Monkey3 | Interview with Boris


Nowadays no one raises an eyebrow when they encounter an instrumental rock or metal band playing live or on record. The absence of vocals could almost be considered as cliché given the amount of bands that have chosen not to incorporate vocals in their songs, or simply couldn’t find a reasonably decent vocalist stripped from prima donna egos that could do some justice to the instrumentals.
Switzerland’s progressive and psychedelic rock act Monkey3 exude vocals, not that they’re needed, the four piece composed by Picasso on bass, Walter on drums and percussions, Boris on guitar and Mister M. on keys have successfully created an intricate, layered and trippy sound without a single note sung. The only exception to such modus operandi was made on last year’s ‘Undercover’ album, where the Swiss collaborated with none other than Kyuss legendary vocalist, John Garcia and former Transport League singer Tony Jelencovich to give voice to two vintage rock tunes on a work solely made of cover songs.
David Alexandre approached guitarist Boris to find out which was the case for them. If the band opted from the start to forgo vocalists or if simply couldn’t find a good singer that could satisfy their needs and vision for the band.

“We started as a jam-session community, playing instrumental stuff. When we decided to be a band and write our own material we actually looked out for a singer. We didn't found the right one, so we kept going on as an instrumental act.”

If you eventually consider using vocals in the future, what would be the profile for the right singer for Monkey3? What type of singer do you have in mind?

“Warm, powerful, subtle, poetic...”

Moving forward, the band recently issued an album featuring covers from Kiss, Archive, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Ennio Morricone, aptly titled ‘Undercover’. So this album was something that was carefully planned or it just happens to a collection of cover songs that you’ve been recording throughout the years?

“Well, it was a spontaneous project. We did some covers over the years and we thought that it would be nice to record and release an album like that, as a gift to our fans. On this project you can hear the band in a slightly different context than usual, paying tribute to our big influences.”

Was it easy and fairly democratic the choice of bands and songs to be featured in ‘Undercover’ or there were some arguments over that?

“It came out in a really natural way, those are songs that influenced us a lot as rock fans and musicians, and it was a lot of fun to record those tracks.”

Former Kyuss singer and current Hermano John Garcia and Tony Jelencovich formely of Transport League, M.A.N, are featured on ‘Undercover’, singing Kiss’ Wacthin’ You and Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir respectively. How did that come about?

“While working on ‘Undercover’ we felt that some tracks needed vocals on it. When we started thinking of which singers we would like to work with, the names of John and Tony came out in the first place. Both are great singers, with a real vocal tone signature. They did an amazing job, and for us it's an honour to share those tracks with them.”

Do you plan on using guest singers in the future whenever a song demands it?

“With ‘Undercover’ we opened up some new possibilities, nothing's decided yet...”

Meanwhile, the band is currently preparing their third full-length work, which follows '39 Laps' from 2006. How is the new full length album coming along? Are you guys still in writing mode or have you started recording yet? Will you be working with someone on producing or doing your own?

“The new album is already recorded and we'll start the mixing process soon.”

Any idea of the title or when you might be releasing it?

“If everything works well, the album should be released in April 2010.”

Will this album sound any different from the previous two albums?

“It's difficult to talk about the new album right now, we just finished the recordings, it's to fresh...but for sure it's gonna be trippy and psychedelic!"

The band is confirmed to play at Roadburn 2010 in Holland and this year’s Hellfest in France. Are you looking forward to it, I believe it is your second time at Roadburn right?

“Yeah, we gonna play Roadburn for the second time and we are very excited about that. It's an honour to play those two festivals and share the stage with all the great bands that will be there.”

Did you hear that John Garcia will be playing a special show performing only Kyuss songs with some invited musicians?

“We heard about that, great stuff, Kyuss's music is still alive, looking forward to see the show!"

Any plans for doing an extended tour throughout Europe during that time?

“We gonna do a couple of dates this spring and focuses on festivals. We'll do a massive euro tour during autumn 2010.”

David Alexandre

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