INTERVIEW: We Are The Monsters | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Many of the greatest bands and artists of the past sixty-odd years have earned their names as musical pioneers through their various concoctions of contrasting genres and influences. It’s no surprise that this aspiration lives on in musicians as they search for their particular sound; one such musical hybrid currently gaining momentum is the fusion of folk and electronic music. The stark contrast of old and new, organic and synthetic, earthly and otherworldly creates a sound quite unlike any other. This is the direction of We Are The Monsters, one of the North East’s most sensational new groups.

Accordionist Amy Thatcher explains: “This group has evolved from The Monster Ceilidh Band – our roots were, and still are, here. Although we were originally a straightforward acoustic ceilidh dance band, this project is just a means of trying out leftfield genre interests that didn’t tie in with the ceilidh aesthetic.” The band also features members from The Shee and Northumbrian pipes virtuoso Kathryn Tickell’s supporting band The Darkening. “We have feet in traditional dance music, or folk music if you prefer, and also in all different types of modern electronic dance music – we’re particularly fond of drum ‘n’ bass. It’s becoming more and more natural to mix genres, and we love experimenting as we’re always in search of an original sound.”

this project is just a means of trying out leftfield genre interests that didn’t tie in with the ceilidh aesthetic

The group’s first EP, Mutated, is due for release on 25th March. “The EP is a little overview of the kind of thing you can expect to hear us producing over the next few years. The name is a follow up from our last album with The Monster Ceilidh Band, Mutation – we’re now fully ‘mutated’!” There will be an accompanying live show at The Cumberland Arms in Newcastle on Saturday 9th April to celebrate its release, which may provide a different take on the sound of the EP. “The live set will feature more electronic influences and may have a more free structure. Dave [bass] and Amy [accordion] play synths and we have a lot more pedals involved to affect the acoustic sounds we’re making. We want to play a varied set of music that takes you on a journey.”

We Are The Monsters’ recent single release, entitled Uplift, is a mellow, cheery tune fronted by accordion for most of its duration before breaking into an up-tempo section towards its end, it’s an intricately crafted soundscape of elation from beginning to end, and the accompanying video demonstrates the group’s ties to traditional music yet with modern additions by showing a panorama view of North Eastern countryside, filled with whirling wind turbines. “The video footage was taken on Joe Truswell’s [drummer and programmer] new drone. The sunrise over Northumberland is always an uplifting sight and it nicely represents the rebirth of this new band.” As well as this, Uplift’s single cover is illustrated by accordionist Amy Thatcher’s brother. “George captures the feeling very aptly with his rendition of our little mutated monster holding his heart.”

We Are The Monsters is a group unique enough to combine such varied tones as drum ‘n’ bass, synth rhythms and mandolin-accented melodies, and with their modern-tinted folk music they readily invoke the beauty and traditions of Northumberland.

We Are The Monsters release Mutated on 25th March. They play The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle on Saturday 9th April.


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