Sometimes a band comes along that defies classification. I think I’ve found one of those bands and I’m happy to share them with you today. Let me introduce you to MonstrO, the Atlanta, GA based band that features former members of Danzig, Bloodsimple and Still Rain. (Still Rain featured MonstrO drummer Bevan Davies, Clint Lowery of Sevendust, Corey Lowery of Eye Empire, Troy McLawhorn from Evanescence, Seether and doubleDrive, as well as Donnie Hamby from doubleDrive.)
Their sound is wide open. There’s hints of a ton of bands that influence the sound, but MonstrO somehow forges something new, fresh and awesome. The band has released one self-titled album and will be on tour with Alice In Chains this Spring. Alice In Chains features vocalist William Duvall, who produced MonstrO’s debut album.
Today, I’m joined by Kyle Sanders. Kyle is the bassist for the band MonstrO. First off, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us and let me be the first to welcome you to the Unsung Melody family. I’ll share an odd fact to begin with. Through my research, it turns out that we’ve actually met before. Back in the day, you were the bassist for the band Bloodsimple. I was working with a band called Sixth Floor and they got the opening slot on the Jager tour at Jillian’s in Louisville, KY. Disturbed was the headliner at that show. So, I’ll say again, what a small world this really is.
Oh wow. It’s a small world indeed.
I mentioned Bloodsimple as a past band for you. For those who may not not know the band yet, give us a bit of a history lesson on the band.
After the demise of Bloodsimple, I was in search of what to do next…sit around and piss n’ moan or start over again. Bevan (drummer in Bloodsimple) was on board to get busy again with me, so when I ran into Juan backstage at an ATP festival in the UK, we started talking about what we each wanted to do musically, and quickly realized we were on the same page.
So when we got back to Atlanta, we started jamming and working out some cool ideas. Once we had a lot of music written, we started the search for the man who was gonna sing on them. Charlie quickly came into the picture from Miami and had ideas immediately. He sent us a few demos of his writings and demo’d some vocal tracks. It was obvious he was the one to fill out this line up.
Very cool. Alright, let’s discuss the album a bit. It’s self-titled and truly is a monster. Who did you guys work with on the album?
We had a majority of the music written for the record and William DuVall showed serious interest in producing it. We were all on board with the idea, so he quickly came to rehearsals and started working with Charlie on vocal ideas he was stumped on. The last few songs were completed, then we hit the studio for 14 days. Recorded and mixed. Done!
When you were looking for producers and a studio, what did William bring to the table that no one else could?
He really took Charlie under his wing and played vocal coach throughout the sessions. He taught him a lot on how to use and take care of his voice. That was the most priceless thing in the studio. He worked on a few songs, musically, that needed a kick in the ass as well. He was like the 5th guy in the band… It was just a great stress-free environment and we just got down to business to make the best record we could.
Concertina is a song I want to touch on a bit. For me, it’s the most captivating tune on the album. It certainly has it’s own sound and it harkens back to an age of music that was much more intricate than the overproduced stuff released today. Give us a little insight into that song.
That song was finished in the studio…vocally. We had the music written going in, but Charlie kept writing and scrapping his vocal ideas. One day, I left the studio with not a single line sung and when I came back the next day, they had it done. He and William worked all night and came up with what you hear. Pretty amazing, actually. Kinda blew me away when I heard it the next day.
The studio happened to have an ancient concertina which you hear at the end of the song. Charlie had read an article on a mother being shot in front of her young son by Mexican Police. These people flee for a reason…and concertina wire fringes the border. It all just came together.
I mentioned Concertina as my favorite song, but for me, I’d love to see you play Solar live. Which song from the album is the most fun for you to play live?
I’d say Solar and Helios… We also have a track called Parallel we play live that isn’t released yet… It’s a heavy sludgy song. Fun as hell to play.
You toured with Clutch last year and you are heading out for a few dates with Alice In Chains this year I see. That should certainly get you in front of some people. Are you guys excited to be hitting the road again soon?
Yeah, been way too long. Playing live is my only real release, so it’s safe to say it’s time. The Alice In Chains shows will be great. I toured with them before in Bloodsimple and it was one of the best tours I’ve done. I’m ready to do it again.
I mentioned to a friend that I’d be interviewing you. He was actually at the Disturbed show I mentioned earlier and he asked, “Does he still have those dreads?” So, I’m sure you do. Now the question becomes; Just how long have you been growing your hair? (laughter)
I had a couple dreads in the womb. I couldn’t get rid of them if I wanted to!
Alright, I always end on a random question. As if the dreads question wasn’t random enough, I have another. You are picked to have your picture on a cereal box. What brand do you choose and why? (Laughter)
Well, obviously Count Chocula! Vampires and chocolate…in the end what else really matters?!
Kyle, thank you so much for joining us. The site and myself wish you and the band absolutely nothing but the best. Hopefully, we can get caught up at a show sometime soon.
See MonstrO perform Solar below:
See MonstrO perform Concertina below: