Wed, 04 Aug 2010 18:13:58
MonstrO might just singlehandedly revive psychedelic hard rock.
The Atlanta quartet conjure up a daze of distortion that's reminiscent of early Soundgarden and Kyuss, but they have a staggering sense of rhythm that pummels at all the right moments. Comprised of Charlie Suarez, Juan Montoya [ex-Torche] and Bevan Davies and Kyle Sanders [ex-Bloodsimple], MonstrO have the power to scare a sense of history back into modern rock. From the seesawing stomp of "Helios" to the aural journey on "April," MonstrO roar like no one else out there right now.
About his new musical beast, Sanders exclaims, "We can do whatever we want. The creative process has been so natural. It's an amazing thing. We'll be in the rehearsal room for hours just jamming!"
That jamming his given birth to some formidable and epic tunes!
Kyle Sanders sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to discuss the birth of MonstrO and more in this exclusive interview.
How did everything with MonstrO come about?
The last show Bloodsimple played was in April 2008. Some issues came up, and the other dudes were dealing with personal things. I thought it was going to be a short little break, but one month turned into two. Then the whole summer went by. We were turning down tours, and it was obvious that it was over, which sucked so bad. It was so hard to get past. Then it took me awhile to figure out which way to go. I knew I had to play and stay productive. Was I going to look for a project to jump into though? There wasn't really anything that interested me that much. The whole thought of starting over and finding new people was a bit depressing too. After a long enough time, it was time to get back on the horse and start moving forward again. Bevan [Davies] is in the band; he was in Bloodsimple at the end. We were both on the same page, ready to stick together and keep going. Juan [Montoya] was actually in Torche right about the same time. I went out to hang out with my brother at a Mastodon show, and it was Juan's last show with Torche. We began talking and we bonded. We got on the same page with what we wanted to do in the future. We decided after January 1st, 2009, we'd get together and see what happens. Juan, Bevan and I started writing, and everything just began flowing.
So the chemistry was instantaneous?
Well, we had tons of really good music, but we weren't sure what kind of vocals to put over it. I never had to look for a singer before in my whole career, so that was a new one [Laughs]. Charlie [Suarez] was an old friend of Juan's. We began sending him some music to see what he could do with it. In his previous band, he was a guitar player singing back-up vocals. However, he had a really cool distinct voice and he can genuinely sing. He was definitely on the right page. Everybody in the band knew what kind of vocals we didn't want, but we weren't sure who was going to sing over this stuff. Once Charlie came into the mix, he started writing vocals for everything we had. He was catching up with all the music we wrote, and then it was time for us to start writing more. That brings us to where we are now. Bevan, Juan and I get together a lot, and Charlie flies back and forth from Miami. We hit the studio and book a show within the same time and keep on rolling with it.
When we're all together, things happen really quickly. We're so productive in the small amount of time we're together. It's amazing!
The music is really unique and boundless, but the hooks still pound.
Exactly! We're definitely not out to write hook-y songs; all of these songs start out as instrumentals. We're like, "Man, this music is awesome!" I could see this stuff on soundtracks. That's why we didn't know who would sing over it though because some of it is so out there [Laughs]. Everything Charlie was singing fit so well though, and he had no part of writing the first few songs. Now that he's involved in the writing, it's hopefully going to get that much better.
It's reminiscent of Kyuss but with a heavier edge.
When I listened back to the first couple songs we wrote, I thought, "This reminds me of Kyuss and Soundgarden." There's some trippy Beatles and Pink Floyd-style parts. It's psychedelic and heavy. It's not over-the-top heavy though. There are a lot of different elements in there.
"April" was definitely a personal favorite. What's the story behind that one?
Me too! "April" is one of the first songs that we wrote together. It all came together with the way Charlie sang. It's an epic song, man. It gives people a good idea of where this band is headed. The song has every element that we're into. It's one of those trippy, dreamy psychedelic tracks that flows the whole time. It's got that groove going the whole way as well. We went into the studio here in Atlanta and one of them is along those lines as well. One is straight-up rock. There's a slower psychedelic track, and then there's another song that's more progressive and upbeat like Rush, Yes or something weird like that [Laughs].
Does it always begin with jamming?
That's how it all starts. Juan has so many riffs. Every time we walk into a room, he just starts playing something. We've never stood there and stared at each other, waiting for someone to play. Usually, it'll be Juan playing something that he just came up with the night before or in the morning. Then the three of us will jam on the same thing for 20 or 30 minutes and keep on going until it finally starts to take direction. That's how every song so far has come about. Not one song has been written on a computer or with Pro Tools. It's all been in a room. Then we record it on a video camera to get the ideas down. We'll send them to Charlie. He'll start getting his vocal ideas and any input he has. Every song thus far has started out as a full on jam which is awesome. It hasn't been like that for me in a long time.
It really comes to life when the vocals are added too. Charlie paints some vivid lyrical images.
It does! This whole band took such a different turn once he was in the picture. The way his vocals and melody lines are is just awesome. We were all into it to start with, but when Charlie came along it just fit in so well and perfectly. All of his ideas and lyrics are great. It all fell into place like that.
The music's got this monstrous sound that it matches the name.
Every name we came up with sucked, but "Monstro" was agreed upon immediately. We got a decent name, and then we knew we could move on [Laughs].
Check out MonstrO here!