A year ago we were actually catching Monolord live at Het Patronaat, Roadburn. What was it like? Enthralling enough to instigate us to spread the word about them, about how good “Vænir” is – that muddy, thick, outer-space tumultuous au ralenti sound. Perhaps we did something right, because Monolord is playing in two weeks SWR Barroselas Metalfest, the Portuguese annual heavy and pivotal weekend. And they also scheduled a European tour alongside We Hunt Buffalo, including a presence at Desertfest London. Amidst all that, we had a brief talk with Esben Willems, the drumkit trooper.
You’re still quite a recent band, but, I mean, you ain’t kids no more – not calling you old pals, though. Well, I bet you all remember those times when most people were totally oblivious to doom/stoner sounds and talking about Saint Vitus or Electric Wizard was like mentioning an alien race yet to exist. How do you look at this big wide explosion that happened, with so many festivals and labels popping up to shed light on the slowest breeds of metal? Was that a motivation to start Monolord?
Among a lot of other inspirations we’ve always liked slow, rumbling heaviness. In Thomas‘ and my former band Marulk, we often jammed on those kinds of riffs and grooves, and that’s actually how Monolord came to be. As a side project that in a very short period of time became a full steam dedication. It’s a lucky coincidence for us that these genres – whatever labels you put on them – have gotten so much attention over the past few years. We just ride this avalanche as long as it will take us.Worth mentioning is also that this scene is in many ways self-sufficient. The fans – our fans – are dedicated music lovers that put a lot of effort into supporting bands they like with everything from spreading the word to travel far and wide just to come to a show. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
“Vænir”. Great record, bloody awesome actually. And such a good show at Roadburn last year at Patronaat. 12 months are now gone. Are you still living in the record’s aftermath or there’s something already cooking on the stove?
Thank you! We’re always working on new material, in one way or another. Our music making is an ongoing process, it’s just that inspiring. As soon as one recording is done, we’re halfway into the next one, so it’s more of a constant flow. Right now we’re in the middle of recording some new tracks, so we’ll announce the what and the when soon. I’m really stoked about the material we’re working on, it’s got exactly that gritty and rumbling vibe we’re constantly aiming for.
You’ve had the chance to tour with the nice people in High On Fire and Windhand. What is it like to share the stage with someone as iconic as lord potbelly Matt Pike? Is it one of the greatest wonders of being on the road?
It’s been very humbling to get the opportunity to tour with great bands like Windhand and High On Fire. And the audiences on those occasions have been nothing but welcoming, we’ve really gotten the best response we could hope for. On top of that, both bands are extremely kind and helpful people, we felt very appreciated.
Still about touring, you’re about to cruise Europe along with We Hunt Buffalo. What are some of your favorite spots/cities/venues to visit, drink a beer, meet some new people, smoke a joint and so on? Excited about any show/fest in particular?
The strange thing about touring is that you rarely get the time to experience the cities you play in. At the same time, it can be a weird bonus, ’cause you stumble upon people and places you’d never have known existed as a regular visitor. For me, I never know what the highlights are gonna be on an upcoming tour, all I know is that I’m gonna be pleasantly surprised, probably more than once. And that’s on top of the reward of getting on stage every night. Sitting down behind the kit never gets old, no matter what venue.
Well, the mother of all questions: “Black Sabbath”, “Paranoid”, “Master Of Reality”, “Vol. 4”, “SBS” or “Sabotage”? You can rank them, if you want!
I’m not a big fan of rankings, to be honest. All of them great albums, obviously, but for me it depends on mood, circumstance and occasion; and that goes for all kinds of music, I listen to a broad variety, from sleepy soundscape drone to relentless crust punk. Puritanism bores me, so I purposely over-consume new music, or music that is new to me, that is. A lot I only listen to once, but I find it interesting to force the mind in unknown and sometimes uncomfortable directions, that’s a real inspiration. And when all else fails, I can always rely on Bill Ward‘s fantastic grooves. When in doubt, more cowbell.