Monarch Interview

French doom legion Monarch has been blowing people's minds since having the stones to release a massive double CD set for their debut some four years ago.Unwilling to conform to the strict limitations of the slow doom/sludge genres,Monarch utilizes sickening female vocals and Sanrio-obsessed artwork to tear away from the pack,and unleash an entirely new beast.

We sat down to chat with riffmaster Shiran to talk about the band's short history,Hello Kitty,and the future of Monarch (NWOBHM?).

HSJ:First off,how did Monarch get started?What were you guys doing prior to starting up the band?

Shiran: Mainly we played in a Power violence band called George bitch jr and an other Sludgy Power violence band called Tetsuo.

Monarch starts after that a friend of us ( Sylvain from Chimères/Bad cards records) ask us and offer us to release a sludge/doom album even before a single note was writen. As we wanted to make slow music at that time we couldn't refuse this so friendly request.

HSJ:Is there an exclamation point after your name?Sometimes I see one,sometimes I don't.

Shiran: I don't know neither...

HSJ:I really enjoy the artwork,because it stands out so much.What made you decide to use that style?And who's the Sanrio freak in the band?Are you hardcore collectors?

Shiran: Emilie and Mike are Sanrio freaks. Mike first start to draw stuff like this for our previous Power violence bands and he just keep it that way cause it really gives a singular touch to our artworks. But even if it s not typical Doomy necro drawing stuff, it keeps refering to burning churches, inverted crosses and cross bones. Plus heart and tiny stars.

HSJ:Besides a few black metal bands,there doesn't seem to be too many heavy musical acts from France.Give us an idea of what your scene is like there.

Shiran: Today we've got great bands like Procession funèbre (Black metal), Gasmask terrör (Crust d-beat), Los cojonudos (Rock punk de la calle) or Year of no light (We play in all these bands so this is shame less promotion héhé...). But more seriously you can look after Strong as ten, Festin de sang, Altar of blasphmy, Habsyll, Darvulia, Pryapisme...

We're not really reliant to a special scene.With the music we play we used to play in different kind of scene. It could be Punk hardcore scene, metal scene, experimental scene or whatever as long as people are dedicated to music with all their heart.

HSJ:In the samples I heard of Mer Morte,it seems you are using more "female" vocal sounds,instead of just screaming. At some point,will we hear actual singing?

Shiran: We already make it on our split with Grey Daturas where Emily is actuly singing a score but it's so slow that people think that it is random stuff, but it's all writen. But concerning our next songs we don t have a clue of how it will sound. Maybe more melodic and more chants or maybe just larsens and dying screams. I'd like it to be more violent but don't know what the other want to do.

HSJ:At one point,you guys had decided to break up.What made you guys change your mind?
Shiran: It's a long story. Our first drummer is Guillaume (one of my best friend ever). We made the first double cd with him. After the release of the double cd and a few gigs he choose to stop playing cause he had enought of playing live. He s a kind of lonely guy who just need his Super nes, his guitar and occasionnaly his girlfriend. So when he left we start playing with Felix with who we made “Amplifier deathmarch” and “Speak of the Sea”.
But with the time we had personnal and musical issues with Felix that made us want to stop playing with him. So we stop everything cause finding a drummer a that time in the place where we live is not that easy.

In the same time we had start playing again with Guillaume but it was not doom at all, more like melodic/stoner stuff. But the more we were playing with Guillaume the more it was like “Hey bullshit!Just slow down that part!” or “this riff is too melodic,let's try something more evil!”.

After three rehearsals we just came to the point that we were coming back to doom sludge heavy larsens stuff. So obviously it was sounding like Monarch. As Monarch had split up since two month and that we were all the same people with a new enthousiasm about playing slow stuff we just face it and said that the monarch was dead so long life to the Monarch!

HSJ:I really enjoyed the Rainbow of Death record you guys did. Is that band done now?If so,will we see another similar project one day?

Shiran: Yeah that band is dead now, we had problem with the drummer, and as usual in our city it s not easy to find a good drummer who can rock fast or slow. But we for sure will start a new Power violence band as soon as possible but we first had to find an ace drummer for that.

HSJ:You guys used to make the craziest hoodies and merch,but I haven't seen anything new in a while.Anything coming?

Shiran: Hé hé thank you! Mike always manages to find very “catchy” designs. We had some new stuff for our spanish/portugese tour but we mainly sold everything on the shows.

HSJ:Favorite Sabbath song?

Shiran: “Solitude” maybe.

HSJ:Mer Morte really seems to be a huge leap forward for you guys.What can we expect in the future from Monarch?

Shiran: Hey thank you but wait to heard it in its entirety before saying that!héhé!But I'm not really sure that it's a huge leap...I think we started to do things that way since Speak of the Sea. I dont really know what to expect from Monarch...Maybe trying to do something more nwobhm.

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