This power-trio from Bremen has been performing their vision of psychedelic doom metal for about six years now. Black Sabbath fans should be happy with Monolith first full-length “Dystopia” and the second album named “Mountain” in hand. It will be released on March 18th by Final Gate Records, so don’t miss Monolith shows as they seriously plan to do a bunch of gigs here and there. Heralds of retro doom music goes steadily forward and Ralf Brummerloch (vocals, guitars) found some time to share latest news.
Hello Monolith! What's Monolith current status?
Currently we’re rehearsing the album’s songs. And we’re trying to get a foot in the door for a few festivals.
Your new album “Mountain” will be released by Final Gate Records on 18th of March. Are you planing to prepare a release party or tour to support the album?
Both actually. First there’s the release party on Friday 18th of March. After that we’re going on a tour and a couple of shows:
03/19/2016 tba @tba
03/20/2016 Leipzig @Black Label
03/21/2016 Hamburg @Bar 227
03/22/2016 Dortmund @Subrosa
03/23/2016 Hildesheim @VEB
03/24/2016 Wiesbaden @Kreativfabrik
03/25/2016 Halle @Hünermanhatten
04/22/2016 Berlin @HEADZ UP - Tiefgrund
04/23/2016 Chemniz @Zukunft
05/06/2016 Kassel @Goldgrube
05/07/2016 Bielefeld @Extra Bluesbar
“Mountain” artwork is something striking! Where did you get this sacred geometry?
Lovely isn’t it? As for our first album Rocket and Wink did the artwork for Mountain.
Of course it is. It’s always great to see something that was born not only of clichés and trends! But why did you choose this one? What was on your mind when you discussed it with Rocket and Wink?
Well, he asked us what the Album’s title was going to be and we told him that it was going to be Mountain. Then he made a couple of suggestions and we chose this one. We decided more upon instinct and intuition than on reason.
The band still holds the direction you took on debut work “Dystopia”, performing old school doom rock. What are objective differences between the albums?
Actually, to get rid of some clichés that people associate with doom rock. Not every song has to be overwhelmingly slow and brutal. This album has so much more to offer since we drew from various old-school-rock influences this time. And I think that I sound less like Ozzy on this one.
What attracts you to legacy of all these retro bands that influenced you - the sound, the spirit of that epoch or something else?
Their passion for music. The atmosphere bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin created. There is so much more depth in their songs than in those you can hear on the radio nowadays. And I love the fact that there are so many new bands around who actually feel the same way such as Orchid, Kadavar and all the others. Bands that do not care for airplay, but just do their kind of thing.
Is this music only for adults who grew on these old bands? Who are Monolith listeners?
Well, we have listeners of all ages. There are those who have actually witnessed the birth of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, as well as, young people who seek refuge from those “radio-pop-music-sound-alikes” who are becoming more and more boring and meaningless.
The band was formed as a trio with you, Andre and Ron. How long do you know each other? And what did you plan when you started to built your Monolith?
Well, back then we hadn’t known each other very well. We had seen one another in Bremen as we were all more or less actively making music. André played in a band called Monopilot, I used to play with Black Night Crash and Ron was a member of Dazed and Confused. Monopilot and Black Night Crash went on a three-day-tour together and Dazed and Confused had opened a show for Black Night Crash. When Dazed and Confused disbanded Ron sought for a new band and so André and Ron started jamming. They asked me to join them and I did. First Monolith was meant to be just for fun: drinking beer and fiddling around with a couple of tunes. Our idea was to play in such an awkward manner that no one would invite us to play a second show in their venue. But after Monopilot and Black Night Crash disbanded we decided on becoming ambitious.
Monolith took new bass player on board a year ago, how did you recruit Jann Worthmann? Did he take part in recording of “Mountain”?
He used to play with Eta Lux and André and Ron started jamming with him. Since I played bass with Monolith although I am actually a guitar player we asked Jann to come and join us and so he did. He actually took part in the recording of Mountain. He also contributed a few ideas and I think “Vultures” – the second song on the album – was his idea. We liked the song so much that we made a video for it.
Ralf, does Bremen and the entire region where you live have its own alternative scene?
Not that I knew. Bremen is not really known to be a “rock and roll town”. There are a few cool bands but most of them are unambitious. And there are no new comers. Most new bands are composed of the usual suspects who have been around for decades now.
So are you mostly influenced by exterior sources or are there small parts of Bremen here and there in your songs?
I cannot say. I exploit everything I can for the songs we write. Be it The Beatles, be it the weather or a newspaper article. If I can turn it into a song I will.
You sing in that popular manner which was set by Ozzy Osbourne. Do you see this kind of singing as necessary element for such music?
No, it is not. But in this genre everyone will think you sound like Ozzy if you sing with a clean, relatively high pitched voice, without distortion. What adds to the resemblance with Ozzy is that I recorded the vocals three times. If you mix those three vocaltracs, you will get a phasing/flanging or chorus effect which reminds you of Ozzy. However, if you listen to Black Sabbath, you will find out that he seldom used this effect and that I do not sound like him at all.
Oh, I see it now… Metal-archives show that your lyrical themes are “Doom, Seventies, Space, Cosmic”; how are these elements reflected in your songs?
I would not know about “Seventies”. “Doom” is maybe reflected in the way that I think, that our western society or call it capitalism is doomed. And you can always write a song about the cosmos or space.
There's song “Lies and Deceit” on “Mountain”, and as I get it, it has political critics consider EU government. What motivated you to write it?
Who told you that? It is true though. But I would not limit it to the EU government. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing constantly and nobody cares because we have television and the internet to distract us. What is more, TTIP is a threat to European economy and health but no politician really cared that the people did not want it.
Anyway, I do not like to talk about it. You can always write a song against politics and politicians. You do not even have to be well informed. Just write, “All politicians are liars, they do not keep their promises and do not care about the people.” Now find a rhyme for “promises” and “people” and there is your first stanza…
Ralf, what is Monolith overall message?
I do not think that we have one. Most of the lyrics on Mountain are quite personal and thus they are pretty much encrypted. But you know, I would not want to impose one way of decrypting our songs. Listen to the lyrics and give them your own message and meaning or just listen to the riffs and melodies and feel for yourself what those songs tell you. If you do not get any message at all then that is ok, too.
All I would want to say is, “If you dig this stuff, enjoy the trip.”
Thank you mate for your patience – I have no more questions for today! I wish you all the best on tour and with spreading of Monolith influence far outside the country. Good luck!
I would not know what else to say but, “If you like our music, be sure to get a copy of our new album Mountain. And if you really loved that and you do not know Dystopia yet, check out Dystopia too”?
Or how about, “Get yourself a guitar, some drums and a bass guitar. Tune low, play slow and make sure you play loud and make yourself heard”?
Anyway, thank you.
Interview by Aleksey Evdokimov/2016
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