Hi guys! First of all: Congratulations to the release of your excellent first full length album! Like many other people I've been waiting for this album since I first heard "We Are The Foundation" on the internet. I bet it must be a blast to know that the album is finally out and people can buy it all around the world. Or are you actually pretty cool about it?
We are all pretty cool about it but the excitement is there, but we understood when we signed to CM that everyone round the world would get to hear our music.
You chose Century Media as contract partner for the release. During the past months CM have been signing a lot of bands from or linked to the so called Djent scene. Do you feel "at home" at CM? Are you content with the work they have been doing for you so far?
CM are the best Metal label in the world in our eyes and we feel completely at home with them. We have met everyone at the European office and speak regularly to 3-4 people there who work day to day , Mel Scmidt especially, also Steve Joh in the U.S office of CM is always there for us to talk to so they make is really easy to work with them and bounce ideas off of.
For many young bands playing modern music the internet has become a very important if not the most important promo tool. For example, you are running your facebook site yourselves and there's a lot of activity going on, incl. much interaction between you and fans. Please share some of your experiences and wisdom regarding the importance of the internet for bands today. What are the pros and cons? What are the boundaries of your own work and where does the old "label/distribution" model have to kick in?
Well there are many pro’s in my eyes: I love that we can interact with fans of Monuments in far of places like India, Peru and Australia for example I also think its good for the band to personally use there FB and Twitter accounts as then you can keep in touch with the fans that are buying your music and your merch and you can find out what people would like to see on a t-shirt or you can put a nasty rumor to rest, which leads me to the cons.
So the cons are trolling for one. People say some pretty awful things on the internet. I don’t understand why as I'm sure 99% of them wouldn’t say most of this stuff to the artists faces and most of them just want some sort of attention from anybody. It's really sad. Also there is the torrent thing where your album leaks and everyone in the world has it before the release date and has paid nothing for it which I don’t personally agree with. People complain about the price of tickets to shows and merch but the reason for this is because the band needs to survive - otherwise they can't make music. I understood very clearly before we signed to CM that we would make no income form Album sales, it's sad but true.
Ok, let's talk a little bit about "Gnosis". You have been working some time on your first release, considering that "We Are The Foundation" was released in 2010, haven't you? Were there any specific reasons like line up problems or the missing record deal or did you just want to take your time so the outcome would be 100% satisfying? Now that the album is out, are you satisfied with "Gnosis"?
The only reason that held the album back were vocals. We parted company with the old vocalists and the completed album just sat there on Brownes computer until now when we found Matt Rose. If we had found him sooner then we would have released "Gnosis" sooner. But good things come to those who wait. ;)
What can you tell us about the gorgeous cover artwork of "Gnosis" and the artist who did it? I think the artwork directly refers to one of the lyrical main topics on the album, doesn't it?
Ah yes, the great Fall McKenzie came up with the artwork concept for "Gnosis". He also designs all the merch and the logo - basically any Monuments image is him. He is a genius and the whole world should get to know him and his talents. He has known the band for a long time and understands the band's philosophy and spiritual thinking and he also really gets the music so he knew what was needed in the way of imagery for "Gnosis".
Like many modern progressive metal bands your sound is defined by interplay of harsh, aggressive parts and melodic, sometimes almost relaxing parts. Nevertheless my impression of "Gnosis" is that it's a much darker and "metallic" album than the outputs of many of your musical colleagues like for example Periphery. Am I wrong with this impression? If not what do you think is the root of this "dark side"? Your musical influences or the lyrics maybe?
Yes, I would say your right. We are a lot darker/angry than some of the other bands but we have good reason to be as we all feel like we are being cheated and constantly lied to and misinformed. Plus we also feel that there seems to be a serious lack of education in the right areas of life and our plan through our music and lyrics is to awaken people to the real truths of the world.
Lyrics: Well, I (Matt Rose) was a big fan of Alice in Chains and Rage against the machine and both bands are not exactly your happy go lucky but they speak the truth and the truth for me mostly is always dark and merky - whether you are talking about your addiction to heroin or the corruption of government. I always try to write songs that are gonna change things and be truthful and maybe challenge people's view points and make people look at there own views and beliefs and make them ask questions... not only to themselves but to there local politicians to there teachers and even to their parents..
This is a great quote: “If you stand for nothing then you will fall for anything”.
Speaking of musical colleagues: Do you see yourself as part of the Djent scene or are you already sick of this term? If you had to give you music a label what would you prefer?
We don’t mind the label Djent but we don’t see our music as belonging to just that genre. For me its definitely meta and its certainly technical but there’s a lot of Big Dick Grooves in there also so I would call it big dick groovy tech metal.
What's your relationship to other bands of this "genre"? Do you think that Djent is just a temporary trend or will it be established as new permanent scene within the bigger context of progressive music?
Everyone in Monuments respects the other bands around us cause we know how hard it is and what it takes to get this far in music. A lot of sacrifices get made to be in a band. Also there are some great bands out there which you can't help but get inspired by.
What are the most important influences on your music? This doesn't have to be only musicians or bands, please name whoever or whatever you would count as important for the evolution of the sound and the philosophy of Monuments.
Influences wise we are all very different but share some common ground., Meshuggah is definitely a band we are all into as are D.E.P and Deftones, but we all love a wide range of different genres from Jazz, Funk, Soul, DnB, and Dubstep. I personally am a massive fan of Stevie Wonder, Jeff Buckley, RHCP, Bobby Mcfaren, Skrillex, Ray Lamantagne and the Black Keys to name but a few, but right now I'm listening to Damian Marley and Nas a hell of a lot.
Other influences are (again I'm naming just a few): Christopher Hitchens, Noam Chomsky and Bill Hicks as well as some of the old beat poets like Allen Ginsberg, William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. We all also keep a keen eye on political and environmental issues and injustices. There are plenty of those to fuel our fires. Some of us also are really into space and the study of ancient civilizations.
At the end I'd like to play a game. No, this is not "Saw", don't be afraid. ;)
Please write down your very first thoughts about the following bands or artists I name:
Fucking awesome crazy man
Cock suckers ;)
One good song
And that's it. Thanks a lot for taking the time and answering my questions. I wish you all the best with "Gnosis" and for your tour with Jeff Loomis, Vildhjarta and Stealing Axion!