This interview is one of several which was originally done for a printed publication. Due to production problems it never saw the light of day so is being published here along with several others over the coming week or so.
Underground heroes, Monarch, have unleashed eighth full length album ‘Never Forever’ into the world. The French drone metal five piece are well known for their take on popular classics, and have added their own tuned low, played slow touch to the likes of ‘Die Die My Darling’ and ‘Cherry Bomb’, with their newest release including a cover of Kiss anthem ‘Black Diamond’. While cover songs may seem like somewhat of a gimmick, in truth, it’s part of what helps keep the band’s creative process fresh. “It’s kind of like taking a break from writing, like writing is school and covers are recess”, MicHell Bidegain (bass) explains, “We go smoke cigarettes in the boys’ room during recess.”
These breaks are essential, given the intensity of the song writing process for Monarch, as every aspect of their records are carefully considered, right down to the artwork. The cover of ‘Never Forever’ features an inverted cross made out of butterflies, which were taken from the boutique which vocalist Emilie (aka Eurogirl) owns in Bordeaux. “Butterflies live fast and they die young, they are one of the most ephemeral creatures that nature has created, they don’t last”, she tells us, “But once the naturalisation process is over, their image and what they represent can last forever. But the nature or the essence of a butterfly cannot be captured. What they really were died with them, what remains is only an image of what they once were. Never forever. Life is short but that is the reason why it’s so beautiful. We should cherish the present as the world can collapse the next second.”
Despite the hard work they put into their music, Monarch strongly believe that the underground is the best place for them and have no desire to ever get that “big break” or become popular. Their DIY ethos is one of huge importance to them, as it leaves most of the control entirely up to them and, no matter how they grow as people, the ethos surrounding their music will never change. “I like to think that we’ve grown as people since we started this band 15 years ago, but yeah, we’re still punks”, states MicHell, “We have no intention of making it big. It won’t happen. The simple fact that this band has allowed us to tour the world playing rock n’ roll still amazes me. We still have a great time playing music together and touring, and we never thought we’d have accomplished all of this when we first started out playing in my parents garage. All we had set out to do was play slower and louder.”
Having signed to Profound Lore Records in 2014 and played festivals and shows the world over, Monarch are anything but low profile these days, however, their ambitions remain humble and any success they receive as a result of their music is simply an added bonus. The main reward for the band is simply the joy of being able to play music together. “We’re still the same, we’re still punks, we still don’t care, we still want to play loud and heavy music, we still want to be moved by it, no matter what we will continue to play music”, says Emilie, “The music that we make evolves, of course, as we do as people but the idea behind it is the same. You can’t play the same riff over and over for years and the evolution came naturally, we don’t force ourselves to do anything that we don’t want to just to please others. The most important thing for us is to stay true to ourselves.”