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Interview
 

Monty Are I - 09.18.09

Interviewed by
Monty Are I - 09.18.09You can purchase Monty Are I's new album, Break Through the Silence, here.


What is your name is what do you play in Monty Are I?
My name is Stephen. I sing, play lead guitar, and do some of the programming for MAI.

How was your stint on Warped Tour this summer and the tour with Red Jumpsuit?
Warped Tour is always difficult being in a van, but there is nothing more rewarding. The fact that there are close to 18,000 people, or more, at every show is really exciting. There were people there hungry for music and we loved giving it to them. The crowds were amazing and of course Boston, our Warped "home town", was epic. It felt great to come home and see people moshing and singing our songs as loud as possible - my ears actually hurt after that show from people singing so loud.

The RJA tour was awesome. It was like a class reunion with your best friends. We go way back with those guys and if felt great to be on the same stage again. Fans were really eager to hear new music from us, and RJA, and I hope we didn't disappoint. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came out to see us on that tour. The shows were great, the partying was fun, and the shenanigans were ridiculous. We got the chance to make new friends on that tour as well - everyone should check out Go Radio and The Dares - really great guys with killer music.

Can you describe the new album “Break Through the Silence” to the readers?
I see this record in two different ways. We really focused on making each song a complete thought as opposed to a bunch of cool parts thrown together. So, the songs flow more - like they were written with a purpose. Beyond the song, I see this as a "headphone record". I would encourage everyone who checks out BTTS to listen in headphones and to listen for all of the little parts weaving in between the melodies and chords. Something I've always prided us on is the fact that we throw a ton of bells and whistles into every song, but we make it work some how. Every little bleep, every note, every production idea is so important to us and can help the song in some unique way. It can make it more exciting, more memorable, more dramatic, more explosive, etc. This is something that has always excited us and we hope that rubs off on the listener.

Overall I think BTTS is a huge guitar record with big vocals. It touches on relationships, social and political issues, life hardships, and life and death. There are a lot of positive messages in the lyrics that have been inspired by real-life struggle and determination - something that has hit home for us in the past years of being a band. We are really excited about people hearing what we have put our heart and soul into.

How long did it take you guys to record the album and what was the writing process like?
We recorded most of the record from October 2008 to about November/December 2008 and the remainder of the record in April of 09.
Writing for this record started while on tour in September of 2007 and didn't really end until April of 09. The writing process is very specific for MAI. We don't get into a room and just jam out ideas - it works for many bands, but it's never really worked for us. Usually I will come to the band with a demoed out song or idea. Depending on what the song needs, we will then take it and, as us nerds in the band say, "Monty-fy" it - we add production ideas, new interesting bass lines, a different drum fill hear or there, etc. We make it into whatever Monty Are I is. But we always add these things in Pro Tools on the computer. That is basically how we "get into a room together and jam". We just try out ideas on the computer. It's easier for us to do this because we can get more of a feel of what the end product will sound like - as opposed to hashing it out in a concrete room where everything sounds funny. We love technology!

Any plans of shooting a video for “One in a Million?”
Yes! Please be on the lookout this fall for a preview. We have been throwing around some ideas for the video. This time around we want to make something really engaging and not just another band playing in a dark club and making out with Paris Hilton's BFF like we did last time. Although making out is always cool.

How has Island/Def Jam played a role in where you guys are as a band right now?
They have been big supporters, great fans, and hard workers for MAI. There are so many great people at that label and we appreciate all of their dedication to our cause. It also helps that when we have played for LA Reid, that he rolls up his sleeves, throws his fists in the air, and sings along to "One In A Million". We have had a relationship with them for many years now so putting together this record was really exciting. This will be our first official IDJ release so we are just getting our feet wet with some of the new people over there. So far they have been killing it. Creatively, we have got nothing but great support from our A & R team. We all knew what we wanted to do with this record and they understood our transition into a new MAI - a bigger, stronger, ready to work our asses off, MAI. We are looking forward to the future with IDJ.

Why did you guys change your name from Monty to Monty Are I?
Well we were originally named Monty - after our high school band director Arthur Montanaro. Before we released our last record, Wall of People, our label called us and said, "Bad news, there is an artist named Monty from the UK who already has releases on iTunes". This was frustrating for us because we wanted to keep our name but we didn't want to fight a legal battle. So, we figured, "Hey we're from Rhode Island. Let's throw Rhody some love". We were suggested by Ryan and Justin's sister to change the initials "RI" -for Rhode Island - to "Are I". It wasn't easy for all of us to agree on, but we eventually did and the name has stuck. I think fans are still nervous that we might go through another name change. I can't promise anything:)

Tour plans for the rest of the year?
After our record release show on October 9th in Providence we are hitting the road with The Audition. And then November up until Christmas we will be touring the entire US with Hawthorne Heights, Just Surrender, and Punchline.
In 2010 we are going to invade every square inch of the US. So make sure you come and join us when we take over your home town!

What do you do when you have downtime between shows?
Depending on the part of the country we will usually go for a hike, play sports, play poker!, check out national parks and monuments. This country is so beautiful and I feel like we find something interesting or cool every new tour we go on. I love to explore the towns we are in too. There's always a really cool bar, an interesting book store, local foods, or a rad clothing store to check out. I find that small towns are the most charming. I also really love to write music on days off or any time that's available between work and play.

Any advice you want to give to younger bands out there?
Every band works differently, but I think that there are some universal themes that have always helped bands succeed - hustle, determination, persistence. If you stand in the cold and pass out flyers for your next show, talk to every fan at every show, write the best songs you can, go the extra step to show your undying appreciation for the people who gave you a chance - I believe the world will reward you with success. We always prided ourselves on our work ethic and it always helped us reach our goals. I also believe in having a strong and engaging live show. It's where the record, the personality of the band, and the energy of the band meet. We have turned on a significant amount of people to our band based on our live show. It is a time where it's just us and the listeners - there is a strong connection that all bands can capitalize on and appreciate. I believe that if a band works hard and puts on the best show they can, if they believe in their own music, and if they possess that exciting energy on stage, then the crowd will feed off of that energy and something intangible will happen: You will make a powerful connection - one that cannot be broken and one that is invaluable to your success.

What has helped you stay focused as a band over the years?
The fact that we are five friends from Cranston, Rhode Island living a dream in a world of music. And that this is the one thing that we absolutely and whole heartedly love to do. We have known each other since we were 10 years old and we live streets away from each other so our friendship has created an interesting band dynamic. Because of this, we aren't necessarily conscious of that focus, we just do what comes natural as brothers - we know what has to be done and we do it. We know we want to be successful so that keeps us focused. We feel like we have had some successes in the past, but in terms of the big picture, we haven't even come close to the tip of the iceberg. We are hungry and we want to reach the top of that iceberg.

What are some bands you are listening to right now?
I am currently listening to a great singer/songwriter named Dan Mills. Everyone should check him out - myspace.com/danmillsmusic - he has some great songs and a charming voice. I'm also listening to the new Jay-Z record (amazing!), The Constellations, Soilwork, Ne-Yo, Taylor Swift, Muse, Hanson, Imogen Heap, Innerparty System, John Mayer, Ben Folds, Lights, Metallica, Powerspace...

Anything else you want to add?
I would love to thank Absolutepunk.net for all of their support over the years and for giving us the opportunity to reach more and more potential MAI fans!

Everyone needs to make sure that they come check us out on tour this fall and in 2010. We are so stoked to hit the road so come and join us! Head to the show, have a killer time, and come say hi to me at the merch table. I'll take the best myspace picture of you and me - FACT:)

Head out and grab a copy of our new record "Break Through The Silence" out 9 - 22 - 09! Spread the word of MAI like a disease. Tell everyone at school, at American Apparel, at home - even tell your grandmother! Start your own army of loyal MAI followers and bring them to our show. I promise you I will be just as excited as you and that we will have a great time together.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 13 of 13
08:49 AM on 09/22/09
#2
zachff
deadformat.net/tradelist/zachff
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Quote:
I am currently listening to a great singer/songwriter named Dan Mills. Everyone should check him out - myspace.com/danmillsmusic - he has some great songs and a charming voice. I'm also listening to the new Jay-Z record (amazing!), The Constellations, Soilwork, Ne-Yo, Taylor Swift, Muse, Hanson, Imogen Heap, Innerparty System, John Mayer, Ben Folds, Lights, Metallica, Powerspace...
awesome
09:25 AM on 09/22/09
#3
kristanxmarie
so this is progress...
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good interview.i cant wait for their tour this fall! i went out and picked up the record when my mall opened. so good. even though its not the same as wop, you dont very often see a band staying completely true to themselves after signing to a major label but i think they did a good job of doing that.
10:04 AM on 09/22/09
#4
Tsagoodness
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Just bought the album this morning, I love these dudes, great record.
10:47 AM on 09/22/09
#5
drmbdrummer
Whomp Whomp.
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awesome group of guys; their shows always blow me away.
12:57 PM on 09/22/09
#6
breannimal
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So pumped for everything MAI's doing. :)

& Yeaahhhh Dan Mills!!
04:39 PM on 09/22/09
#7
AnnaAreI
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I'll take the best myspace picture of you and me - FACT:)

I can attest to that....it's true.

The new album is amazing. It helps that I've been streaming it all week.

The HH tour will be awesome!
04:07 AM on 09/23/09
#8
teh_erica
do you feel.
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We have turned on a significant amount of people to our band based on our live show.

Very true. I fell in love with Monty Are I after seeing them open for Amber Pacific in 07. The live show is incredible.
04:19 PM on 09/23/09
#9
mjgesualdi
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Just for the record...they were originally called "Monty's Fan Club" not just "Monty." Needless to say they went through various names.

And I'm only adding that in for the sole record that I am an owner and still have one of probably 20 printed Monty's Fan Club t-shirts with a number on the back. Because to me, that's where this band came from.

PS - the new record is pretty amazing...but nothing beats Thanks For The Metal Sign ;)
06:16 PM on 09/24/09
rockerchicforev
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good interview.i cant wait for their tour this fall! i went out and picked up the record when my mall opened. so good. even though its not the same as wop, you dont very often see a band staying completely true to themselves after signing to a major label but i think they did a good job of doing that.
Completely agreed! The wait for this album was definitely worth it!

I broke down and bought the album from iTunes for the extra song. xD Although I plan on asking for a hard copy for Christmas. Haha. A band worth seeing live, they are full of energy and know how to keep a crowd amped up.
07:56 PM on 09/24/09
theherox
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great interview. i respect this guy oodles mucho. i just bought BTTS and i'm currently working on making "only the weak" this year's senior class song at my high school
09:55 AM on 09/26/09
denissuxx
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Cool interview
04:16 PM on 10/10/09
jadewriteslove
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YES Steve!! I come to every show you guys play in toronto. !!!!!!!!!!!
and you guys actually remember me every time! :) love youu's.

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