Tuesday 11 June 2013

Interview with Monolith Cult

Monolith Cult cover art

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing UK Doom/Hard Rock newcomers - Monolith Cult.

Monolith Cult recently impressed me with their excellent new album - Run From The Light - An album which I can honestly say is one of the darkest albums I have heard this year.

Monolith Cult features members from some of the best underground bands have to offer from Lazarus Blackstar, Solstice, Khang and TDR.

The band have kindly agreed an interview with me. So lets get down to business with these sublime hard-hitting Doom Rockers.

Q1 - Hi guys. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this.

Hi thanks for the interview, things are going great and we are stoked about the forthcoming release of the album.

Q2 - Can you give people a brief history on how the band came about.

We all go back along way, I’ve known Izak and Lee since the mid 80s, we have been friends for knocking on 20 years and we have been supportive of each other’s bands over the years. Lee and myself spent around five years together in Khang, before they became Lazarus Blackstar. Izak, Lee and myself were in a band called The Dead Resurrected the other year and that was going quite well, but as a group we didn’t feel that the line up was able to reach it’s full potential as a band. So we disbanded.

A few months later I bumped into Damo and asked him if he fancied having a jam with me and Lee, he was well up for it. We got together and blasted out a few Khang tunes, but once we started writing it became apparent that we had hit on the core of a good band. Izak was playing with another band at the time but we asked him to get involved and that was that.

Q3 - Your all from brilliant bands from the UK Underground Metal scene. Was it an easy decision to join forces and form Monolith Cult. As some of the bands are from very different styles indeed.

Once we started writing it was very easy to realise that this was something good. Even though the other band styles may differ, the fact is that we all come from the same background and get to write something a bit different when Monolith Cult get together made it an easy choice.

Q4 - How did you come up with the name - Monolith Cult - Any particular reason behind it as well.

Damo came up with Monolith as a name, we decided to add the word Cult to give it a religious group feel, only with a truthful edge as the majority of religions would deny they are cults.

Q5 - Run From The Light. What an excellent album. Plus it's very dark with its tone, lyrics and content. Was that the plan to release something hard-hitting as that for your first release.

Thanks we are glad you like it. The music was always going to be dark with Lee’s guitar sound. Lyrically I enjoy writing about the darker psychology of humans, a lot of people seem to want to deny this part of their mind-set, but I like to embrace it and see where it takes me. Writing this kind of stuff is a good way of keeping sane in a world that is pretty fucked. I love the delusional nature of religion and it’s adherents, and the ignorance of the majority of the world’s population, which would rather listen to meaningless songs that relate to teenage fantasy rather than the cold hard truth.

There was no real plan when it came to writing the album, it came out the way it did for better or for worse.

Q6 - Was it an easy album to write and record for.

This album was very easy to write, things flowed right from the start. We worked hard on the songs and spent time rearranging things to get the right sounds, especially with the vocals. Some of the songs originally had different words and melodies going on in the choruses, but I spent time changing and improving these from how they were originally.

Q7 - Would you change anything about it. Any particular part or would you make it even darker if you could.

If we had the time and money we could have spent more time on it, there are a few lines where I would redo my vocals but as a whole it’s a fucking good album, Boulty who engineered it has captured a massive sound and in this day and age when bands are spending thousands on recording albums, I think we have created something fucking great for £700. We don’t mess around and we chose the right studio and person to get the sound we were after.

Q8 - Who came up with the album name - Run From The Light. Brilliant title as it's all about the darkness of the human spirit or human environment.

Originally the album was going to be called ‘Inspirational Anthems for Suicide’. But once the artwork started coming together Rich Militia from Solstice who was doing the cover suggested ‘Run From The Light’ as it fitted with the artwork and general feel of the songs, whilst also tipping it’s hat to ‘Trouble’. We thought it was a great idea.

Q9 - The UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is currently on the rise with many brilliant bands currently out there. Which bands are you currently digging. Any you like to recommend to our readers.

It is a great time at the moment and there are probably too many bands to mention but people should definitely check out Serpent Venom, Slomatics, Conan, Wizards of Firetop Mountain, Bastard of the Skies, Undersmile, Alunah, Riff Bastard, Groan, Gentlemens Pistols, The Human Condition and most definitely Argus.

Q10 - Do you guys have full times jobs to contend with. Or is music classed as your full time job.

As with many bands, we all have full time jobs, but music is something we are very passionate about, it is a great outlet for all the dark and negative thoughts that we encounter day to day. If you look at bands like Orange Goblin, it has taken them nearly 20 years to become full time musicians, they are fucking dedicated for the love not the money. I think when you play Hard Rock Doom Metal you are entering a niche world that exists through peoples love of the music, not aspirations of fame and fortune.

Q11 - Are your family and friends supportive of your music and the decisions you make when performing with your respective bands.

I would say all our family and friends are supportive of what we do musically even if they don’t necessarily like the music we play, they understand the belief and enjoyment we get out of playing this kind of music.

Q12 - Which bands and artists influence you on your music. And have you met any of your musical heroes.

I think we would all mention different bands as influences, for myself it would definitely be bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, Uriah Heep, Goatsnake and early Ozzy. Though I know Lee would say bands like The Obsessed and St. Vitus. We played with and met Wino when Khang supported Spirit Caravan years ago, same goes for Goatsnake who we also played with. There are also bands like Orange Goblin and Firebird who we are friends with. As for musical heroes, meeting Glenn Hughes a few times and Jake E Lee were cool times.

Q13 - How did you guys hook up with Future Noise Recordings. One of the best labels within the UK Underground.

We’ve known the Future Noise guys from the Khang days. Khang and Lazarus Blackstar have played many gigs set up by Future Noise. As for Monolith Cult, once they heard we had set up this new band they said they wanted to put out a release before they had even heard us. This was much appreciated and fills you with confidence that they have a belief in what you can do as a band. They obviously knew what we had done over the years in various bands and trusted that as Monolith Cult we could deliver the goods.

Q14 - Do you guys have plans to tour UK/Europe with your new album. Or is it just certain individual dates at the moment.

At the moment it’s just individual dates as we are waiting for the album release to try and get more gigs, next year we are hoping to be able to get involved with some of the British and European Doom and Metal festivals that have arisen over the last few years.

Q15 - What is your verdict on the UK Gig Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene. Lots of more great bands are starting to tour with a lot more festivals and venues starting to give bands like yourselves a place to perform.

The UK has been an erratic place to play over the years, but as you say these Festivals are giving bands the chance to play with like-minded bands, audiences and also good friends who have been slogging it out in this music scene for years.

Q16 - What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.

It varies, Lee sometimes comes in with a full structure for a song and we work around that. Other times either myself or Izak will come in with riffs and if they make the grade we will build on them into full songs. Damo is great and is really open to ideas and has injected energy into the band, firstly through being a great drummer and from being a friend who we have known since he was a teen who came along to Khang gigs.

Q17 - What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band. Obviously the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect.

The most rewarding aspect is writing the songs, we are all into creating original music Lee, Izak and myself ain’t youngsters and have always had the conviction that we wanted to write and continue to write Heavy music. We also appreciate the fact that people dig the music that we write.

The worst aspect of band life is travelling a 500 mile round trip and being given £20 for your efforts, we ain’t rich and at least covering fuel should be taken into consideration.

Q18 - If you could provide any advice to people wanting to start a band, what would it be.

Do what you want to, and mean it. If you are pretending to be part of a scene people can see through it.

Q19 - Finally do you have anything to say to our readers.

If you have read through till this point, thank you. Stay Heavy!

Well guys thanks for your time again. Best of luck with your excellent new album. Hope to see you guys perform at a gig one time.

Thanks to Dave at Future Noise for arranging the interview. And for the band for taking the time in doing the interview. Much appreciated.

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