“Tech-metal”, “Djent”, “Progressive Metal”, “Groove Metal”…whatever you want to call them, it doesn’t really matter, because none of these terms truly do any justice to the colossal giants collectively knows as Monuments. Their sound captivates the listener right from the swirling intros to the brutal endings. Having formed in the UK initially as a side project of John Browne (guitars; Fellsilent) and Josh Travis (guitars; The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza), the band has since released two albums (Gnosis in 2012 and The Amanuensis in 2014, both through Century Media Records) and have spearheaded their genre (whatever it may be) with successful tours around the globe. And, finally, our little armpit of Africa will play host to this epic force of melody and brutality thanks to the good people at Turning Tricks Entertainment who are bringing these Titans of Metal to the Krank’d Up Festival at Sundowners in Alberton on 26 September. Kevin Rule managed to ask them a few sneaky questions (read “fangirled all over the place”) ahead of their first visit to the country.
First off, let me say that we are very grateful that you have agreed to come to our beautiful country and share your fantastic live show with us. Have any of you been here before? If not, what have you heard, and are you scared of lions rummaging through your bags at the airport?
Haha, I hope it’s totally like that scene in Jumanji, where a lion just appears and tries to attack! None of us have been to south africa, we’re pretty stoked about visiting what we’ve heard is a beautiful country! I’ve heard there’s a big fucking ship that resides of Joberg!
Turning Tricks have brought Dead Letter Circus down to South Africa twice now, I was wondering if playing in SA ever come up in conversation during your headlining tour with them through the UK in 2014, and, if so, did their opinion help you guys decide to also come here for Krank’d Up?
Our tour with dead letter circus was actually in 2013! and they said it was awesome there. We have some friends down there that have been on our case for a LONG time trying to get us to come. We couldn’t be more stoked that we have people that have wanted to see us play for a long time! We want to invade all corners of the globe with our grooves!
What other countries have Monuments yet to conquer?
We have all of south america, most of asia yet to conquer. I’m not quite sure how our music would go down in the middle east/central africa but i’d still love to try! We played in India a few years ago and we got a reception I would have never of imagined! They fucking love the big dick grooves.
I’ve always wondered, when a band plays in a country they haven’t been to before, do you think it’s better to keep with your current setlist, or maybe break out a few more oldies?
We will definitely do a range from both albums. We tend to go for the fiestier songs for the larger crowds to get people more involved. Faster, angrier ones so to speak, but you may very well get to hear some of our perceptions of Ballads!
You guys have gone through a couple of member changes over the years, do you feel now that the ship has settled somewhat and the focus can now really shine through in the song-writing process?
Song writing is down to a moment for sure and the connection between each member. I’m hoping that we can explore that option more on this next record! Anup and olly are both good songwriters, and Chris aint all that shabby on the guitar either!
Before Chris Barretto joined the band, you guys asked fans to send in auditions for a song called The Indulger, which went on to become the track ‘I, The Creator’ on the album. What was that process like, and what made you decide on Chris?
Chris’ was the best audition hands down, there were some great auditions though, namely Maxi curnow and a guy from Chicago area called Jesse Ray. He had this AWESOME blues style thing going on with his voice and regardless of who we chose, both these guys had their own thing going on. Chris’ sound just worked more for the direction we were aiming to go, that coupled the fact that we’d toured with him before and we got on with him which is a huge part of being in a band. It’s not all that different from a marriage without the sex.
Mr. Browne, you’ve released quite a few guitar play-throughs and lessons etc. etc. Does it feel good to make every other guitar player feel inadequate? To make them drop a guitar and say “never again”? Hehe no of course I’m playing around, but seriously, do you enjoy the connection you get with the fans through all these vids?
Haha that’s totally not my goal to do that. I just spent a lot of time focusing on my playing to where people seem to dig what I do. I literally copied what James Hetfield does. All downpick, zero fucks. It’s great to see people appreciate it though. As much as I don’t think most of the stuff I write is hard to play, it’s good to see that my years of focusing on this technique has worked out haha.
One of the most common comments on the videos is your downpicking speed….who would win in a competition? You or 1989 James Hetfield?
There’s no comparison. Have you seen battery live in 1989 in seattle? I’ll suck his dick to get that right hand. Even Lars was good then! Give that man some more cocaine.
What can the South African audience expect from Monuments come September 26?
Anger, heaviness and a whole lot of horny.
One last question. Batman vs Superman……who wins and why?
Batman…Because he is the badman.
Thank you very much for your time!
Interviewed by: Kevin Rule (more from Kevin)
Shots Fired by: Iggy
Date: August 2015
Follow MONUMENTS on: