On The Comeup: Mantar Bhandal

(Originally posted on Steemit)

I’m Carson Hoy, a musician and contributor to Surrey 604, I’m 20 years old and so obviously I know EVERYTHING. Well not everything, but one thing I do know is it’s important to stay in touch with people you have faith in.

Mantar, is one of those guys.

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward” – Steve Jobs

– meaning that you can’t plan out how your life is going to go, you can only connect the dots looking backward and understand how they led you here… Well sorry Stevie, Mantar’s dots are connected til’ the friggin crypt as far as I’m concerned.

Over the past year I dove deep into the minds of the rich famous and successful, studying their mindsets and life stories. So what did these people all have in common?

  • They find a passion
  • They dream BIG
  • They work HARD

Over the years I’ve known Mantar he has been displaying all those traits, I just didn’t know it yet!

Mantar is a multi instrumentalist and vocalist as well as a producer
and sound engineer, his debut EP “Side by Side” was fully produced by himself.

A graduate of BCIT, he now broadcasts live on radio for Q101.1 Merritt and does play-by-play commentary for the Merritt Centennials hockey team… At age 20! I fully expect to see Mantar on Hockey Night in Canada or winning a Juno Award. His work ethic and overall mindset leads to me to believe there’s much more to come.

Let’s catch up with Mantar!

Bold print – Carson Hoy
Italic print – Mantar Bhandal

“So, Tar. Tell me, what was the first experience you had with music?”

“I’d always been a shower-singer growing up, in fact I was super into Punjabi music when I was a kid. I remember being in elementary school, and my aunt used to walk with me to school. I used to sing punjabi songs and pretend it was the radio. She would switch channels mid-song sometimes, and without missing a beat, I would start singing another song! I even convinced my mom to buy me a DVD with punjabi music videos, and that thing never accumulated any dust. I played the hell out of it haha.”

“Man, that’s so cool. I’ve always seen you as confident and outgoing like that, not worried about people seeing you jam out. Sounds like your family was on board with your love of music, that’s important. I was in band with you at school so you atleast had a performance background then, but had you ever picked up an instrument before that?”

“I remember that, you were one hell of a drummer haha. Well, at the time saxophone was really one of the first instruments I’d played, But, with that being said, I did actually play an indian drum growing up called the dhol. It was like a conga, but sideways. It had a shoulder strap for it, and one side had a synthetic head, and the other was a leather skin head. You had two sticks, one L shaped stick that was heavy and you held in your dominant hand, and a long, skinny stick that was light and whippy that you held in the other hand. So, you’d use the big stick for the leather side, because it was the bass drum, and the smaller stick for the other side which was kind of like a snare drum. That was probably the first instrument I’d ever played. I haven’t played it since, grade 4 I think? Yea grade 4.”

“Oh yeah! I see guys rippin those at Bhangra shows. I always wanted to give one a go! So who was the first artist that really got you excited when you heard them?”

“Oh boy, way to drop a heavy question. Um, when I sort of phased out of punjabi music I was in late elementary/early highschool. Around then, I discovered Linkin Park. I was like, wow, when I heard them. They blew my mind, they were soo good. I loved singing along to their songs, there was so much emotion, and passion in their music. Lyrically, it was so good. Sometimes I would cry listening to their music. It was so beautiful.”

“I remember you listening to them in class sometimes. I feel a lot of teenagers could relate to the messages in their songs. I love the production and hiphop DJ elements infused with their tracks too. We were in a deep conversation before this interview about your radio experience and being on air. How much has your experience at BCIT and radio broadcasting applied to this project?”

“Oh man, BCIT has been probably the biggest, if not only, reason this EP came to existence. BCIT made me grow so much as a person, I learned so much. I could go on for days talking about it honestly. Best decision of my life. But through BCIT I met people who were likeminded. I drew inspiration musically, developed my craft production-wise, and it all came together. I started playing guitar and bass at BCIT too. I learned the base of my skills, and with time and experience I began to refine those raw skills. I really turned into a DIY guy at BCIT. I learned a lot of other things that would help me in other ways, like graphic design. I would say had I not been to BCIT, this EP wouldn’t have happened.”

“That’s so dope man, I’m stoked hearing that. You had lots of raw passion for music and production in highschool and when we talked, I thought “This guy just needs to go for it, he’s got the drive” You could talk my ear off about music and I was “The Music Guy” being out-talked about my own thing! I’m happy you had your place in BCIT to experiment, lots of people don’t get in the headspace to allow themselves to just muck around. I hear so many stories about how going to school didn’t do much, but you get out what you put in! So for this EP, you’ve told me there’s going to be a lot of different styles involved like hip hop and metal influences. What would you say is your all time favourite genre of music and why?”

“Yea, there’s a mix of different flavors, like Dr. Pepper. Basically, the main influence is metal, but there’s other things that you’ll pick up that’ll remind you of metalcore, punk, alternative, and yea even hip hop! My all-time favorite genre would have to be metal, just due to its diversity. You have the fast side, like Slayer (all-time favorite), you have the slower stuff like Sabbath. You’ll have things that other people will think ‘that’s not music, that’s ****’ but to you it’s the best thing in the world. There’s bands that will use just pure emotion, some will use the ‘smack you across the face sound’, like Converge, there’s just so much in the genre. The genre will make you feel epic (bands like Iced Earth), will make you feel angry (Pantera), there’s just so much. It’s probably the most diverse genre out there. If you don’t like metal, it could be that maybe it’s just a select style that you don’t like.”

“I grew up on Sabbath, Slayer, Pantera.. I totally get what you’re saying. Metal has it’s own universe musically, it’s own culture too and yeah, often it’s taken the wrong way! Non-metal people don’t see it as a genre to express deep emotion which is funny because you’ve told me the project was inspired by a friend’s outlook on life. What made his ideas so impactful on you?

“Look at you, Mr. Research! Yea, you’re right. This entire EP is inspired by a buddy of mine. It was a combination of his ideas, his experiences, and his outlook on life. He’s actually featured on track 4, ‘Tears of Man’. That was a track I’d been working with him on before I decided to make the entire EP. That was inspired by an episode he had when he was young. There’s that standard that men don’t cry, they’re supposed to be stones, pillars, what have you. What happened to him was that when he was young, his father told him, ‘Real men don’t cry’. From then on, he was so desensitized, he was a robot. He told me that story, and that was the inspiration for ‘Tears of Man’. Other than that, he went through a terrible relationship, and you and I both know that stuff changes your life. That was inspiration for tracks 1,2, and 3. He was the victim of a scam artist, and he went out of that the bigger person. The girl’s reputation was pretty much tarnished, because the truth got out really quick. I won’t go into more detail, but everyone knew that his version of the story was the right one. He came out of that situation with an amazing mindset on things, never complaining, head always held high. I think that great things happen because people get inspired to do them. He inspired me to do this EP.”

“Been there. Men can be victims in relationships but their stories can go unheard, has to do with the same “Real men don’t cry” mindset that your buddy’s dad had. I haven’t seen many artists go there with their lyrics. If you were to sum up this EPs message in a sentence or word, what would that be?”

“Oh boy, way to stump me jeez. Well, man, really gonna have to think about this one. As long as you’re inspired, only you are your limits. How about that? That sums up my EP I’d say.”

“I asked Shrek if he thought that summed up the EP well and he said “That’ll do Mantar. That’ll do”
Are you considering releasing a full length album having put together this EP?”

“Oh, God yes. Yes, yes yes yes. I will DEFINITELY be working on an album. This EP was to see what I had, and there’s another song that I made literally 2 days after the release that I wanted to get on the EP, but couldn’t. It’s actually my best song haha. But there’s a whole bunch of other things I’m working on at the moment. I’d love to work with a label for a full-scale release. I’m thinking like, 10-12 tracks. Maybe throw in a few more covers.”

“Definitely seems you have the knack at theming a body of work, I await that album. You had said you recorded and mixed the EP yourself, I gotta know, what track was the nastiest to complete editing wise?”

“On it again, haha. All of the songs were 50+ track projects and took days to make. The nastiest was definitely the opening track. ‘Side by Side’ was an absolute bitch to produce. I think it turned out ok. I mean, there’s professional engineers out there filling up notepads with things they would’ve done way better and totally picking it apart, but I think it turned out ok. There were just so many different things I had to do on that track. I had over 30 tracks for just the vocals. The vocals! That one took a long time to produce.”

“OH MY GOD. I’m dying thinking about editing that hahaha I was reading that saying “Ohh… OHHH!” out loud. (To anyone reading this who doesn’t know how hard it is to edit THIRTY vocal tracks on a song. Imagine walking up a 300’ down-escalator bare foot that someone spilled legos on, while holding all of your mom’s fine China.)
Who’s an artist you think everyone needs to listen to?”

“Rage Against the Machine. Linkin Park is a close second, but, Rage Against the Machine. The musical genius, the lyrical genius, the raw emotion, passion, drive, it’s not something you’ll find in other places. Listening to them, maybe your perspective on life will change, maybe you’ll find something in your life to live for, and if not, well, you have a reason to dance like mad and kick over trash cans. They were a transformational band that will never, ever, have another band like it ever again.”

“True. Rage goes raw, makes you look at your life without a filter. From talking to you I’ve always had the impression that you’re not afraid to follow your passions and others opinions have little effect on that. I find it hard not to listen to the naysayers sometimes, what advice would you give to those struggling with chasing their passions?”

“Just think, what would your life be like otherwise? When it’s your time to go, and you’re looking back on your life, are you happy with what you did? Think of it this way, I went out of my way, I set myself up for completion or nothing. I didn’t sleep some nights, all to work on this. I know what I have to do. Remember, if you pour your heart and soul into something, and it doesn’t work out, you’ll have no regrets, because you know, that it was the right thing to do.You’ll have to go out of your comfort zone to get to where you want to be. Nothing is permanent. When people say you can’t do it, chances are, they might be scared that you can do it. Why should you listen to them? In the end, it’s your decision. Not theirs. You control what you can, or can’t do. Not them. Use it to perfect your craft. Use their words as motivation. Think of not wanting to prove them wrong, but rather to prove yourself right, that it was worth it. If you can’t have the right mindset to do something, you’ll never be able to do it.”

“Daaaamn Mantar, back at it again with the deep raaants. I encourage anyone reading to keep an eye on Mantar and the tracks he’s releasing. Mantar, it was awesome talking to you and getting some insight on your musical journey! What are some links we can give the people to check out your music and more about you?”

“Yea man this was awesome! Was a pleasure chatting with you as always. My EP’s out on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, everything you can think of. Just search Side by SIde – Mantar Bhandal. You can check out some of my other side projects on my soundcloud, I got some covers and collabs up there. Check out my website at mantarbhandal.ca. Follow me on twitter, @MantarBhandal and @MetalManny89, add me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever floats your boat! I’m on Youtube too, but I don’t do too much on Youtube. Carson, I really appreciate you havin me on man, this was awesome. Make sure you follow Carson too! He’s one talended-ass dude. He’s on his way to big things.”

Thanks Mantar for doing this interview!

Get a peek at Mantar’s debut EP “Side By Side” below
Check out Mantar’s official website






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