Mary and The Ram: Black Cat And Staircase

Mary and the Ram is the studio project of former The Parasitic Twins drummer Dom Smith and Viaperformance creator Kiran Tanna (vocals, guitars, keyboards, and programming). Their new piece Black Cat And Staircase, a six-minute atmospheric instrumental, strikes with intensity and dread in a very innovative way.

Black Cat And Staircase is the duo's first new material since 2020, which may be perceived as slowness for the project, but the fact, as they explain, is exactly the opposite: “Black Cat and Staircase is a doorway. That is, it’s the entrance to a sprawling collection of tracks that we’ve been working on over the last two years in the background, privately but with purpose. There’s enough material now for a double album but we’re being selective and releasing tracks on a drip feed. Each drop informs the next, helping us decide who we’ll collaborate with, what instruments to work with, where we’ll record, how we’ll assemble those recordings, the artwork, the mood. That approach has given us a chance to explore some new territory as a band – and Black Cat and Staircase seems like a good entrance point.

The writing and recording process of the band has been hugely influenced by genre fiction, with techniques and more borrowed from horror and cult films. Furthermore, it is driven by years of real crime investigation and occult experiments, as well as their work as authors in those subjects outside music. 

We’ve never obscured our love affair with Nine Inch Nails,” Mary and the Ram elaborate, “but on Black Cat and Staircase, and on the other new tracks, we’ve been able to experiment with more and different sounds, inspired by bands like Autechre, Aphex Twin, Crystal Method, Infected Mushroom and so on. We’re big fans of these artists and we want to show them some love. So, it’s a doorway onto all this, yes, but the track should also stand alone; and that’s another reason for this single release. Perhaps it’s title music for a film someone’s yet to make. Or maybe it’s the sound of a game – remember Quake? We loved Quake. Perhaps it’s music to put on when you drive or run alone at night. And maybe this is personal, but Black Cat and Staircase feels visceral to us; visceral and aggressive, and ready to open itself and bleed everywhere – a bit like something being born.

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