WHO ARE THE MONSTERS | ONES TO WATCH
South Wales trio Who Are The Monsters attack with a sound that wouldn’t be out of place in the Amphetamine Reptile label’s very noisy back catalogue. Now with an awesome new album Go Satan! just hitting the streets, Chris Andrews caught up with guitarist Stu Michel, bass player Gavin Gates and drummer Alun Davies to see what makes this unholy trinity tick.
When were the seeds of Who Are The Monsters first sown?
We’ve been together a couple of years now, but we’ve known each other for a lot longer. When Gav put out a post asking if anyone wanted to be in a Dinosaur Jr type band, the answer was a resounding yes. Yes we do. Now we sound nothing like Dinosaur Jr.
Playing their cards close to their chest, the bands moniker will remain a secret unless there are any movie buffs reading this, but guitarist Stu does offers this tiny insight.
It’s from a film. I’m not going to say which one. Answers on a postcard please.
Fortunately, the guys are more willing to divulge their collective influences, which come from a variety of different mediums including Hammer Horror, Fugazi, The Messthetics, Swervedriver, The God Machine, Russian Circles and Mogwai – but as well as dark in sound, new album Go Satan! is dark in subject matter.
There’s an overarching theme of darkness in the music and titles, but that’s where most of the interesting stuff is. Songs are named after folklore myths, or from horror films and the music reflects that. Satan’s had a bad rap.
Bearing witness to the band in the live arena is akin to watching three parts of a finely tuned engine – each with their own role, but also working completely in tandem with each other to create a cacophony of wonderful noise. How exactly do the guys make this work in the songwriting process?
Someone will come in with a riff or the bare bones of a song and we’ll jam it out from there. We get there in the end. Being a three-piece gives you loads of freedom to be creative.
The Cardiff and wider south Wales scene already has a plethora of heavy bands. What do Who Are The Monsters bring to the table and what sets them apart?
Sonically, we are very different to our contemporaries. We are much heavier and bridge a gap between post-rock and punk. Post-punk rock, if you like. There is nothing else like us in Cardiff.
So with the world slowly moving forward from the pandemic, when can we expect to have our heads pummelled in person?
We are playing Fuel in Cardiff with Sigiriya and Made Of Teeth in August and then The Moon in Cardiff with Common Spit, Fort and Stealth Cat in October and hopefully more gigs after that.CA
words CHRIS ANDREWS