In the run up to the release of their new EP Bad Blood on 13th May we caught up with Derry hard rock act Making Monsters to discuss their progression, being an independent band, the local Northern Ireland music scene and their plans for the future.
Your new EP is a marked progression for the band, what do you feel is different and why did you make the change to your sound?
With this EP, it wasn’t really a conscious decision to have a different sound from the previous material, but more of a natural progression. Having spent so much time in our rehearsal space, every single week for the last few years resulted in an overall improvement in songwriting and playing ability for everyone, and a more mixed range of sounds. Now listening back in comparison to our older stuff, we can certainly hear a difference, but we definitely think its a good change! The new EP isn’t as heavy as our usual stuff, but still has its surprise crazy sections, more vocal harmonies and gang vocals, its more experimental in all areas, from the guitar pedals used, to the drum beats, to the vocal style.
Were there any bands that you took inspiration from when recording Bad Blood?
Again the sound we ended up with wasn’t really something we were aware of when making the record, but listening back I think you can hear a lot of what we were listening to at the time, and some similarities to bands we toured with. Punk-ish vibes similar to our old tour buddies Max Raptor shine through on the track ‘We Aren’t Living’, and a lot of people have referred to ‘Better’ as similar to Deftones, which is a massive a compliment and at the same time makes sense, as we are all huge fans.
Bad Blood is all self-released. Does having more control over the record outweigh the advantages of having the backing of a record label?
It is indeed, whether or not it outweighs the backing of a record label, we can only guess as we have never released a record with a proper label. But it has definitely been cool being your own boss, and making the decisions between ourselves and our management. Funding the whole thing ourselves has been difficult but well worth it, it feels more rewarding doing it DIY, but then again label support and guidance would be nice! Doing it ourselves in our opinion, is the truest representation of us, and who we really are, we recorded the songs that WE wanted to record, in our own time, without any pressure or a criteria to meet.
Tell us a bit about the writing and recording process.
We started writing these tracks throughout 2014, and then returned to Manor Park studios with Neal Calderwood towards the end of the year. They were recorded in groups of 2 at a time, through 3 visits to the studio spanning from late 2014 to mid 2015. We think this has helped create a variety of sounds, as apposed to them all being written and recorded in a close time frame.
The EP is full of big songs, what your favourite(s) and why?
Our favourite live track is probably ‘Bad Blood’, we normally start our set with this one, it just feels so effective and burst in straight after the opening riff. Other than that, ‘Better’ is a favourite. We’re just really pleased with how it turned out, and progressed during the writing process, it’s a good middle ground and overall representation of our current sound.
You’re now one of the very few bands from Northern Ireland that could potentially breakthrough into the rock mainstream. Do you think the broad spectrum of rock music is still as strong locally or has the scene died in the last couple of years?
Honestly, the scene is a pretty bad state lately which is sad to say. But it seems to be slowly coming back, whilst many great bands are calling it a day over here, there are some amazing new acts emerging, such as Phoxes, Lost Avenue, Touts, to name a few. We kind of feel like the old guys now going into our 5th year and alot of the others slowly disappearing. Staying positive and persevering isn’t easy with the current state of music today, but remembering why we’re doing this, and enjoying making music with good friends has been a key principle for us.
What advice would you give to new bands starting out?
Make the music that YOU want to make, practice as much as you possibly can, and play outside of your hometown as much as possible. It’s so easy to get stuck in a routine, become the biggest and best you can in the area you’re from, but then reach further!
How has the added press attention to Making Monsters (Radio 1 Rock Show, Tip of the Week BBC Introducing etc) affected the band?
The reception to the new music has been extremely overwhelming, and entirely worth the wait. It just feels like such a relief to know that the people within the industry we have been hoping to reach for so long are now listening and enjoying it, the possible new listeners that can be gained from good press in invaluable.
What does the rest of 2016 hold for Making Monsters?
We plan to tour the new record as much as possible, after these Irish shows, the mainland is top priority. We are coming back, bigger and better than before, we promise! Towards the end of the year we plan to hit the studio to make a start on the debut album, we can’t wait!
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