Perth punk gladiators Monuments have turned over a new leaf in 2013. The locals have evolved into one of the most driven and inspired punk acts in a thriving Australian punk community. The boys threw everything they had into their most recent and accomplished release, ‘Existence’. The hard work has paid off with a tour with A Loss For Words to their name and comparisons to the likes of The Story So Far and Title Fight under their belt. Killyourstereo.com catches up with bassist, Carl Diggins to chat about the imminent release of ‘Existence’ and the tricky politics of stage diving.
So, congratulations on the release of Existence! Are you guys happy with how it turned out?
We are incredibly happy with the record. We spent almost the entirety of 2012 writing and pre-producing the songs and it feels like the hard work really has paid off.
There is a fairly notable difference between Existence and your first EP, The Only Way We Know, which was released only last year. Can you tell me a little bit about the progress the band went through in the space of a year?
The EP was us just us having fun not really taking the writing aspect as serious as we otherwise could have. I think each of us individually have matured a lot since producing the EP. We all look at the band in a different light now and I think the two said elements have contributed massively to our differing sound.
Do you think you could give me an idea of what a typical day in the studio was like while you guys were writing and recording Existence?
Jay was really chilled and down to earth guy, but at the same time completely professional with his approach to the job at hand. We usually kicked the day off around 8:00am, heading down to Dunkin Donuts to grab a coffee and bacon and egg sandwich for $4. Jay would usually come down to the studio around 10:00am and we would start tracking wherever we had left off. There were stages where all of us would be in the studio but the majority of the time whoever wasn’t tracking would be in Jay’s backyard sliding down a hill of snow on some make shift snowboards we made from bin liner and cardboard. For lunch Jay would take us to a different eatery around Mass, ones he usually enjoyed during his younger days and each time the cafe/diner/restaurant would be completely different to anything we had experienced back home. After lunch we would head back to the studio and finish the day off, either tracking or mixing. 7:00pm was clock off time and we usually would head out to dinner and eat some of the most amazing food for half the price we would pay in Australia and for the rest of the night talk about how good the food was over beers. This basically was each day for an entire three and a half weeks.
You guys have been lucky, in that pretty early on in the game you snagged supports for big name bands like Basement, Tonight Alive and Skyway. What kind of experience did you gain from being on the road last year?
Hanging out with experienced bands on a personal level and on stage, you really get an insight as to why they are where they are, and it is a real good opportunity to pick up certain tips on how to better yourselves when you play live as well as behind the scenes.
What are some of your favorite songs to play live, and which tracks on the new album are you most looking forward to playing on stage?
I’m sure I can speak for all of us that we are all about the new songs. We have already incorporated a few of the newly released songs so far in our live set and Howl is definitely my favourite to play live. It’s full of energy and incorporates so much from all five band members.
How exactly do your songs translate on stage? Do they remain exactly as they were on the album, or are there things you guys have to be flexible about when performing?
We are pretty flexible, Aaron constantly tries new things on stage and Caz is often changing vocal melodies to vary our performance and make them a bit more interesting. I guess it comes down to how we are feeling on the night but we are always wanting to put everything we have into the set at hand.
What is your opinion on stage diving?
I don’t see why it is constantly frowned up on by venue owners. There are far worse things kids can be doing to each other but as long as the lad/lass stage diving isn’t out to hurt anyone then go ahead. I am a 90kg dude so I am often holding myself back jumping off the stage, not to keen on a lawsuit against me for killing a small child.
You guys have toured around with a lot of pop punk bands and punk rock bands, and your own genre seems to hover between the two genres. How would you define the kind of music that Monuments makes?
Fuck genres. We play music. I think it will be up to those who listen to Existence to make up their mind on where we belong.
So you are currently on tour with A Loss For Words around Australia. How has it been so far?
It has been great. It’s always very refreshing playing outside of Perth, in new venues and to new faces. All the A Loss For Words and Sidelines guys are great dudes and have been a pleasure to hang out with, with whom I’m sure we’ll stay tight with for a long time.
Is there a particular venue in Australia that you love playing at? And if so, why?
Amplifier Bar back home has to be my favourite venue to play. The sound is awesome, both on and off stage. Probably biased but because it’s a Perth venue and I have seen some of my favourite shows there.
Do you find it hard to juggle being on the road and being in a band with your personal life like family, work and education? What kind of compromises have you had to make?
It’s always going to be a struggle but it is something each of us have always wanted to do so we make sure we are organised and keep band life and personal life running smoothly. If you can find a happy medium you are sweet. If we have the opportunity to tour a lot more in the future ask me again and my answer will probably be a lot different (laughs).
Finally, can you tell me a little about the plans you guys have for the band after you finish up your tour with A Loss For Words?
Existence drops on the 9th of August. We have a November tour in the works and from there we are focusing on touring throughout 2014 and releasing some more singles.
Listen to Killyourstereo.com‘s stream of ‘Existence‘ here.
You can read our review of ‘Existence‘ at this location.