If you miss some of the classic English and American rock bands like Stone Roses, Beach Boys and The Byrds then you need to start listening to Monomyth. Formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the band’s lineup consists of Seamus Dalton, Andrew Mazerolle, Josh Salter, Matt Peters and Scott Grundy. Monomyth’s styles combine pop rock and psychedelic music that takes you through a hypnotic trance while blasting their debut album Saturnalia Regalia!, which released this past summer.
After watching their setup at the Junction Music Festival, we couldn’t wait to learn more about the band and take a musical journey through the 1960s to present day. Monomyth answered some questions exclusively for Novella revealing some of the band’s legendary music influences, the process behind Saturnalia Regalia! and what tunes can be found recently played on their iPod.
Tell me a little bit about Monomyth and how the band came together.
Monomyth was formed when Seamus and I [Josh] were living together three years ago. His band had just come to an end and he needed a new project. I was looking to start something a little more subtle than my previous bands. We played our first show in an empty lot across from the library. We started off with some sort of idea that we were making music in the tradition of My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain even going as far as having a drummer who only played standup drums like Bobby Gillespie. Since then we’ve changed the lineup around a handful of times and our guitar sound has gotten significantly cleaner.
Tell me the process you went through making your latest album Saturnalia Regalia!
We had many of these songs written for a long while. We’d toured a lot of the songs so when Mint offered to put a record out for us we hastily laid down what became our record. We recorded the bass and drums together to tape along with scratch guitar and then overdubbed guitar parts at the Echo Chamber in Halifax with Dave Ewenson and Charles Austin. Some of the scratch guitars made it onto the record, others we reduced to get a little more exact. The vocals were all recorded at my home using a Neuman we borrowed from our friends in Heaven For Real.
Who inspires your music? I get the UK music scene vibe from the 80s/90s (like Stone Roses). Are these the type of bands you listen to?
I [Josh] definitely dig the Stone Roses (I’ve been listening to “Don’t Stop” a lot lately). We basically studied the Creation Records back catalogue. The Byrds, Big Star, Beach Boys and that other B-band. All A+ to us. Then the lo-fi and general tossed off of bands like Guided By Voices, BJM, early Shoes and the Television Personalities.
For each band member, what music is always iPod ready?
Josh : Chris Stamey “The Summer Sun”. Alex Chilton helmed production job pre-dBs. Very twee with a strange lyrics about the eiffel tower falling down.
Seamus – Jeremih “Don’t Tell Em'”. Don’t need to explain this one.
Andrew : Brown Acid Reflux “Peppermint Woman”. Halifax band from the early 70s. A slice of trashy Zeppelin worship. You can almost hear the blacklight.
Scott Grundy : V/A – Buzzer Beaters and Bonus Eaters: Nigerian Quiz Show Themes 1974-1984. A strange tape a friend gave me. On a label called “Analog Gulag” that I can’t find anything about. Really interesting, pre-dominantly synth pieces.
What was your most memorable concert experience when you performed?
Our last show touring with Dog Day a few years ago. They were dipping into the US and we didn’t have VISAs so we had to part ways. We were playing the Waldorf and there was a considerable crowd because locals Apollo Ghosts were playing. Dog Day invited Seamus and I [Josh] to play walls of feedback over the last half of their closing song. Great way to end our cross-Canada trip with them.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Where in Toronto and Halifax do you go to scope out the music scene?
When we are in Toronto we usually end up at the Smiling Buddah. Basically if Mark Pesci is putting it on, we are there. We really dig the noisier stuff coming out of there like New Fries, HSY,and Soupcans. On the poppier side, The Taste who are partially Halifax ex-pats are really great.
What would be your theme song?
That is easy. “Theme from Monomyth” from our last record.
Fill in the blank: I can’t live without _____.
Josh: A Cloud in the Trousers.
Andrew: A heartbeat.
What’s next for Monomyth?
We’ve been saying it forever but we have a less band-oriented record Seamus and I made called “Psychedelic Laundromat”. It was all done on a little four-track. Besides that we have another record we are recording with Mike Wright from Each Other at Drone’s in Montreal. We recorded four tracks with him during our last tour and it was a great vibe plus we have always worked with Mike since our first bands so it seems pretty natural to go that path.
Will you be coming back to Toronto any time soon?
We should be coming through at the end of January/beginning of February if we can get it together.
Saturnalia Regalia! is available for purchase on iTunes.
(Photo credit: Photo 1 (cover photo), 2, 3, 4 by Laura Lynn Petrick – Photo 5 by Curtis Rothney)