Ancestors Frontman Mulls Next Record: Third Wave Ska?!?!
The thing about most rock journalists is that they love to label things. The best description for Ancestors, a Los Angeles band fronted by an aspiring legal eagle, would be psychedelic doom rock merchants. But Ancestors doesn’t dig on labels. As frontman and guitarist Justin Maranga put it, “It is whatever it is.”
What Ancestors is, fundamentally, is a nasty rock band with sweeping atmospherics and punishing guitars. It’s a little bit prog, and a whole lot of heavy, with ambitious, marathon songs that’ll take you on a sonic passage you won’t want to come back from. They’ve been compared to Neurosis, King Crimson, and even Pink Floyd, rightfully so. But Maranga claims that wasn’t the plan.
“We never really set out to do anything in particular, especially now,” he tells Noisecreep. “We’ve been a band three or four years, and in that time, we’ve gelled together. And when we write, we just write what comes out comes out. If what comes out is a third wave ska record, then s—, we’re going to put out a third wave ska record. Obviously, that’s not what we listen to, so that’s not going to seep into our collective subconscious. We all listen to a pretty broad variety of music, and obviously, Pink Floyd and King Crimson are seeping in pretty heavily.”
Maranga gets the Pink Floyd comparisons, but says the point of Ancestors wasn’t to emulate anyone at all. “It’s making rock,” he says. “We used to set out to be heavy. Now, heavy is just kind of a byproduct of the equipment we play and the way we play. So, we no longer are trying to be heavy and we’re not really trying to be psychedelic or prog. We don’t try to write long songs … that’s just what comes out.”
On Oct. 6, Ancestors releases its second album, ‘Of Sound Mind,’ an eight-part, hour-long giant that dabbles with multiple personalities and schizophrenia … we think.
“It’s not overtly conceptual … it’s more about … a person has multiple people inside of them,” he says. “Whether or not you can see it, there’s always multiple people inside of every person, the extreme version of which would be a schizophrenic person, who can’t reconcile those things. The average person can reconcile the fact that there are different aspects of their personalities, but I think schizophrenics can’t.
“Society is the exact same way. There are so many different aspects of society that are kind of breaking apart from each other and yet, at the same time, living as one cohesive unit, so it’s kind of the internal struggle meets the external struggle, and how they’re actually pretty similar.”
At the end of the day, some people might label Ancestors as stoner rock. That, too, would be an accurate description. But again, it’s not as though the band was trying to appeal to that segment of music fandom.
“We get a different reaction depending on who we play with,” says Maranga. “There are so many cliques of music fans, and we’ve played with so many different types of bands, but we get the best response from metal crowds. It’s always by far the best experience for us. I think we’re a metal band in some aspects … not so much that I would think that our highest appeal would be to metalheads, but that does seem to be the case.
“We’ve played to f—ing bulls— hipsters, to f—ing stoners, to f—ing proghead-type people and your average music listener, and if people want to equate what we do with the stoner scene, that’s cool. Half my band are stoners.”