The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2013 - MONARCH - MICHELL BIDEGAIN

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2013 - MONARCH - MICHELL BIDEGAIN

 

MONARCH

MicHell Bidegain

TALKS TO THE ROCKPIT

 

 

 

Andrew: Hey hows it going?

 

 

 

MicHell: Great, thanks!

 

 

 

Andrew: So you're coming to tour with Saint Vitus but you've been to Australia a few times before is that right?

 

 

 

MicHell: Yes we have, this will be our 4th time.

 

 

 

Andrew: So how has your previous experiences in Australia before?

 

 

 

MicHell: Oh great! Each time was a blast. Great places to play, great people, great crowd, great food, great beer.

 

 

 

Andrew: Any good tour stories you can share with us?

 

 

 

MicHell: That I can share? Hahaha I would have to think about it! Well I fell asleep once in the men's bathroom at the Arthouse, for a few hours. I won't go into the details! I was drinking a lot...and kinda fell asleep.

 

 

 

Andrew: So this tour you are doing with Saint Vitus, are you also doing any side shows inbetween as a headliner?

 

 

 

MicHell: Yeah we're going to do a few headlining shows, we're playing a fest in Sydney, The Slaughterfest so that and playing a few solo shows as well.

 

 

 

Andrew: So where are the solo shows in Australia?

 

 

 

MicHell: Off the top of my head, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, I think Canberra.

 

 

 

Andrew: Ah ok cool. So have you heard much of the doom and drone metal in Australia at all, some of the local stuff over here?

 

 

 

MicHell: Oh definitely, loads of great bands - White Horse, Encircling Sea.

 

 

 

Andrew: Do you think that these bands are at all different than some of the other bands around the world or are they the same kind of thing?

 

 

 

MicHell: Na I think they got their own thing going for them I think. They would stand out, White Horse has gotten out of Australia and toured the US a few times but those other bands, Australian bands are quality quality, I guess it's hard for Australian bands to get off the continent and tour the States or Europe. They're kept very well secret in the underground scene I guess, if they don't have that exposure it's not easy for Australian bands to tour.

 

 

 

Andrew: That's true and especially in this kind of genre as well, it's not to everyone's taste, it's not the most mainstream kind of music.

 

 

 

MicHell: Na it's a niche genre.

 

 

 

Andrew: Obviously not a lot of people know about the genre but what do you think draws people to the music?

 

 

 

MicHell: For this kind of music?

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah.

 

 

 

MicHell: I don't know, probably just people looking for something different, I guess. I wouldn't say extreme, just different.

 

 

 

Andrew: What draws you to the music then?

 

 

 

MicHell: Oh wow I don't know. Love for all that's slow and low, I don't know, I can't really explain why.

 

 

 

Andrew: I mean for me personally the bass aspect of it, feeling the whole bass going through your body.

 

 

 

MicHell: Oh yeah obviously, the physical aspect is very important, very present in this kind of music. Can't really get that out of a garage band.

 

 

 

Andrew: Very true. Do you find much similarities between black metal and the doom/drone metal?

 

 

 

MicHell: I do in the sense that it's exploring sound textures as well as songwriting obviously but yeah exploring sound textures like really low-fi black metal, you can't even distinguish a riff and it becomes like this wierd ambient noise. It's kind of the same process in the way as doom metal or maybe the more extreme doom metal like exploring sound textures like I would say maybe like Sunn does, on some albums Earth on some albums, that kind of stuff, more exploring it becomes more like noise music actually more than actual metal riffing.

 

 

 

Andrew: I guess it's more of a feel and a sort of sound and noise coming from it more than an actual musical melody or whatever.

 

 

 

MicHell: Yeah more abstract.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah. So how did you originally get interested in this kind of music then and wanted to become creative in this style of music?

 

 

 

MicHell: Back in high scool we would listen to loads of power violence and fastcore and we would just order records from the States so this was kinda like pre-every body had internet- so you would get like the record list and take a chance on a 7" inch so we were heavy into Spazz, Charles Bronson type stuff but eventually I started ordering like Corrupted, new sludge records and that's how we got into it.

 

 

 

Andrew: I hear you guys are also fairly big Black Sabbath fans, for obvious reasons...

 

 

 

MicHell: Oh definitely, who isn't?

 

 

 

Andrew: Have you heard the new album at all? What's your take on the new stuff?

 

 

 

MicHell: I've heard that one track, it sounds like a really bad Ozzy solo record! The riffs suck, Ozzy's vocals are overmixed, I don't know, I think it's just bad.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah I think your referring to the single they put out "God Is Dead". I do think, and I am a Black Sabbath fan as well, I do think the rest of the album is right up there with the old Black Sabbath albums.

 

 

 

MicHell: Oh really?

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah definitely I mean I've heard the same things about the single but then I heard the rest of the album and went, woah it's actually really good but that's just my opinion, everyone has their own thing on it I guess.

 

 

 

MicHell: That's enough for me, I'll give it a listen.

 

 

 

Andrew: I mean it's not exactly the same as old Black Sabbath but you know, 35 years later I think it's as close as we will get to the real thing I guess.

 

 

 

MicHell: I'll give it a go.

 

 

 

Andrew: So when you write music is there much improv at all or is the writing and recording a set kind of thing when you write the music?

 

 

 

MicHell: We do write riffs, I mean we usually start writing songs as group ideas, lay it down on paper. Well not really on paper you know, just start out on riffs and then once we're on the practice space, slow down and see where the riffs can go, if we can make them slower or want them to drone out more. That kind of stuff so yeah the music actually takes shape in the practice room but it starts out with riffs and then we see what we can do around it and where the music will go.

 

 

 

Andrew: So with the live show is there any improv stuff going on there or is there a created setlist night in night out kind of thing?

 

 

 

MicHell: We have actual song structures but inbetween there's say the more ambient parts we have, we have more liberty to drone out, see how the music goes, see how it sounds at each venue cause sometimes at a smaller venue with low ceiling you can get really good drone, can drone out more parts but if it's a bigger room and everything's mic'ed up we might play stuff differently.

 

 

 

Andrew: It all depends on the venue and the crowd I guess.

 

 

 

MicHell: Yeah definitely.

 

 

 

Andrew: What are your influences or your inspirations musically and even non-musically as well?

 

 

 

MicHell: Well musically obviously Black Sabbath but I would say heavier like Burning Witch, Corrupted, then noisier crusty stuff like Disclose and then black metal type stuff like Darkthrone, older Darkthrone even though the new Darkthrone stuff is awesome I think but influenced more by older Darkthrone. Then more ambient stuff like, I don't know if you know a band called...an old dark ambient band called Aghast that have way influenced us.

 

 

 

Andrew: Oh yeah the name does sound familiar, not sure if I know the music though but it sounds familiar.

 

 

 

MicHell: And non-musically, Lovecraft, the whole Lovecraft mythology definitely influenced us.

 

 

 

Andrew: I guess books in general have a lot of inspirations for writing music?

 

 

 

MicHell: Oh yeah definitely I guess the difference between a book and actual music is a book you can take Lovecraft for example, it takes a lot more time to explore this dark oppressive ambient kind type vibe, that's kind of what we aim for.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah it's interesting, I can line up your music with certain (books), especially with Lovecraft books, imagine reading that and having your music playing along with it, it's a natural sort of comparison.

 

 

 

MicHell: We did this radio show a few years back where we would play instrumental Monarch stuff and we would read Lovecraft over it, that was pretty awesome!

 

 

 

Andrew: Oh yeah? That really worked?

 

 

 

MicHell: Yeah it works we thought it was awesome!

 

 

 

Andrew: Oh ok that would of been really interesting, especially if your into the Lovecraft stuff. Robert Macmanus worked with you a while ago and he just recently performed here with Isaiah Mitchell of Earthless. How did you guys get together originally?

 

 

 

MicHell: We were fans of Grey Daturas and Grey Daturas were fans of Monarch and we decided to do a split together and then they toured Europe and we met and we hit it off, became good friends and he started having us tour Australia and then he actually played in the band for a while, drummed in Monarch for a couple of tours.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah I was wondering how that came about, I never pictured him being in your kind of band but he always plays in different kinds of stuff.

 

 

 

MicHell: He can hold his own on doom music as well, he's a really really good drummer.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah he definitely is. Just a couple more questions before we wrap this up. If you could be a fly on the wall for any classic album in history what would it be?

 

 

 

MicHell: Live In Pompeii (Pink Floyd)

 

 

 

Andrew: Live In Pompeii!

 

 

 

MicHell: Yeah, does that count? Even though it's a live album?

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah definitely! And one more, what is the meaning of life?

 

 

 

MicHell: I have no idea, that's a tough one. Play slow or die!

 

 

 

Andrew: Play slow or die. Awesome! Thanks for doing the interview for the Rock Pit, it's much appreciated!

 

 

 

MicHell: No Problem.

 

 

 

 

By Andrew Schizodeluxe June 2013

 

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