artistic and creative side in White Stones. Which side is the most experimenting?
I mean, in White Stones I am pretty much involved in everything so it’s more “me”. In Opeth of course I’ve been playing a long time, I’m the bass player I’m not writing the music, so there is some kind of limitations when it comes to expressing all my ideas, my emotions. White Stones for me it’s more complete, I start the songs and I finish them and record them.
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
I get a little bit nervous, but this is nothing compared to what it was in the beginning. But I like to have this feeling in the stomach, some nervosity. I think that keeps you down-to-earth in a way that like you want to do it.
When you’re playing for a big crowd, how does someone get your undivided attention?
When I’m playing live, I have some contact with some people, especially with the ones in the front, but I’m in my bubble. So I may look at them, but maybe I’m not thinking much; I don’t want to maybe tell anything to them when I’m in my world when I play. But I like this, to interact with the audience because you kind of get some energy from people looking at you, so I like this kind of trade of energy. You know I’m so into the music, so I cannot express myself the same way they do, but I guess we do something. If you’re not having any response, you don’t play with the same energy; this is important to us.
Women in metal are still trying to reach equality. What’s your opinion about sexism and discrimination toward female colleagues?
I am glad that you see more and more women getting involved in the metal scene through the years, and I think this is perfect; I mean, and I love it. And because there are so many talented and famous artists, it’s so great. I mean, I’ve never been into “all the men” things, you know. So I think society’s changing in that way. You can see small changes; it is very slow for sure. Compared to 20-30 years ago, we are at least on the right path now, and I hopefully would see more and more. It takes time; nothing changes from one day to the other, especially these kinds of things, you know, when pretty much my generation and the ones back are raised in a completely different way, and now people realize this.
I’d like to play a little game with you. If you could have a superpower of your choice, which one would you choose?
I would like to fly. I’ll be flying myself where I want.
Being Uruguayan Swedish, are you good at accents? What’s your best one?
I mean, I have an accent for sure. I didn’t speak Swedish fluently, but you can hear I’m not full Swedish. Same in English, but I like it; this is the way I speak. I’m not good at other accents, though!
Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview! Would you like to add anything to FemMetal readers?
Thank you for the support during the years, and I hope that people have an opportunity to listen to this new album, “Dancing Into Oblivion,” and I hope they like it. If not, it’s all good too. Thank you for your support, and hopefully, we’ll see you again on tour enjoying live music.