Although brimming with synth-pop sounds throughout their career, Monarchy have always been known for juxtaposing this vibe with something a little more melancholy. But now, with their new album Mid:Night,the pair have decided to keep things up-beat and out there in traditional synth-pop style. Having just finished their European tour, Monarchy took a bit of time out to talk about their new single, living in London and their sound engineer being chased around with a gun for sex, obviously.
Tell us about yourselves and the music you make?
Ra: Australian born, met in London. We’ve been making electro flavoured music together for almost 10 years.
Andrew: Life is a journey and I'm constantly changing, trying to grow and learn new things. I could tell you about myself, but it would be redundant by the time we print this, I will be a different person. The only constant is change. For me, music is therapy. I work with it to tame the demons.
What makes you stand out from the rest?
Ra: Although we are influenced by our heroes and we do borrow vines from the past, we’re always trying to progress and add to the long history chain of music.
Andrew: I don't strive to 'stand out', or to 'fit in'. I just strive to be honest with myself, and about myself. In the end, we are all unique characters, occupying a tiny space in a vast universe for a flicker of a second. Even the most unique or influential person is reduced to nothing.
You have just toured around the UK; how did that go?
Ra: It was amazing to see so many passionate Monarchy fans. London and Manchester gigs were sold out which was great, but even at the smaller gigs there were some very loud and enthusiastic people.
Andrew: I'm writing this from our tour van. There is a lot of opportunities to live in the moment when on tour, which is amazing. We are very touched because we've had some fans fly from Brazil to see us perform, and they started crying when they met us. They've followed us for a few of the gigs around the UK. We also met some fans from China and Taiwan that came to see us.
Any crazy stories?
Ra: Made friends with a very big fan in Glasgow. He could name every song we’d released and listened to Monarchy for 416 hours last year.
Why should we go and see you when you play?
Ra: because you like being entertained.
Andrew: I can't answer that. If you like our music, come. We can promise nothing.
Where was the best place you performed?
Ra: Joy Eslava in Madrid
Andrew: Each gig is unique and a surprise. We've sometimes played gigs that we thought would be a disaster but ended up being something very special. We played in Glasgow on this trip, and the noise the fans made in a small room was really amazing. They made as much noise as a festival gig to thousands.
You have performed around the world, what’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you on tour anywhere?
Ra: When we were playing a show in Russia, our sound engineer had to run away from a woman with a gun demanding sex.
Andrew: A girl in Russia has a huge tattoo of our Abnocto album on her leg. I can’t help but worry she’s going to regret that decision.
You are originally from Australia, but are now based in London how do you find the two countries differ?
Ra: I’ve spent most my adult life in London, so I probably don’t have a very balanced view of what it’s like to live in Australia now. However, I have recently been back to Australia and I’d forgotten how far away everything is. Even between Australian cities it’s a day travel, so from that point of view it feels isolated compared to Europe.
Andrew: Culture. Climate. Population. Proximity to other countries. Politics. Brexit. Hemisphere. Cuisine. Currency...
Why did you choose to settle in London?
Ra: I just went traveling after university and ended up in London. I guess I chose to stay there ‘cause there are a lot of creative people there and it’s vibrant. It can also be cold and brutal, but who wants to be happy all the time.
Andrew: I was making music in Australia but wanted a change and felt London was a good place to launch new music from. These days there's a lot of Australian bands doing amazing things, but it was definitely harder 10 years ago to be based in Australia and being considered international.
Anything that you still just haven’t got your head around here?
Ra: The English pronunciation of yogurt.
Andrew: So much. Why do the pubs close at 11pm? Why is dinner at 7pm? How come English cannot say “I love you” to their best friends, until they get drunk? Why do you have to book your friends two weeks in advance to see them? And then they cancel anyway? Why does Boris Johnson? Brexit.
Tell us about your new single, Back To The Start?
Ra: It was the last song we recorded for the album. We were almost going to throw it out but it all came together at the last minute.
Andrew: It's my favourite track on the album and means a lot to me. About a relationship that went too fast, so the desire to take it back to the start, to try again. I love that we were going to scrap the entire song, because it had no life, but then Ra suggested we change the chords underneath and suddenly it sprang to life. It's kind of a metaphor for so many things.
What can we expect from your newest album, Mid:Night?
Ra: No expectations required anymore, it’s out on all the streaming platforms now!
Andrew: Brilliant response from Ra.
What’s your favourite track on the album?
Ra: Deep Cut
Andrew: Back To The Start
The album reflects on anything from sex to class issues, how do you decide what you are going to write about?
Ra: I’m not sure I decide. Normal I write to clarify my mind. If I have an experience or an idea it taps away in my brain until I get it out in to a song.
Andrew: We write about what is on our mind that day. Always trying to find a new way to express something, or a new angle to investigate an emotion.
Your sound has been described as ‘euphoric synth-pop’, who has been your biggest influence on your music?
Ra: I grew up listing to Prince and Stevie Wonder. But I also love pop music.
Andrew: Probably the people I have collaborated with. I always learn something and take it with me to the studio. I also use Spotify playlists a lot, building my own playlists that I put on all the time, and it seeps into my consciousness. I've really enjoyed doing that for this album.
You have also discussed how your sound has changed to be a bit more upbeat in this new album. Why did you decide to do that?
Ra: We wrote a bunch of more mellow moody songs a couple of years ago, but after writing them I didn’t really want to listen to them again, reality’s tough enough. Writing in a more positive way has been great for my wellbeing.
Andrew: We got sick of being emotionally heavy, it was weighing us down.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2019?
Ra: I’m sure we’ll be playing some festivals and some more headline shows in Europe. Plus, we want to write another album.
Andrew: We have lots of gigs planned, and we're also working on new music already. So, it's going to be touring and writing for us, which is an amazing proposition. Sounds like exactly what I want to be doing.
Monarchy's new album Mid:Night is out now. For more information visit: http://www.monarchysound.com