Music Q&A: Monarchy

The London-based synth-pop duo headline Hive, Manchester, 25 January and release their third LP, Mid:Night, on 1 February

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How have you evolved as a band over the years?
Ra: It feels like we’ve been on a journey from twilight to dark and now we’re coming back in to the sun. And during this journey our ears have got better.

Andrew: So much. I am never a person to say I know everything about a subject, and I always want to keep growing, keep experiencing new things, keep learning. And that applies to music and our band as well. Our relationship between us has changed radically since we first started, because we’ve changed as people. We keep trying to perfect song writing, and eventually write the perfect song. I keep trying to improve my production, and learn new things. Life is a journey – we’re taking Monarchy with us.

Please tell us about your new LP Mid:Night. What can people expect?
Andrew: It’s short, which I love. It’s like a little moment. It moves a bit back to the original sound of our first release, Gold In The Fire – a kind of French synth wave cruisy song. It’s also more fun than our previous releases, which I love. We got sick of being moody.

Ra: Yeah, there’s something more positive about this record, both lyrically and vibe-wise. I like that it has eight songs. Hopefully we can release eight songs a year.

What inspires your songwriting?
Ra: Relationships and the music of other artists. Often the impulse to write a song comes from a lack of communication skills – that is, I want to say something to someone but I can’t express it in the moment, so I write a song to make up for the missing words.

Andrew: Songwriting is like therapy. It’s so good to get the demons out. I have to write music all the time, otherwise I get really down. I guess the crap of life is what inspires songwriting, so exorcise the demons.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Ra: Ivy by Frank Ocean

Andrew: So many. Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake springs to mind.

What’s on your rider?
Usually, Mahou beer, tequila and hummus make it to the dressing room.

Andrew: Dark chocolate, real coffee, vodka, fruit, sushi. But it doesn’t matter because half the time it’s ignored anyway.

Please tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience whilst on tour?
Ra: We once had a fan track us down at the train station after we played a show in his city, only to find he didn’t actually go to the show. He just wanted to see us. It made me feel quite strange at the time, but later I realised that he might not have had the €10 to come to our show.

Andrew: There’s no other band called Monarchy, but there’s a heavy metal band called The Monarchy from Romania. We went to Romania to play, and there was a huge audience, about 4,000 people. We were supporting IAMX, and there were 4,000 people in front of us, and just before we went on stage I had a panic attack that the audience might have got confused, and thought we were the Romanian heavy metal band. Luckily it wasn’t the case – it was just because it’s a free concert by a beer brand.

If you were in charge of creating the all-time disco-funk supergroup, who would you have in it, dead or alive, and why?
Ra: Prince on guitar. He really was the funkiest, most tasteful and melodic guitar player. Bootsy Collins on bass. He adds glitter like no one else. Anderson Paak on drums. I saw him last week – his grooves are super-infectious. Michael Jackson on vocals – just him singing acappela can make you dance. Jacob Collier on keyboards. He’s a freak of nature.

Andrew: Stevie Wonder, Pharrell, Nile Rogers, Grace Jones, the BeeGees and Hector Lavoe, with Todd Terje or Polo and Pan on production, because they’re my heroes. Would be amazing.

Monarchy’s new LP Mid:Night is out on 1 February and they’re currently amid a six-date UK tour. For tickets and full dates please visit monarchysound.com

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