Dead Monroe talk about the future of the music industry and going that extra mile for a gig.
Meet Dead Monroe, a trio of London lads who first met at school and went on to form their very own rock 'n' roll band. With just a bass guitar, a lead guitar and a set of drums, these maverick musicians love to create a rough, raw sound of their very own.
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?
Dead Monroe is a rock'n'roll band.
So, how did you get together?
We all met while providing relief after the Asian Tsunami. We came up with the idea of touring the world's disaster zones, trying to lift spirits through music. We played them all, earthquakes, tornados, floods. Eventually we found the place that needed us most... London.
Who are your musical influences?
People who rabble-rouse like Elvis; people who hell-raise like The Rolling Stones; people who provoke like Tom Waits; people who sing their heart out like Steve Marriott; people who excite like T-Rex; and people who question everything like The Clash.
What subjects do you tackle in your lyrics?
Generally, home improvement and health advice. For example, Sweetheart is about the dangers of sugar, or indeed any form of glucose, and its effect on well-being and appearance.
Your music is available through Movement (available on PlayStation Store); how are the Internet and downloads changing the face of the music industry?
In the beginning there were folk songs passed around from person to person, because they couldn't record them. There were no famous artists because there was no mass media. When records were invented, the music industry began. Record companies started because it took money to record, manufacture and release albums, money which artists didn't have. Record companies used the mass media to promote their product, and pop stars were born.
Now songs can be recorded and released online very cheaply, which takes away the original point of record companies. But they still control access to the mass media, and now all the big companies have merged together so there are only a few organisations controlling the whole industry.
What this means for artists, despite all the clichés about how the internet is empowering bands, is that it's actually harder than ever to break through. Record companies aren't investing in new bands. The Internet has scared the hell out of them, and they don't know how to deal with it. It's true that a band can write a song and release it online tomorrow, but without promotion who is going to hear it? Internet promotion through online profiles isn't enough to enable a band to fund a tour. It can't compete with radio and TV. Maybe this will change in the future, but at the moment the whole music industry is in a transition bigger than anything since the record was invented, and it's not clear how it will pan out.
What do you think of the general perception of music from your country?
A lot of the bands that hit the mainstream from the UK are hype bands that have a couple of singles or an album and then vanish because they weren't that good in the first place. The UK music industry should concentrate on finding proper bands with good songs, who just might be able to appeal in other countries too, rather than being attracted to bands that sound like the Ting Tings or whatever, like moths to the flame.
Are you touring this year or will you be doing any festivals?
We are always playing out and about in London Town.
We recently played a gig in a forest. Not some fancy festival gig or anything like that, we played IN A FOREST, on the mud, in the rain. We had to walk a mile with guitars and drums across a boggy common past horses just to get there, and then our drummer had to walk all the way back again because he'd forgotten his drum stool. He was wearing his best shoes.
When we played at about midnight, it turned out the generator wasn't big enough to power the amplifiers and the lights at the same time, so we had to play in the dark. For anyone who hasn't tried playing in the dark it's like driving a car blindfolded, except more dangerous. All we could see were the glow-stick bracelets the crowd were wearing darting around to the beat.
Afterwards we had to cross the deadly common again, this time in pitch-black darkness. It was around this time that our drummer shot us.
Luckily it was nothing... Oh, just a scratch, and we recovered in time for the next gig.
Dead Monroe's Movement videos can be downloaded from PlayStation Store. More about Dead Monroe can be found on their MySpace page, myspace.com/deadmonroe.