Findlay and Kerzner form Mantra Vega

Ex Mostly Autumn vocalist Heather Findlay has joined forces with former Sound Of Contact mainstay Dave Kerzner to form a new band, Mantra Vega. The duo are currently working on their debut record, which they aim to release in the autumn.

Vocalist Findlay says: “I’d planned to do my next solo album this year with Troy Donockley producing – but his schedule changed and he’ll be busy with Nightwish until the end of 2016. Then out of the blue, this guy with a familiar name turns up and says ‘Hi! I’ve been checking out your stuff!’ It was Dave. He asked me what I’d been up to and it all started from there.

“The way Dave writes is quite broad, so I can be singing really delicate Kate Bush-y stuff one minute and then right up to the Robert Plant end of things, really rocking out. It’s a really exciting challenge.”

Kerzner says: “I like prog and classic rock music with a female vocal because it gives it other qualities that you don’t get with a male lead singer. The idea came from Heather herself, mainly, just hearing her voice and seeing the possibilities.

“It’s a pretty broad record. It goes from a Floyd vibe to a more Led Zeppelin-style thing, then maybe something more light and ethereal and trippy, and then more proggy, like Yes or Genesis. Overall it’s more prog than anything Heather’s done before.

“I’m all about giving people a listening experience, an album experience. I want people to put on headphones and drift off.”

Although Dave and Heather are Mantra Vega’s creative core, the record will also feature the talents of Chris Johnson, Alex Cromarty and Stuart Fletcher, as well as guitarist Dave Kilminster from the Heather Findlay Band.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to turn the band’s first live shows into a celebration of the leading duo’s respective catalogues. “We had this idea to put on this really cool evening of music,” Kerzner enthuses. “Heather has her back catalogue with Mostly Autumn and her solo stuff; I’ve got my solo album coming up, and we’ve got our album, so it’ll be two and a half hours of music – with maybe some Pink Floyd and some stuff from my tribute records.”

Findlay says: “It’s all really exciting – it’s all happened really fast, but we’ve just clicked, and we can’t wait for people to hear what we’ve been doing.”

More information can be found at the band’s Facebook page.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.