The Since Monroe Interview

One year since their formation UK indie rock band Since Monroe have garnered a strong and enthused attention and just as eager acclaim for their energetic and punchy rock, punk, and garage rock sounds. The Birmingham band is one that whether on stage or with their studio recordings leaves one wanting more, something their debut EP Lost Generation which they released on their own label Younitee fully proves. Seizing on the chance offered to find out more about the band we had the pleasure of asking Since Monroe all about them, the EP and more.

Hey Guys, thanks for talking to us.

Thanks for having us!

Would you first just introduce the band?

Trig – Vocals, guitar (25)

Andy – Lead guitar (27)

Matt – Bass (19)

James – Drums (27)

How did you all meet and what was the inspiration to start Since Monroe?

Trig: Andy and James have known each other a while and they had some ideas to start a band with catchy riffs and also a pop element. They had previously been in a band together before Since Monroe (Paradise Valley). When James realised that his Alan Partridge style vocals were not happening, they asked me to join. I knew the guys through mutual friends. Matt joined when the original bass player Ben left to pursue his music teaching career. Andy and James are the riffs, Matt and I are the melody makers!

So Since Monroe is not your first venture as musicians?

Matt: We’ve all got a wealth of experience. James has been in several bands (Governors of California), as has Andy and they were in Paradise Valley together. Myself and Trig (who is my brother) were in a band called Wiseacre. I also have a solo acoustic project with 2 EPs to date.

Just a year old the band seems to have grown and drawn eager attention at a rapid rate from almost day one. How has it been and felt being on the inside?

Andy: It has been quite overwhelming so far. We cannot believe the speed at which things have picked up, long may it continue!

Tell us about the eye catching and thought inviting band name.

James: Well I thought “Monroe” would have been a cool iconic name for obvious reasons and the rest of the lads idolise her.  But we decided it needed another word to it and “since” was the most interesting one I could come up with rather than obvious one’s like “Dead Monroe” (which is a bit morbid anyways), and many terrible others.  I think there’s only one Since Monroe which gives us a major score on google’s search engine.

Your sound has a deeply varied flavour which sees different people calling it different things. How do you describe your music?

Trig: 90s rock with a modern twist of pop, riffs and melodies. We just want to be the new Weezer! (laughs)

What are the major influences that have helped shape your music?

Matt: Bands like Foo Fighters, Weezer, Nine Black Alps and Arctic Monkeys. We aim to get a mix of pop and hard rock in all of our songs.

And for your personal playing styles?

Andy: Face melter!

James: Loud and energetic.

Trig: Weird chords and lots of feedback.

Matt: Melodic Bass, but can crank it up when needed.

You have just released your impressive debut EP Lost Generation. How has the response been so far?

James: I’ve been impressed with the positive feedback and great reviews we’ve been getting (including the one from yourselves), we find out soon how we are doing sales wise, fingers crossed!

Tell us about the four songs that make up Lost Generation.

Andy: Well DJ was written just as Valley was finishing, the idea came about from overhearing a phone conversation as well as a viral campaign by a fuel named brand of jeans.  The actual meaning of the song is pretty dirty I’m surprised no one has figured it out yet or it may just be our warped little minds.  The rest of the songs are little digs at the state of music at the moment with likes of X factor.      

Where do you get your inspiration for the songs, especially lyrically?

Trig: I like to write fun lyrics, but I also like to have a pop at other bands, people in the music industry and make tongue in cheek remarks. Lost Generation is about how music reality TV shows are getting far more attention and critical acclaim than artists who write their own material, which I think is killing original music.

How does the song writing process work within the band?

James: Well we have different ways of writing, sometimes me and Andy will work through an idea and let that evolve into a song or other times Trig and Matt will bring an idea to the table and that’ll turn into something after a bit of a jam, the basic ideas are always structured beforehand though.  It’s very rare for all 4 of us to be in the studio at the same time and come up with a song.

What is the most often seed to your songs, music or lyrics?

Matt: Definitely music, but we still take writing lyrics just as serious.

Is the quartet of songs on the EP the first songs you have written? I ask as I know you are writing and working on an album now too.

Trig: They are four of many songs that we have written, but I would include them as part of our 1st era. I think the 2nd era will be a little heavier!

How did you record the EP, as a lot of bands do as live takes to get that raw and energetic power you have on it?

James: You won’t believe this but it was recorded over two days in a practice room at a studio in Birmingham between Christmas and New Year, we made it our home for two days solid, the tracks were done individually but we’re glad we caught the raw element still which is hard to do when you go into proper production.  We have plans in place to try it a bit differently with the next release so we’ll see how that goes.

Tell us about the EP cover, any meaning behind it or just a simple fun picture?

Andy: It was an idea I had and I made it myself out of plasticise, the bear is a bit of an in-band joke.

Does the EP give us a deep flavour of the album or will there be many more surprises and directions involved?

James: The EP is just a taster, the free track giveaway is probably more of an indication of where we’ll be going, the pop will still be there though don’t panic!

And a release date for the album?

Trig:  With how well things are going at the moment we hope it will be the fall of 2012.

As you mentioned you are currently giving away a free track off the forthcoming album. Tell us about that and where people can grab the great track.

James: You can get the free track by going over to http://soundcloud.com/altpr/matchstick-house

From the vibrant and energetic tracks on the EP one gets the impression live you leave nothing in the locker?

Andy: Absolutely! Gigging is the best part of being in a band and we go for it on stage. You find it can take days to fully recover, especially for James with how hard he hits that kit, he needs to calm down a bit!

You come from Birmingham and one assumes there is a healthy scene for new bands there. What is the reality especially in finding gigs to play?

Matt: You’d think so; however, it’s pretty quiet. Birmingham has always been known for its Metal bands and that is the main scene you get.  It’s relatively easy to get a show its just getting the support which is a great effort. There are some great venues to play though like the Academy and the Flapper and Firkin.

Where is the best place for people to find out your upcoming shows?

James: Best place for people to check is out bandage tab over at our Facebook page which you can find by going to http://www.sincemonroe.com

Other than working on the album what have you in store for 2012?

Andy: Just to get our sound out there as much as possible and keep playing the shows, it’s our best chance of doing anything musically anyways.

Do you set yourselves targets or just let things evolve as they do?

Trig: A bit of both really. When we first started we had targets such as writing and recording demos. Then that evolved into the EP and then the progression started and doors opened to other opportunities, i.e. radio play and a festival slot at Gosport on June 3rd.

Any bands you would especially like to share stages with?

Trig: Nine Black Alps and Biffy Clyro are up there. We have enjoyed sharing the stage with our friends the Plastic Glasses on numerous occasions.

Once more great thanks for talking to us. Any last words you would like to share with your fans?

James: Please buy the EP so I can get myself a new pair of jeans (just joking), on a serious note for anyone who has brought the EP we’d like to say a huge thank you and please come check us out at a show, empty rooms put frowns on Trig and Matts’s faces :-(

And finally leave us with a song that has inspired and lifted you the most no matter what the day and life brings.

Build me up buttercup…..

Read the review of the Lost Generation EP @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/since-monroe-lost-generation/

The RingMaster Review 24/04/2012

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