Garden of Mary are a newer Dallas gothic rock band that cite the influences of Sisters of Mercy, Asylum Party, and Midnight Call. Below is Grave City’s Garden of Mary interview. Containing members of Dallas hardcore act Modern Pain and Narrow Head, GoM already have a cassette-only mini-LP released on Louisville, Kentucky’s Funeral Party Records (no relation to the former Dallas postpunk event of that name). Although the LP came out in May of this year it was actually recorded two years ago in 2014 in Austin at Bad Wolf Recordings.
I mentioned Garden of Mary in a previous Grave City post about local gothic rock and deathrock bands. (That post is here.) I wrote: “[Garden of Mary singer] Ryan’s vocals are downright narcotic, and Noah’s bass pins the music down — gives it its anchor — in true trad gothic rock style, a la the Sisters of Mercy. There are elements of dreamy shoegaze and hallucinatory 80s UK dark underground stuff at play in the mix, too.”
You can stream Garden of Mary’s 5-song release, The Agony in Memory, below.
Garden of Mary was interviewed by Oliver/Grave City in September, 2016.
You’re a pretty new Dallas band. Who are your members and what previous bands (if any) have they played in?
Noah: Ryan on guitar/vocals; Adam on drums; Philip on synth/keys; Thomas on guitar;and me on bass.
Adam and I played in a punk/hardcore band called Modern Pain and Ryan plays in another alternative rock/shoegaze band called Narrow Head. Aside from that I think everyone has had their hand in a fair share of shitty bands from their more adolescent years.
How and why did you choose the name Garden of Mary? What does it mean?
Noah: Well, I came up with the name after listening to the song “Mary’s Garden” from the band Mary Goes Round. After thinking of the name “Garden of Mary” I did some research on what a garden of Mary was and found that it’s a sacred garden enclosing a statue of the Virgin Mary, which used to be often cursed by pagans in the early Catholic days. So ultimately I just thought it sounded cool and was fitting to the music.
You have an ankh on your demo artwork. Many people nowadays associate that with gothic rock thanks to the Cleopatra label, Siouxsie, the Sisters of Mercy “Vision Thing” LP, the characer Death in Sandman, etc. Why did you put that on your artwork and what does it mean to you all?
Noah: The ankh has a “G” in it to make it our own — hence, “Garden” — but I’ve always liked that the ankh stood for life and death/male and female. I won’t get into the specifics ’cause that would take too long, but yeah….That, accompanied with the fact that it is a staple symbol among the goth/deathrock sound.
How would you describe your music to folks listening to it for the first time? What sonic reference points would you give them?
Noah: I’d probably describe it as aiming to capture a certain 80s sound that isn’t replicated too often in modern music, but doing it without relying completely on studio vocal/guitar effects.
Who are Garden of Mary’s primary influences and how do you feel their influences shine through in your material?
Noah: Aside from the obvious classics like Sisters of Mercy, some of our bigger influences are Asylum Party and Midnight Call. I know the production of our record has been compared to “Borderline” from Asylum Party and I think Ryan’s voice is definitely in vein of Midnight Call.
A question I ask every band I interview: If you were stranded on a desert island and had only 5 LPs that you could for some magical reason be able to listen for every more (no escape plans), what LPs would they be, and why?
Noah: Pornography – The Cure
Bleach – Nirvana
Slit Throats and Ritual Nights – Cult of Daath
Patent Pending – Heavens
Discography – Midnight Call (probably equals out to an LP,haha)
What are you all up to in Dallas and what LPs or recordings can folks check out in the future? What links etc do you have to share and why?
Well some modern bands and records I’ve been listening to a lot lately would be:
Careless -Drab Majesty
A unity of miseries- a misery of unities
Also check out all the releases on Funeral Party Records roster!