By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Marianas Trench bassist Mike Ayley can sum up his band’s shows pretty quickly. He eschews cliché descriptions like “high energy” or “full of hits.”
“Shows are always new for us,” says Ayley, whose father is a former Scottsdale resident.
“There are new fans and new rooms and all of that keeps us on our toes. But most importantly, there is singing and good times and lots of Josh’s weird, sassy sense of humor, as usual. We can’t tame him no matter what.”
“Josh” is the Canadian band’s frontman Josh Ramsay, who brings Marianas Trench to The Van Buren on Friday, Sept. 27. The show is in support of its latest studio album “Phantoms,” which spawned the bouncy first single “I Knew You When.”
Ayley says the track is indicative of the album as a whole. “Phantoms” is set from the perspective of a man descending into madness as he inhabits a house haunted by the ghost of his former love. According to the band’s bio, Ramsay was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.
“Strangely, the date he was rushed to the hospital preceding his death was Oct. 3, the same day our first album was released, and the same date I was once to be married,” says Ramsay, who received a Grammy nomination in 2013 for cowriting and producing Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit “Call Me Maybe.”
“Even more strangely, we finished this album on Jan. 19, his birthday. I’m not one for superstition, but that does feel oddly serendipitious.”
Since its 2006 debut, “Fix Me,” Marianas Trench have hit platinum in Canada with “Masterpiece Theatre” and “Ever After.” Their hits include “One Love,” “Rhythm of Your Heart,” “Haven’t Had Enough” and “Who Do You Love.”
This jaunt has been particularly positive for Marianas Trench, Ayley says. Fans have been receptive to the new music and the familiar tracks.
“If you know the band, over the course of the years, each album changes styles,” he says. “A lot of bands find it hard to change sounds because they don’t want to lose their fans.
“We’ve been doing it since the beginning. People expect it to be different and they’re waiting to see what that change will be. We have creative freedom. We don’t have a box.”
That, Ayley says, keeps the band from losing its edge. The stylistic changes, too, encourage fans to listen to entire albums, instead of just singles. Marianas Trench wavers between emo, pop, rock and new wave.
“We’re still making full albums,” he says. “This album is a little shorter; we did 40 minutes. It’s not asking much of the attention span of a listener. I love that people dig into it and get a vibe from our music.
“The last track (‘The Killing Kind’) is such a cool piece. My son (who’s 9) got scared. I told him it’s just music. I think that’s pretty cool that we could make it creepy. As an adult, it gave me chills. To that degree, that’s cool.”
Marianas Trench w/The Unlikely Candidates, DJ George Thoms and 76th Street, 8 p.m. Friday, September 27, The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix, thevanburenphx.com, $25-$30.