Friday, November 24, 2017

A Ripple Conversation With Esben Willems Of Monolord

Can you define the bands vision when you're creating music?

Esben Willems: Our vision is to always keep exploring our band sound and always aim at making the next live show or the next album better than the previous one.

Tell me about your live shows! Do you have any rituals before you go on stage?

EW: Since we're all vegetarians we don't sacrifice baby goats, we're also atheists and don't believe in supernatural beings to summon, so we're having difficulties finding a fitting ritual to perform. But for the time being, black coffee and talking backwards in a dimly lit room will do.

How has the band progressed as a live act since its first live-performance?

EW: I think that's more a question to our audience, how they experience a live show compared to the first time they saw us. For us, it's being a more tight knit unit, we have developed a mutual understanding, you know when you can read each other's minds almost, you know what your band mates are doing next without having to communicate that, it's implied. Hard to explain, but that feeling is just amazing. When the band is one collective unit.

Any specific memorable concerts so far?

EW: I love those intimate and intense shows, when the venue is packed, the audience is up close and the air is vibrating from the heat. For me, that's the pure essence of a live show; you're one with the audience.

How do you translate the record into a liveshow?

EW: We always record with the feeling of the live sound as a reference, so there really is not much of any adaptation. Before tours we rehearse until the songs are in our backbones, from there's it's just go.

Could you imagine when you started the band that you would be a well respected band with many tours overseas and a constant growing fanbase?

EW: No.

Have you met any reaction on your latest effort ”Rust”?

EW: The response from our fans have been overwhelming, on top of that we've been getting great reviews, a massive stream of superlatives, almost hard to comprehend.

Did you notice any change in the way people react if you compare it to your other records?

EW: Only that many seems to like the minor difference in sound, like the addition of other instruments here and there.

You record your own records!  Bad or Negative? Both?
EW: There is always positive and negative sides to everything. But the bonuses with recording yourself is that you can use your time just as you please, you're not limited to a specific time frame in which you need to deliver your absolute best, and then some. That pressure can sometimes kill the joy and inspiration, so at least we don't have to deal with that aspect of the process.

When writing for a new record. Can describe the process? What comes first ? Are you a jamming band or do you have it all clear when entering the studio?

EW: There's no specific formula or set process. We always work on new music, in several kinds of ways, so when it's approaching album recording time we start with narrowing the current ideas down to the material we feel is would make an album we can be proud of.

What’s the ingredient when you're crafting the massive record sound of yours?

EW: It seems like there's a perpetual search for the holy grail of sound, but the harsh reality is that there is no magic ingredient. Hard work and open ears is all you need.

You seem to be a band who write about what's going on in the world. Do you get any comments about not writing the usual doom-lyrics?

EW: Yes.

Do you have any favorite child on the new record?

EW: If by child you mean song, every song is our favorite. We wouldn't have recorded them otherwise.

What song makes the audience go bananas?

EW: Whenever any cover band plays Bon Jovi's ”You Give Love a Bad Name”. I still don't get that.

Whats the reason behind the success of so many Scandinavian bands?

EW: Garlic, coffee, the polar bears roaming every street in every town, atheism and the resistance against the royal family.

When recording Rust you used several different instruments such as strings and organ and especially the violin in “Wormland”. I think the violin picks up the octave from the guitar and rides the song out. Is this a direction you will explore even more on the upcoming records?

EW: We don't make decisions like that, we go with the flow of the songs and what we think the feel of them are, so if we feel the addition of a specific instrument will get us there we'll add that, if not we won't.

What gear are you using when recording?

EW: Basic gear, the sound is not in the gear, it's in how you use it.

What’s up for the rest of 2017 in the catacombs of Monolord?

EW: We're on tour with Conan at the moment, covering most of Europe. Great fun! After that, we only have one more show this year, the mini festival Vintersabbat in Oslo.


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