MH :Hi, this is Mika from Monolord and you’re listening to United Rock Nations.
URN :Thank you very much. Is it alright?
MH :Yes it’s alright, very right.
URN : So happy to be with you Mika, so for URN, a few words about your new album, the first, the first album of Monolord called No Comfort. This album released September 20th so last week by Relapse Records
MH :That’s right. Thank you to be with me. Happy to be here.
URN : Before beginning the interview: how are you Mika?
MH : I’m pretty good, now we’re just on the final stages of going on tour, we just had a rehearsal just now, I got home like 2 minutes ago, so we had our final rehearsal before the tour starts. We’re leaving on Friday to England to start the tour
URN :You’re leaving this Friday?
MH :Yeah that’s right
URN :You’ll be on tour for how long?
MH :We’re gonna be on tour for 2 months, so it’s gonna be 1 month first here in Europe and Scandinavia and we’re gonna head off to US straight after, so we’re gonna be home for like 3 days and then we fly off to California
URN : So yeah, big tour, it’s good
MH : It’s the business!
URN : It’s the business, and the album is good.
MH : Thank you!
URN :I think there is a lot of people who like this kind of music. Personally, for me, I’m more into deathmetal and blackmetal. And stoner was more difficult for me but, and sincerely it is not because I’m with you now, but when I listen to “No Comfort” last week in order to prepare the review and this interview, I was very happy to discover this album, to discover your universe. I listened to the album maybe 3 or 4 times and I find it very very good. So with this album, I could understand what doomstoner is and I want to know more about this kind of music so thank you very much for that
MH : Alright, that’s great! Good to hear
URN : So before talking about the album, I want to know a little more for me, the fans and the people who will listen to this interview, I want to know more about this band, about Monolord. Could you tell me what is the band in a few words please Mika?
MH :Yeah sure, I mean it’s interesting that you say that you’re not that into stoner and doom that much. I don’t consider, none of us consider Monolord to be 100% either or. We come from very different paths music-wise, we’ve played in many bands before and the what combines Monolord, the musicians, the song-writers is: heavy music and heavy… Whatever it means when it comes from blackmetal, deathmetal, doom or country music or trip hop. You pick bits, pieces and elements from everything and we bring all that together in a stir pot and that basically becomes Monolord. I’ve been playing grindcore, deathmetal and country western before and Thomas and Esben had a boogie-rock band, a surf-rock band and there’s a lot or Metal in the background there. So there was some sort of fusion of all that
URN :I think it’s a good explanation. When I prepared this interview, I read that you were the bassist in Rotten Sound
MH : That’s right
URN :That kind of music is really different
MH :Thomas and Esben were playing together in a band right before we even started Monolord and they wanted to experiment with something much more heavier, really go to the essence of heavy in the sound. I was doing that myself in a rehearsal room with another band. I would go there 1 hour before just to be there by myself and put some noise and heavy riffs. We were really happy to find each other at the right moment
URN : So about Monolord, you formed the band 6 years ago and in 6 years, you recorded 4 albums in a such short time. Could you tell me more about your influences in this bulimia of work?
MH :We have a really good collaboration with each other. We rehearse a lot and we write a lot all the time, bringing new ideas to the table. And since Esben, the drummer, is a sound engineer, he has the recording devices at our rehearsal space so we have pretty much everything mic’d up all the time, ready to go so we can record new riffs and demos and different versions of them… Whenever you feel it, it’s very simple. When we released Empress Rising, it really took us by surprise that there was such a response to it. We already had songs for the next album when the record came out
URN :So you never stop writing, playing music… So when you want to make another album, maybe next year or in 2 years, you could do it?
URN : Ok, perfect. Sounds like a good future for Monolord. So when I listen to Monolord, I want to listen to previous album and when I listen to No Comfort, I find it more mature in the composition, the song writing process. What was your state of mind when you composed this new album: No Comfort?
MH : Compared to the previous material that we had before, there’s a lot of similar elements and you can find the misanthropy in the text and the hate towards the political leadership that there is now and religion. You can find that all there, we’ve been touring a lot but we also get a lot of time for ourselves and a lot of time to reflect about the nature of things and there’s a lot of stuff going on with our personal lifes so, for sure, this album, lyrically, is much definitely more emotional. Thomas has been writing about losses and diseases and how people cope with personal losses, turning to religion, the classic American prayers & hopes that everybody send each other all the time but that doesn’t help anybody. It’s just a weird way of trying to be there but you’re not
URN : I want to know more about the production because I found the sound more heavy, stronger, maybe a little doom influence, more than before. Could you tell me more about this feeling?
MH : It’s actually harder to take that because we work all the time so it’s like a natural development of the song writing and riffs so we don’t want to do a concept album, we don’t want to focus on “This time, we’ll only make that” so it’s a very natural development from when we started to come to this. The guitar riffs have much more melody and harmony. This time, we had a bit more time at the rehearsal room before we started recording so we could get into the elements of the songs and I could take my baseline much further than I have done before
URN : I want you to tell me more about 2 sounds: Larvae and No Comfort. I had a good feeling about those 2 songs. I wanna know more about them musically, lyrically, and about your state of mind when you composed them
MH : Larvae is a personal view on religion. Talking about a person who’s struggling with life, leaning on towards God, putting their faith in God, but there’s no one here. It’s gives them more energy like “Oh, the God is testing me” and put even more faith into it until there’s nothing left. It’s the state of mind that a lot of people have: they struggle with life but they never do something about themselves, about the situation they are in. So that has a lot to do in the text here
Musically, we experimented a lot with this song. There’s the breakdown riff in the middle that gets a bit heavier and we brought down the double bass/double kickdrums, a faster baseline that goes together with the kickdrums. It for sure brings all elements from deathmetal, blackmetal, not so slight heavy long tones. It was quite interesting working on that song, combining all those elements and making it work.
No Comfort is a very personal text from Thomas and about how you can cope with emotions. When things are that simple, there’s no comfort, no solutions. You have to find comfort within your partner or family
URN : Everyone has to do a compromise with people. This is the sense of this song: compromises.
MH : Yeah
URN : Thank you very much for this explanation. It’s interesting for the fans to know what you meant in your music. I have a question about the cover artwork. Could you please tell me more about it?
MH : Found that painting a long time ago. My wife is an artist and I was in an art exhibition close to where we live and there was 20/30 artists all having a few paintings and this local guy had this oil painting. 1,5m x 1,5m. (The picture) really spook to me, and 4 years ago, already back then, we were working on our album Vaenir and had yet to release it. Back then, I showed the artwork to the guy as an example of the artwork but it didn’t suit the material. This time, we brought that back to the table. It clicked, spoke to us. It has a very different meaning to people. I don’t want to really tell somebody that it’s what it is to me because its different to me as it does to Thomas for example. The artwork is kinda bleeding, longing somewhere for me
URN : I found it a little mysterious because, when we see the album cover, we don’t know what kind of music we’ll find behind it. Very interesting way to discover your music, lyrics and universe. Last question, you told me you’ll be on tour for 2 months. Do you make the setlist because some songs are long (10’+) so what’s the process to find the best setlist for your fans?
MH : We’re always arm wrestling about the setlist. Some of the songs are really long and it’s hard to put all of them here. We just had our final rehearsal and listed all the songs we want to play but we’re not gonna be able to play them every night. We’ve got material for 95 minutes but the set isn’t gonna be that long. So we’ll maybe have to switch around some songs but we’ll want to start the set with an explosion, something take really takes your attention immediately. We really want to hit the table with a hammer because we have a lot of loud tones, lot of bases and we want to hit that first. The hypnotic waves will come towards the end
URN : Thank you very much. You’ll do festivals next summer?
MH :Yeah, don’t know which ones but yeah. Want to do more shows in France, good past 2 times (people singing along, surprising good experiences).