Saturday, January 28, 2012

Montresor Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
Well we're a four piece instrumental prog band from Melbourne, Australia. Montresor started as I had all this music written over the years that was a little too odd or complex for the shoegazey/alt rock band I was currently in. I basically just spammed everyone I knew in person and on facebook, and Anthony who I've known for a while said hewas keen and knew this rather proggy drummer (Nick). I met up with him at Anthony's 21st and we set up a jam. We actually had another bassist, Sam Crouch, up until our first gig but he left due to uni and work commitments. I've known Dan forever and originally offered him the spot anyway, so that was an easy choice.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?
Proggy, I guess. Everyone in the band likes their old-school 70s prog. I'm a huge King Crimson and Frank Zappa fan, Nick for example is a huge Rush fan. But we all listen to a lot of music, and that kinda rubs off onto our sound. For example, the latter half of Helios/Flight To The Moon is a homage to blackened shoegazers Alcest. The title is kind of an obscure reference to their second album, Écailles de Lune. In a hopefully non-rip-off kind of way. But overall it's just a big melting pot of stuff. There's odd time signatures, funky bits, flamenco bits, metal bits, reverb-laden bits...we're whatever the genre is that encompasses all of that.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Lyrical topics? None. Subjects though? A few. The titles of the songs are mainly descriptive in a literal sense; Medusa was named after the way the song snaked it's way through all these different rhythms and time signatures. 9/8, 6/4, 4/4, 7/8, it's all there. Bertrand Russell and Samuel Beckett were attempts at musically describing the respective person's work and their literary tropes.

One thing I think nearly all of the songs explore is the permutation of rhythm. It's something I'm quite obsessed with. The same chord progression, applied to different rhythms. The end of Medusa features the same progression, once in 6/4 and then again in when it speeds up it changes to 7. The last few minutes of Samuel Beckett and the recurring chord progression in Bertrand Russell are the same. Each time they come back they are in a different form.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
Well I guess that comes down to the fact that I'm quite the nerd and like Poe. Montresor is the 'bad guy' of Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", but throughout the story you never find out what it is that Fortunato has done to offend him. There's a lot of ambiguity there, which I like. There's a sense of power and foreboding, but there's a lot more under the surface. It's a name that gives us a lot of room to grow and do the things we like.

5. Has the band had any oppurtunities to do any live shows of so what are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
We've done a few shows now and the best (i.e. most fun) would most likely be The Zappa Gig. It was a free show at The East Brunswick Hotel where we did two sets, the first being the album and the second being a set of Zappa songs we liked. We did Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, Nanook Rubs It, Cosmik Debris, My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama, Trouble Every Day and a rather excessively long Willie the Pimp. It was awesome and a chance to fuck around a lot more than we usually do.

Apart from that, I'd say our album launch at The Tote in December. Firstly, it was our album launch! Secondly, there was just a good sized and fun crowd and the fact that nearly everyone there was there to support us - as opposed to other gigs where people are kinda just checking out how you sound for the first time - was really awesome.

6. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label and if so what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for the music?
I'm not going out of my way looking for a label as I think I would be looking for a very long time, but I think that any label that appreciates music that doesn't stick to a verse-chorus-verse mentality would be fine by me.

7. I have noticed there was a couple of songs about philosophers, what is it that interests you about these writers and what other philosophers do you have a interest in?
Before the band had actually started, I was in the middle of writing a song suite about analytic philosophers...and Beckett. It was tentatively titled "On Language". There was Bertrand Russell, (Later) Ludwig Wittgenstein, Willard Van Ormand Quine and Samuel Beckett. The idea was to describe some of their theories or writing styles through music. "Bertrand Russell" (the song) focused on the concept of logical atomism and the idea of "building up" language from simpler building blocks. Hence the recurring riff that begins as short, sharp stabs and finishes the song in a very different way. Beckett was more broad and focused on his writing style in general. Repetition, silence and dark themes that generally end up hopeful. His brand of existentialism is something I can get behind. As Daybreak was basically me sorting through the best songs I had written up until then, I chose what I thought were the two best for the album.

As for who else I have an interest in, I've read and enjoyed Camus, Dostoyevsky, Cormac McCarthy...I seem to like heavy doses of existentialism and nihilism. I promise I'm actually fun at parties though.

8. On a worldwide level how has your music been recieved by music fans?
Well it's early days yet so I've not been invited to play Wembley, but I'll leave my schedule open. However I've sent copies to Quebec and Norway, and even a few prog artists have told me they liked it. Phideaux of Phideaux and Lars of Wobbler both enjoyed listening, and I can only hope that places like this zine expose us even further.

9. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Typical boring things: video games, reading, listening to other people's music.

10. What direction do you see your music heading into on futre releases?
Well I'm actually working on a weird concept albumy thing at the moment. I've got about 7 or 8 songs written so far. It's a lot more complex, but also maybe even a bit more jammy as well. Currently it's a lot less heavy than I expected, apart from this fast 9/8 metal riffy song about Newton...but that's all I can say until I actually teach the band the songs.

11. Are there any side projects besides this band or is this a full time line-up?
Nick is in like 5 bands including Montresor: Unknown Addiction, Bogan Nation and...I suck and can't remember the names of the rest. Anthony also occasionally has a crazy music collective called Cyanide Hell that can consist of anyone and can involve any sort of music, but that's pretty off and on. For me though, this is a full time thing. Whenever I play guitar, I'm working on the next song for the band.

12. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I kinda talked about this before but 70s prog, Zappa, Alcest. Nick is also an *enormous* Maiden fan. He's got two Eddie tats. I also really enjoy Miles Davis, particularly his fusion period, although the influence is a lot harder to detect. These days I'm listening to The Flaming Lips, the latest Alcest (of course)...I've started to get back into Led Zep for some reason. Oh, and in a few weeks I'm seeing Roger Waters play The Wall which should fucking devastate.

13. Does Paganism Or Occultism play any role in your music?
Nope. I just like Greek mythology, analytic philosophers and reading gothic fiction.

14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Just that I hope you guys enjoy our album and come see us some time if we're in town!

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