Monday, May 13, 2013

New Tunes, Old Monk... and Constant Yearning.

Hey there Internetz!  We have a special treat for you!  Meet Old Monk!  They are one of those rare bands who are interesting but still simple...  Musicianship plus melodies...  Familiar, yet fresh... Whatever... you're just gonna have to hear them...  Anyhow, we are super lucky to have them playing Hearts Bleed Radio's 3rd showcase.  I sat down with Josh and Ian via Gchat, here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: You guys kinda started out as a long distance project.  How did that happen?

Joshua: Well, I play guitar and Ian plays drums. I met Ian during a short stint I had living in Colorado. Then I moved to New York. We wrote a couple of songs long distance and then he finally moved out here to start the band for real. We had a couple of bassists for a short period, one of which moved to Korea. Then we met Tsugumi and Old Monk happened.

HBR: What was that process like? Writing songs together that far apart, how quick was the turnaround? How much longer did it take to complete like, a 3 min song? Or was it just as quick?

Joshua: It depends really, inspiration hits you at funny times. Sometimes you have huge spurts of creativity
and then you get a bunch of stuff banged out... I'd send it over to Ian and he'd listen and come up with stuff to add.

Ian: The quality was not studio quality, for sure. The ideas were there, and when we finally met up we just had the meat and polished it. Polished meat.

HBR: Maybe, "seasoned meat"? No, I think I like "polished meat" better.

Joshua: Ha.

Ian: Me too. The trading process though, in all seriousness, was just a bunch of ideas, not songs that were album quality. So the turnaround was quick and easy.

Joshua: Ian recorded his with a rock band mic.

This photo makes perfect sense if you stare at it long enough...

HBR: Well, I'm pumped about this show, I can't wait to play with you guys. Are you striving for a certain sound, or are you just like, infected by your influences? 

Ian: Well I did have a crazy night with Pissed Jeans one night, and I think they infected me a lot. Same with Marc Bolan.

HBR: Haha

Ian: Influences just keep changing which is cool too. We both get obsessed with something cool and I think we can't help but let it affect our song writing for the next "x" months.

HBR: I think I could guess a bunch of your influences from like, the 90's/early 00's, who are you guys listening to now?

Joshua: Actually right this second we're listening to that John Lennon rock and roll record, it's pretty sweet... But in general ...

Ian: I like the heavier stuff. Josh does too, but I really listen to it waaaaay too much. He was making fun of my Spotify likes because it was all Jesus Lizard, Karp, Sir Lord Baltimore, Pissed Jeans. I like mean music, but you can't take The Beatles out of us. we still love songs and melody.

Joshua: Such melody suckers... So much Beatles, Bowie...

Ian: We are also prog rock nerds...

Joshua: Classics...

Ian: So we listen to Yes and Gentle Giant and King Crimson and ELP and Rush and...

Joshua: Zappa

HBR: I gotta say, I usually dig the bands who listen to harder stuff and then go out and make, like, compact melodic pop rock songs, way more than people who are 100% into modern indie pop.

Ian: Agreed my friend. Agreed... Will you be my friend? Don't want to make this weird...

HBR: Yes, I'll be your friend. But for the duration of the interview I must remain professional.

Ian: Of course.

HBR: I wouldn't have really guessed you guys were into prog, but now you say that, I hear it in little bursts within your stuff. So... I'm listening to "Birds of Belize" right now. Sounds great. Where did you guys record it? How did the sessions go?

Ian: Seaside Lounge in Park Slope. The sessions were great, we busted out 13 songs I think... in one day. Just me and Josh. We had just played so long and so much that we were well rehearsed.

Joshua: Some of them were brand new though... "Peat Moss" was like the 3rd time we've ever played it, and that was the take we took.

Ian: Two takes for each song and we just kept going on to songs we weren't even sure would be on a record, (but) they ended up working out. The engineer we had was great and he just kept saying, "if you have another one, do it." ...and of course we had a million.

HBR: It has that kind of energy to it. I was talking to Paper Fleet the other day, they busted out their new album like that too, and it also has a lot of energy. Could you ever see yourselves going into the studio with nothing and like, trying to compose in there? Provided you had the money/time...

Ian: Phew. Doubtful. There is an "over-thinking it" aspect that comes into play I think, for us anyway. Everyone is different... Like, if we had the money and time to go to a remote location and party and eat great food and record something as we came up with it, that would be amazing.

HBR: Josh, the guitar sound on "Birds" is great, what are you using pedal-wise?

Joshua: I'm actually using pedals I made, Two main ones... One was based off of a Tubescreamer and the other is based off of a Honey Bee. And I used a Fulltone 69 Fuzz for a few parts, I think.

HBR: Does "Skullsplitter" feature the Fuzz pedal? Super Hendrix-y guitar lead there..

Joshua: Yeah, there's a few things going on there. I'm playing through a 60's Gibson amp, which is just naturally super fuzzy, and then through my pedal actually, the honey bee based one.

HBR: Let's talk about the single that was featured on Prefix, "Seymour". What's the song about?

Joshua: It's about this, "Often I sit, and I yearn." So great. Actually, I made a music video for it too. It's coming out next week I think Tuesday. The video explores the yearning situation more... Looking to the past... Yearning for stuff...

HBR: You guys are coming out with 3 more singles, then a full length?

Joshua: Yeah. Singles should be July, September, and December, I think. We're working on another video now, for the next single. I'm going to animate it again. Ian and I wrote the story line.

HBR: How far along is the album?

Joshua: Pretty much done, a little bit more tracking to do. And a lot of mixing, but most of it is done. Tsugumi is engineering it, it's going to be sweet.

HBR: What are we gonna hear at the show? "Birds", new album? older stuff? A mix?

Old Monk in action....

Joshua: Hmm... We haven't decided on our set-list yet, we always look way ahead. 

Ian: Mostly "Holy Diver," by DIO.

Joshua: We may play stuff that's even newer than what's going on the newest record.

Ian: I think eight songs. New-heavy, I think... A couple of "planes" covers...

HBR: C'mon guys, I'm on the hook for this show, I don't want a riot to break out... Ok, I guess one DIO cover is fine.

Joshua: Ha.

HBR: I actually always wanted to learn another bands set and like, play it right before them, as a joke.

Joshua: That would be awesome, especially if they were really bad.

Ian: Well, none of us are bad, so we will have to practice this another time..

HBR: Or just some random local band who wasn't your friends or anything... So we got the show on 5/17, the video coming out next week... Anything else coming up in the world of Old Monk?

Joshua: More gifs.

Ian: Josh is pregnant. Sorry.

HBR: No one was supposed to know! But I HAVE TO PRINT THAT NOW! (sigh). Who do you guys like playing with, or checking out, or being impregnated by? Who are some good local bands we should be listening to?

Ian: Vulture Shit.

Joshua: They are so good.

Ian: Low Fat Getting High

: I've been listening to Landlady a lot.

Ian: We are in Plates of Cake also, and we like them.

Joshua: Tropical Ooze is really great.

Ian: Beasty

HBR: Nice, I know Low Fat, I'll have to check out the others. When the new album comes out, vinyl, CD's, cassettes, purely digital? What are we supposed to do in 2013? iPhone app?

Ian: I think there will be a little chip in your eye that you can download by blinking really fast 12 times. We are guinea pigs in that experiment... Also vinyl.

Josh: Eye-tunes...

Come on down to Matchless and check these guys out!  RSVP for the show ---> here.

Check out Old Monk ----> here.\

And like Hearts Bleed Radio on Facebook ------------> here.

Any questions for Old Monk?  Leave a comment below.  

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