It's actually a pretty weird story how we all got together. We were all playing in different bands in Baltimore and we all practiced at this little warehouse in Baltimore called Our House. A whole bunch of bands practiced there and we all practiced in the same building. We had all known each other from our other bands. Actually I played in my old band with the singer and the drummer of Agents Of The Sun. We all decided to get together one night and we wrote three songs and we just realized that the magic was undeniable. We sat down on the couch in the main room back in the lounge area at the warehouse and decided we were going to quit the bands we were in the next day. The next day we quit the bands we were in and two weeks later we had an opening slot for Trust Company right when "Downfall", the first single from their first record, came out. The label that signed them, Dcide, was there and saw us play and then the next day we got an email that they wanted to sign us. It was just really weird how everything came together. It was all of the matter of three weeks and it was really strange.
How did your bands feel about you guys quitting the next day?
They were pretty pissed. We were in a band with the guys who owned the warehouse, Frankie the bass player and Ralphie the guitar player. The next day they found out and we were still practicing there because I had to pay for my own room with this little band I was playing with and I still had two weeks left before my month was up. The day after that happened they changed the locks on the room where our gear was. They told us we had to get our stuff out of there now and that we were never ever allowed back in the building again. They locked our gear in. Needless to say, they were a little pissed off.
Sounds like it. That's pretty damn bad.
Yeah, it was pretty crazy.
This is your second record that you have out and your first record wasn't exactly what you wanted it to be.
It was and it wasn't. It was due to the fact that we were just so overwhelmed with how fast everything happened so we went with playing the music for a long time. You hear the same old crap over and over again and just everything was happening so fast and so perfectly with this band. That someone was finally willing to fund our dream, we spent a lot of time listening more to their suggestions than to our own hearts because we were just so caught up in the whole thing. This time around, we've only been a band for three years now, when we started doing this record we had been a band for two and a half years and we knew exactly how we wanted to sound. We just decided that it was time to do things on our own terms.
What makes Monarchs Of A Fallen Society different from your first release?
I think it captures us more of what we sound like live. The thing for us with our first record is it seemed a little overproduced. Monarchs Of A Fallen Society captures the heart and soul of this band a lot more than the first record does. That's just 100 percent us.
So when you put the CD on, that's what you guys sound like live.
Pretty much. It's pretty much exactly what we sound like live. It captures the intensity of the live show a lot more. It's a better representation of the band I think.
Do all of you guys contribute to the writing process?
Yeah, we all do. We all get in a room and it just happens. The riffs and stuff happen outside the room but it's not a song until everybody puts their input in. Ray will write lyrics on the spot. It happens so fast. Actually the fifth song on that record, "Therapy", we got in the studio and our producer Steve said "just to let you know, we're writing a song at the studio." Me and the singer Ray and the guitar player Ralph went in a room for 10 minutes and came back out with the song and then played it for Frankie and Dave, the drummer and the bass player. Within 15 minutes we just wrote this song at the studio and I actually think that's one of the best songs we wrote for that record.
If someone picks up that record and they're listening to your band for the first time, what three songs do you feel represents the band the best?
I would say probably "Not Enough", "Camouflage", and "Wounds" would be the three different sides to the band. They pretty much encompass the whole sound because we all have a whole bunch of different influences and they all came out on this record. I think those three songs capture pretty much everyone's influences completely.
What kind of bands and music styles influence you guys?
Personally myself, I'm really into Alice In Chains, The Deftones, The Police, and Incubus. Everybody has different tastes. Dave the drummer really likes 311, The Police, Herbie Hancock. Frankie the bass player likes a lot of dance music but he also listens to The Deftones and everything. There are so many influences from so many different bands. Ralph the guitar player is from southern California and he listens to a lot of old punk stuff as well as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, and there's just a little bit of everything all thrown together.
That's interesting. Herbie Hancock.
Yeah, Herbie Hancock And The Headhunters.
I always like asking that question because I get some of the wildest answers and they're so cool.
A lot of stuff that you would never expect, right?
Right, exactly. I was talking to this one young guy about who some of his influences were and Frank Sinatra was one because the guy was a good showman. I was like wow. That was kind of unexpected.
Awesome. Yeah, it's exposure to new stuff that you wouldn't expect. You listen to music and then you paint yourself a certain picture about the band. Then when you actually talk to the people and hear their influences, it's like "what? Really? How does that come through?" That's crazy.
You guys use a lot of imagery in your writing involving nature.
Yeah, we do a lot of traveling and we get to see a lot of interesting places. We all like the outdoors a lot. We always try to incorporate that into our music as well. It's something that everyone has seen and knows about. I think it makes it a little easier for people to grasp the concept that way.
I think that's really interesting. A lot of people write about relationships or stuff that's going on in the world. It's interesting to see people use certain types of imagery in their songs.
Thanks. That's awesome. We look at things from a different perspective. The main reason I think this band happened so fast is because we've all been doing this for a long time and everyone has disappointments but we always find a way to put a positive spin on things no matter what. I think that's why we've had an easier time. We've really refused to let anything get us down. We all get down sometimes but we find a way to look past that and say okay, so this didn't work out right. Let's set the next goal and look at that. There's always something to aspire to. It makes it a little easier to get through.
Absolutely. I think one of the things that is missing these days is positivity. You see a lot of negativity out there. You don’t see a lot of positive outlooks.
Exactly. You have to have hope. Without hope, what else do you have?
When Ray writes lyrics, what goes through his mind?
It’s really a spur of the moment thing a lot of times. He won’t even start anything until he hears the music and then it inspires something. He also has a book of songs he’s written and every now and then we’ll start playing something and he’ll say “God damn, I have a song that’s that perfectly.” Actually on this new record, all of us contributed more to the writing of the words. The song “Therapy”, the one we wrote in the studio, when we sat down to start writing lyrics for that he pulled out a paper out of his pocket with lyrics on it and I pulled one out of my back pocket with lyrics on it. It was pretty much the same thing just from two different angles. It was really weird. We used half of lyrics that he had and half of lyrics that I had. It was just so weird that we pulled out a piece of paper exactly at the same time that pretty much said the same thing and we were nowhere near each other when we wrote it. It’s weird. We do that with each other all the time. We’ll say things at the same time. All of us in the band have some kind of weird telepathic link. We’re pretty crazy.
Sometimes when you’re around people so much and for so long, you start finishing each other’s sentences.
I think that’s cool because it makes for some good chemistry between people.
Yeah, it really does. I’ve never been in a band that the connection has been this strong. It’s pretty weird.
See, it’s a good thing you quit your bands the next day.
Have you guys been doing any touring for this record yet?
Actually we’ve been out on the road with 311, Papa Roach, and Unwritten Law for the last month and a half. That tour just ended last Sunday and we’re actually hanging out in Texas right now. After the tour with 311, Papa Roach, and Unwritten Law, we hung out in Texas for a week. We did our own show in San Antonio this past Saturday and we’re actually on our way home today for a couple of weeks before we leave to go back out on tour again.
When you guys get back out on the road, where are you going?
We’re not sure yet. We have a couple of tours in the works that we’re just waiting to get the final word on that we’re pretty excited about. If they come through, we’ll be going all the way back around the country. We made some pretty good friends on the 311 and Papa Roach tour that’s setting us up for a big tour. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll probably be busy for the next year and a half. We’re gearing up for some craziness right now.
When you’re out on the road that’s where you make your money. So the more you’re out on the road the better off you are.
Has the CD come out yet?
No, it comes out October 11.
What can people expect when the CD comes out?
Just some honest to God rock music with no false pretenses finally. That’s the best way I can describe it. Some guys making some really honest music.
Any other thoughts or comments?
Thank you very much.
Agents Of The Sun