Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We’re from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth (P.E.), South Africa. It’s a medium-sized city, in South African terms.
How did you meet?
We’ve all played in various local bands for many years and met each other at live shows. While we have a strong and vibrant local metal scene, its still small enough for everyone to recognise each other and know each other’s names.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Monolith started as a studio project between Chris (guitar & vocals) and Dave (drums) in 2015. They released two EPs, The Legacy of the Opium Eater in 2015 and Memory Palace in 2016. Around the same time as Memory Palace was released, Coburn (bass & vocals) and I (Andy – guitar & vocals) joined the band in order to allow the band to play live shows. That was where the current version of Monolith started.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
We wanted a name that would accurately represent the music we strive to create. With our music being so dense and jiggered sounding (as a result of the distortion), the idea of a large, imposing structure seemed to resonate with what we aimed to achieve.
What are your influences?
As a band, our general influences are most definitely Akercocke, Opeth, and Old School death metal bands such as Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Gorguts. While we enjoy legendary bands of death metal, we are very fond of progressive bands, as well as some classical and jazz music.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Our music is very dense. We spend a lot of time meticulously working on each riff harmonically and melodically. We often play large chords and focus on creating music that has atmosphere and character. We feel exactly the same way about our melodic sections and our ability to transform from brutal to melodic is probably one of our most unique aspects. We also have 3 main vocalists!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
We always try to tell an interesting story and keep a narrative running through all of our EPs and albums. These stories are often fictional but our soon to be released album, The Lord Conspirator (28 April 2020 on MMD Records), is intensely personal. While the album’s theme takes place in real-life, it is told as a fictional tale with Tolkein-like imagery used to symbolise the various aspects of the storyline.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
With Monolith only becoming a live band in 2016, we have not played a large number of shows. Living in a smaller city contributes to this as well. We have had some great opportunities though! We’ve played a couple of shows in Cape Town and at various local shows in support of some of South Africa’s top metal bands.
Our live show’s very interesting for those that have never seen a triple vocal attack before! We love the energy that we get from the crowd and can’t wait to play more shows in support of the new album.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
The craziest thing we’ve seen at a show before has to be the time someone brought a mannequin head to a local show and accidentally ended up on the receiving end of a headbutt from the mannequin. He needed stitches!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
We’re huge fans of Ibanez guitars! Both Chris and I use the brand and couldn’t ask for better workhorses. We also use a Yamaha bass which impressed us a lot while we were recording the new album. The attack which we managed to get from the Yamaha really helped the bass guitar to cut through the mix and find its own space. Our drummer is a huge fan of Tama drums, Sabian cymbals, Vater sticks, Czarcie Koptyo pedals, and Vratim drum shoes.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
At the moment we are spending all of our time promoting the new album, The Lord Conspirator. While we have released two EPs, this will be our debut full-length album. We are very happy to be signed to MMD Records, who will be releasing the album on the 28th of April, as well as having re-released Eps as well. We spent a long time making sure that we were completely satisfied with how the ‘The Lord Conspirator’ sounded and we’ve received such positive feedback as well.
What are your plans for 2020?
The current situation with the global pandemic and the lockdown in place at the moment in South Africa has put many of our plans on ice. We wanted to have a large album launch gig and perhaps a national tour, but these will have to wait for the world to find its feet again. We still get to release the album regardless and are happy that everyone is staying home and healthy.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
We always have a great time hanging out and playing with both Devilspeak and The Fallen Prophets (who’ve also just released a killer new album) from Cape Town. We don’t really even care which order we play in as long as they’re there and beer is there!