Anyway, the whole band was in top form and while most of the set was from The Amanuensis there were a few fan favorites from Gnosis thrown in there for good measure. The crowd was really into it and Chris did a great job keeping it that way. Monuments are lucky to have found such a charismatic frontman because any lesser band would have crumbled under the weight of the technical difficulties that sadly plagued their set. Despite the band being in top form the gear apparently was not, Mike Malyan had a couple of drum malfunctions in the set which resulted in downtime that could have easily become awkward but when Olly Steele started playing Another One Bites the Dust, Chris started singing and the crowd soon followed. Crisis averted.
This was the second of three large Queen sing-a-longs of the weekend, the first one happened at Techeoke in the first afterparty but the third will be discussed at a later date.
Overall it was an amazing end to a great day so even with the technical difficulties Monuments had one of the strongest sets of the weekends. Also worth noting is that every picture I have of them has John Browne's face weirdly distorted so I'm pretty sure he's watched that tape from The Ring at some point.
Earlier in the day we sat down with Olly and John, had a nice conversation and asked the important questions like "Do you even up-pick bro?"
1. When you needed a new vocalist was there an audition process or was Chris just the natural choice?
John: A little bit of both, we auditioned him but he was clearly the best candidate.
He had been playing sax with you on stage while you toured with the HAARP Machine right?
Was that never going to be a full time thing, the HAARP Machine that is?
Olly: He was offered to stay but we had already offered him the spot in Monuments.
2. Given that Chris lives in the US and you're based in the UK was there ever talk of him relocating?
John: Never gonna happen. I'd rather move to San Diego.
Why San Diego if you don't mind me asking?
John: It's just a beautiful place.
Olly: And his Thai man-crush Shane lives there. (laughs)
Can I quote you on that?
Olly: Please do!
3. So based on that I'm guessing Chris is still going strong with Ever Forthright.
That's good news.
4. Mike was supposed to play three sets today but Rémi got Jean from Uneven Structures to fill in, that must be a relief for you, doesn't he get tired?
Olly: He's done more.
Olly: Yeah, Euroblast 2012 I think, he did four sets and a workshop.
Four sets? What bands?
Olly: The Algorithm, Monuments, Uneven Structures and Chimp Spanner.
John: But we were quite happy that he didn't play three sets today.
5. So Olly, you and Mike did that metal Family Guy thing, can we expect more of that?
Olly: Absolutely! We've got a couple of unfinished ones, it basically just happens when we find scenes where we hear an interesting rhythm and he have time to do it. Don't expect an album or anything but there will definitely be more.
6. John, I have an important question to you from the internet: Do you even up-pick bro?
John: I can but I prefer not to. A friend of mine who plays drums for Rudimental was offered to join Tesseract way back in the beginning but he just told Acle "I don't use a double kicker, I haven't mastered a single kicker yet so I have no idea how I should use a double." and that's how I think about it. I haven't mastered downpicking yet so I'll stick to that.
Olly: I however up-pick everything.
7. Given all the downtuned and extended range guitars in this scene today people tend to, in my opinion foolishly, question the role of bass, what are your thoughts on it?
John: Turn the bass up. We tune the bass in unison when we go down to F because having it an octave below there it doesn't really work but the bass is still needed.
Vildhjarta and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza tune the bass an octave below.
John: Yeah but even there I don't think you really hear it. If we feel like a part could benefit by having a lower octave Swanny has an octave pedal he can try turning on.
8. How do you feel like crowds have been reacting to the new material live?
John: There's definitely a difference before and after release.
Olly: Yeah, before release people just kinda stood around and focused on what was happening but after the album came out people are more loose and singing along.
9. Only a few questions left, these are a couple we've been asking most of the bands, if you could add some technical/progressive metal bands to the Festival what would you pick?
John: Also Candiria, they were doing this before almost everyone.
10. How about adding something a bit outside the scene, kinda like what Jon Gomm is like this year, an outsider that still fits in with the same crowd.
John: Well first of all Jon Gomm is simply the best musician at this festival. You could add some more acoustic stuff like Andy McKee.
Olly: Venetian Snares.
Both of those are quite common answers, so is Igorrr
Olly: That's one of Rémi's favorites.
That makes sense.
11. If your last tour was a movie, what would it be called and what genre would it be?
Olly: Armageddon, horror.
Olly: Terrible but fun.
12. Finally, the most important question: When will the forest speak?
Olly: Tomorrow at about 9 PM
Good answer. Thanks for the interview and good luck tonight.