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Interview: Monks of Mellonwah

My guest today are none other than Monks of Mellonwah! The band from Kenthurst, Australia debuted with their first album, Turn The People which was a 3 part album! Their latest track, Tear Your Hate Apart – Radio Remix is out now on Bandcamp! John from the band was kind enough to answer my questions!

3.47: How did you all meet?
Monks of Mellonwah: I met Joe back in June of 1992 when mum gave birth to a second child. I met Vik and Josh through Joe in 2009, both of whom were Joe’s school mates and jam buddies. At the time, there was a fifth, Will Maher, who sang. Following a win at charity concert at school, the boys decided to jam a few more times, and give writing a go, and Joe asked if I wanted to play bass with them. The rest is history really!

3.47: How did the name come about?
MoM: Ah the age old question.. I’m told it’s from a Super Nintendo game called Hocus Pocus, where one of the harder bosses were called the Seven Mad Monks of Melenwah. It was kinda one of those things where we secured our first show, and needed a name to play under. Vik and Josh had jammed before under the name ‘Monks of Mellonwah’, so we buckled under pressure and went with it, and it’s stuck ever since! Not that it’s a bad thing by any means; we are the only thing that’ll come up in Google if you search us!

3.47: How long have you been making music for?
MoM: I suppose it depends what you define as ‘making music’. I dabbled with a number of instruments as a kid, including guitar, drums and piano, from the age of 12, but I wouldn’t really call that ‘making music’. I wrote the basis of a song for the first time when I was 15 or 16, but I wouldn’t really call that ‘making music’ either. Together, we wrote our first song back in November 2009, which ended up being ‘the Calling’. Although to this date we look back at the song and are not convinced it reached it’s full potential, the day we jammed out the track from start to finish and looked at each other with a “shit yeah” kinda look was one of the more special moments of my short life.

3.47: Was this something you always wanted to do?
MoM: From the moment I started playing music, I suppose you can say it was a distant dream. I spent a lot of time jamming with a whole bunch of people at school, before joining my first band back in 2005. But it was always a distant thing. I did the standard ‘finish school, get into University, and start tertiary studies’, but the moment we started writing as Monks of Mellonwah, I was willing, ready and able to drop my studies at any point for the slight chance of making a career out of music. So in a roundabout way of answering your question, deep down; an unequivocal yes.

3.47: What was your reaction like when you saw the feedback coming in about your music?
MoM: Gobsmacked really. I started to get notes and memos from people I hadn’t spoken to in years. Our first EP, Stars are Out, got some radioplay across Australian Community Radio, and a whole stack of shows at some pretty well respected venues across Sydney, like the Annandale and World Bar. Of course, like every band, we get our fair share of critics, but it’s about taking the good with the bad. Music, like all other forms of art, is very subjective in the way it is absorbed and enjoyed by people, so as long as the music is always reaching out to people, then that’s all that matters. That’s why we write and perform at the end of the day, to connect.

3.47: You’re on tour in the USA at the moment, which is awesome! What’s it been like so far? Any plans coming over to the UK?
MoM: It’s been great!! We have actually just finished our first leg, which included 8 shows across the West Coast in iconic music cities such as Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Portland and Seattle. The tour was part of a radio-syndicated program called “Passport Approved”, and we travelled with three other bands, two of which were also from Australia. We were able to pick up a lot of the ‘do’s and don’ts of touring’, which is great for us for the rest of our USA tour.
We would love to come to the UK! I can’t say how close that is on our calendar at this stage, but hopefully you will see us pop up sooner rather than later.

3.47: What do you do in your spare time?
MoM: I play a lot of guitar, and game boy. I also love my sports, particularly cricket.

3.47: Given the chance, whom would you love to work with?
MoM: For me, somebody like Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age would be insane. He revolutionized the Arctic Monkeys and turned them from hook writers into one of the most mature and polished rock bands in the world. As a band, somebody like Hans Zimmer would be incredible too, as we could explore the orchestral side to our arrangements. Or to write with, the likes of Thom Yorke, Matt Bellamy or Chris Martin would be mind-blowing.

3.47: What would you say are the advantage/disadvantage of being independent?
MoM: I suppose we are not construed or restricted by label rules or directions. As a young band, it still gives us the opportunity to explore our sound, write freely and formulate a definitive statement of who we are and what we stand for.

3.47: What is your favourite song at the moment?
MoM: Silversun Pickups – Let it Decay. The hook is incredible.

3.47: What can we expect from you in the future?
MoM: Some killer new tunes, and a lot of gigging. We are doing some recording in August, so I suppose we will know more then! But in the meantime, we have another 22 shows in the USA, across the East Coast and then back down to the West!

3.47: Do you have any other hidden talents?
MoM: I am a Pokemon master. If you don’t believe me, battle me.

3.47: If you had the power to run your own label, what would you call it?
MoM: Gatcombe Records.

3.47: What’s the best advice you have been given?
MoM: Follow your gut feeling.

3.47: What advice can you give to people who want to be like yourself?
MoM: Don’t give up. I know 750 pokemon seems like an impossible amount to catch, but with perseverance, you can catch them all! But seriously, in anything, perseverance and self-belief is everything, never let the man get you down!

3.47: Given the chance to run YouTube, what would you change about it?
MoM: I don’t like the sound of this new ‘removing independent artist videos’ threat, which has just come about, so I’d get rid of that for sure.

3.47: Final question! Anything you want to say to your fans out there?
MoM: Enjoy the album, and look out for our next instalment!

3.47 would like to say a massive thank you to Monks of Mellonwah for spending the time doing the interview! Until next time guys!

Special thanks to Chris for allowing me to interview the band!

Monks of Mellonwah Links
Official website
SoundCloud
Facebook
Twitter
MySpace
YouTube
Google+
Bandcamp

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