INTERVIEW: SINCE MONROE

Since Monroe

Starting back in March 2011, Andy Clifford and James Bradley had a musical vision to write music that was simple, catchy, riff driven and would reach out to a mass audience. Adding fellow band members Matt Tregortha and Trig along the way, the band have embarked on recording their debut EP – which will be released on the bands own label. Leo Kindred spoke to Andy Clifford about the band, their sound and the debut EP.
What are you up to right now?

Right now we are multitasking answering these questions while out the same time plugging the EP to death over on our social sites on facebook and twitter (see what I did there?).

When you started what were you trying to do?

When we started initially as a two piece it was just a jamming session – James and myself  in a studio all by ourselves with a riff that would end up becoming DJ , we treated the whole project with a bit of tongue in cheek and spent a good 20 mins laughing to ourselves at what we done, partially in shock at how good we thought it sounded and at how easy it came to us.

We all love riffs and you certainly don’t shy away from them, would you say you’re fundamentally a guitar riff band?

I guess you could say we are, we all bring our own style and influences into what we do but try to focus around a catchy riff or chord progression.

Your debut EP Lost Generation literally just came out, it manages to sound fresh and classic at the same time; how do you walk the line between homage and creating something new?

Tricky to answer, but I think the idea is to write a song without the mindset of ‘I’m going to make something new or cutting edge’.

When you’re in your own band and play your songs over and over, you tend to get a feel for what characterises and defines your music. It could be guitar effects, intricate chord sequences or playing style. Our approach is to write what you want as long as you like it.
How long has the EP been coming? Was it difficult to get your ideas down or did it flow very naturally?

This time last year James and I wrote what was to become the song ‘DJ’. We felt we were on to a good thing with it but it wasn’t until Trig and Matt joined that we knew just how well it would work.

So far, everything has felt very natural and we all have ideas to put forward.
Some songs we have to work harder on to make work and others just happen by chance, messing around or jamming out for no reason what so ever.
Does the title of your EP relate to anything specific?

Relates to the music of today and how it’s manufactured and shows a lack of artists who write their own songs, how an entire musical generation as been lost in essence.

How’s the reaction been to it and I take it you’re pleased with it yourselves?

The feedback so far has been overwhelming to say the least. We was never expecting it to be this good but the real test is whether people will take a punt on us and download the EP or turn up to any of our shows.

You’re currently doing some live dates in the UK, including Sheffield at The South Sea where I used to drink as a student, have you been getting some good turn outs to shows?

Yeah the turn outs have been really good even though we’ve only just started the tour. We had fun playing in Sheffield because people were responsive to us which was a nice change from Birmingham.
As much as we love playing in our home town, it gets boring playing in the same places to the same reactions sometimes.
Sheffield was a nice change of scenery and we hope the upcoming shows will be as enjoyable.
Where’s been the best gig for yourselves?

Playing at the O2 Academy 3 in Brum was a good show, place was pretty packed out and we got offered another show there off the back of our performance.

One particular show we’re looking forward to doing is the Gosport Festival, to have got ourselves any sort of festival slot in our 1st year as a band has got to be some achievement.

I’m glad you don’t back down from some distortion and not afraid to bring some volume to your work, because it seems a little to me that some bands that want to make rock now step away from the distortion a little – I take it that’s not your style?

James only has one volume and that’s loud! We have to crank things up just so we can hear ourselves. But we are very much a distortion-based band.

We are open to all sorts of styles of music though so won’t rule out a more chilled out sound if the mood calls for it…we’re just loving the sound we have at the moment.

Which bands and artist have been an influence on you as a band and make you want to pick up an instrument and do what you do?

Bands like Weezer, Foo Fighters, Nine Black Alps, Nirvana…pretty much any 90’s alternative rock/grunge bands have had an influence on us at some point or another. For most of us we grew up listening to these bands (except Matt as he is the baby of the band, although he shares similar tastes), so it’s naturally the music we love and are influenced by.

We each have our other individual influences that we bring to make the sound we have, Trig and Matt tend to bring the grunge side of things where as James and I add the Rock/Pop element to the music we write. We like to think it’s a good blend of the two.

You’re out doing gigs at the moment, your new EP’s come out – looking ahead what are you aiming at; have you got plans for a new release down the line, any more dates later in the year?

Well we are just trying to book up some more shows in July, August and September at the moment to really help push out the EP.

We have literally just started writing songs for what will hopefully be an album which we are thinking of recording in October time to hopefully be out in early 2013.
It’s not set in stone yet as we want to see how the EP does 1st and whether there’s a demand for an album or maybe another EP.

And finally, when I was growing up I have to admit I was a little keen on Limp Bizkit- what dubious things have you listened to in your past you’re willing to admit to?

James can give you a list as long as his limbs with regards to bad bands and artist but I guess you’ll have to ask us that one next time.

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Many thanks to Andy for taking the time to chat to Leo.
 
For more information about the band, including tour dates and their debut EP, check out: http://www.facebook.com/sincemonroe 
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