Monday, March 14, 2011

Huldra & Monarch (Part 1)

Posted By on March 14, 2011, 7:56 AM

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This past weekend saw three separate release shows from rock bands, and accordingly the shows were pretty badass to check out. Usually I pass on covering any of these shows since its their night and we as a paper have already hyped them either in a formal column or in the Music Blog. But in planning the show I was going to cover for this blog, three different concerts caved including two bands who refused to take part. (Again, my problems with bands continue, who rejects free press?) So fuck it, we're covering a release show!

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--- For this one we made our way over to Bar Deluxe to spend a night with the relatively new Huldra, longitme rockers Monarch as they put out their latest EP, and from Seattle the heavy force that is Rishloo. ...Yes, we skipped Rishloo and focused on interviewing the locals today, along with several photos of the show for you to check out over here. (Note: Due to website difficulties, this blog has been cut into two parts.)

Huldra (Eric Smith, Scott Wasilewski, Matt Brotherton, Chris Garrido & Levi Hanna)
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http://www.myspace.com/huldratheband

Gavin: Hey guys! First off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Levi: I try to stay in the background so people don’t realize that my skills as a musician and performer are one step above the Chuck E Cheese Band.

Matt: I play a lot of pedals with a bass and make some funny faces attempting to sing.

Scott: I have created an in depth profile of everyone in the band. Chris: Beard. Levi: Glasses. Eric: Afro. Matt: Loves animals. Scott: Made entirely out of Lego’s.

Chris: I'm the drummer for the band. I work full time and have a wicked cool wife and five awesome kids who are my life. I love music. It is my passion. I love to play all types of music, but really enjoy rock and progressive music.
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Gavin: What first got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Levi: All of my sisters played classical piano growing up and my dad was big into classic rock like Pink Floyd, Boston, and Bad Company, so I always had those influences, but I didn’t really listen to music on my own time until middle school when a friend got me into Metallica. More butt rock bands followed: Ozzy, Pantera, ect. Around high school, my younger sister introduced me to Tool, Deftones, and NIN. Shortly after, my older sister introduced me to ISIS and Cave In. I have been into “Post rock/metal” ever since.

Matt: Middle school was the nu-metal and hip-hop/rap scene for me. I was really big into popular stuff like Gorillaz, Eminem, Dr. Dre, and Linkin Park. High school was more nu-metal (Korn, Adema, Ill Nino, Staind, etc.) and some more prog rock and metal influences like Tool, Dream Theater, Opeth, Nile, Chevelle, Lamb Of God, etc. When I was a senior in high school, I heard Isis for the first time open up for Tool on the first tour for 10,000 Days. From there I’ve been more and more into post rock and metal, but I try to stay diverse in my musical influences.

Eric: I grew up listening to classic rock pretty much, got myself a good dose of Pink Floyd, whom I still really dig. Got really into music with the nu-metal scene actually, stuff like System of a Down and Korn, I grew out of that before long though. If I had to name one album that made me say holy shit and changed my outlook on music, I would have to say Opeth's Blackwater Park. I'd never heard anything that could be so brutal and so pretty in one song. After that it was down into the metal rabbit hole and I came out a huge fan of Cult of Luna, Mouth Of The Architect and other bands.

Scott: Money, dark glasses and tight pants. %u202FAs far as types of music that influence me, listed chronologically in the order in which I became interested in them, there’s pop; punk; metal; classical; post-rock; electronic; different metal; and Lady Gaga. %u202FI have never taken an interest in how a semi-colon should be used, though.

Chris: I started playing the drums when I was fifteen. I never took any lessons so I am a self taught player. I really love all kinds of music. Influences would include Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria, And more. I'm a huge John Bonham fan. When I learned to play, I would mimic my playing to Bonham. He by far is my greatest influence.

Gavin: How did you all get together to form Huldra?

Eric: What would turn into Huldra started in the summer of '09 with a different guitarist and Levi playing bass. We eventually started looking for a bassist so Levi could to switch to guitar. That's when we met Matt and his assload of pedals. He joined shortly afterwards. Matt then told us about this guy Scott that played keyboards. We invited him down and he's been with us ever since. We picked up and lost a few drummers along the way for different reasons, but we met Chris and have just been practicing the material and trying to record ever since. We've got a great lineup now.

Scott: My explanation is similar to Eric’s, just shorter and with more nude scenes...
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Gavin: What was it like for you each coming together and essentially creating an ambient rock/metal sound to your music?

Levi: Because we all have similar music tastes, the ambient sound really just comes naturally. We all have slightly different playing styles and methods of writing, but all that seems to do is to create a more unique and interesting sound.

Scott: It’s easy. I just show up and make as much noise as I can. Then I go home. I try not to get bogged down in the whole ‘what the rest of the band is playing’ thing.

Gavin: Being relatively new, how has it been for you playing around the state and hearing the crowd reactions to you?

Matt: Mostly it seems like people are pretty ambivalent, and that’s something we generally expected from the beginning; the genre we’re in doesn’t really have the kind of allure that mainstream work does to the general population, I suppose. I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing; I mean we do it because we love the music, not just in hopes that we’ll become famous. I don’t really think any of us have delusions of grandeur of becoming some majorly renowned act, whether locally, regionally, or nationally. We’re making music that we enjoy and if it just so happens that enough people get on board with us that it becomes a sustainable sort of venture, we would all be ecstatic and feel very fortunate.

Eric: It's been really awesome playing shows. People have seemed to like what we're doing. It's cool to play for anyone who's into it.

Scott: I live by two simple rules: First, slick advertising is more effective than a good product, and second, never read an entire question before answering it.
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Gavin: You currently have a few demos floating around online. Are there any plans in the works for recording an album or an EP yet?

Levi: We are in the process of recording DIY demos of all of our songs right now. After we get those done, we have been talking about getting them professionally recorded and releasing an EP or full length. Our songs are long enough that we almost have a full-length album worth of material already, so a full length is probably what we will end up doing next.

Scott: Since the release of The Grand Illusion in 1977, writing and recording music kind of feels a little forced.

Gavin: Have you given any thought to touring out-of-state, or sticking to home for now?

Levi: We all work and/or go to school full time, so getting all of our schedules coordinated to do a tour will be difficult. We are talking about a possible West Coast tour sometime next summer if everything works out.

Scott: I have thought about touring with Iron Maiden when Bruce Dickinson retires...
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Gavin: Going state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Levi: Utah has some really talented musicians, but very little attention is given to local bands by local people. The locals-only shows that I have been to have a very small turn out. So unless you are opening up for a well-known touring band, it’s hard to get a decent turn out.

Scott: Salt Lake City has awesome music. We have an incredible symphony and bands are forced to come here en route to, and from, the west coast, unless they want to risk drug cartel related deaths in Texas. On the other hand, music is for dweebs.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Matt: I would like to think that just getting people to be more excited about local bands would do the trick, but than in and of itself is an ordeal. There’s so many people that are willing to shell out $50 or more to see U2, Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, and the like over at Energy Solutions but then won’t go check out some local talent for $5-$10. Probably because they spent all their money to go to one of Energy Solutions acts… Perhaps it would also be beneficial for bands that aren’t the exact same genre playing shows together all the time; I feel like if you had a diverse repertory of genres represented and the bands were all at least somewhat known locally that it might get some attendees to start exploring some different soundscapes that they might not otherwise have known they would be interested in.

Scott: A monocle always makes you stand out...
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Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Levi: Locally would be Pilot This Plane Down, Bird Eater, and Gaza. Outside of Utah would be Rosetta, Russian Circles, and Wolves In The Throne Room.

Matt: Locally, I’m really impressed with Discourse and I Hear Sirens. Gaza, Pilot This Plane Down, Loom, SubRosa, and I Am Yhe Ocean are great too. Outside of the local sphere, Rosetta, Russian Circles, Hammock, Between The Buried & Me, Mouth Of The Architect, Lionize, Dredg, If These Trees Could Talk, Thrice, Circa Survive, Caspian, Explosions In the Sky… lots of good stuff out there right now, much of which I feel is being overlooked.

Scott: I have the most fun when watching my friends make music, so I’m going to have to say, The Blackhounds, Arches, The Diamond Age Orchestra, Guides and Braves, Monarch, and The Eric Rich Ensemble. Besides that, I only listen to things that have been shipped from Japan.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it’s affects local musicians?

Levi: Because our genre of music gets no radio play, I don’t listen to the radio. I know this is common with of a lot of my friends, so even if local musicians did manage to get some air time, they might not be heard by the people they are trying to reach. In my opinion, radio really isn’t a good marketing tool unless you play mainstream friendly music.

Scott: Unfortunately in terms of local music, the radio matters more to musicians than to their fans. I think out of the 168 hours in the week that perhaps 84 of them are commercials and maybe 40 minutes is devoted to local music. I do like Classical 89 and UtahFM when I’m not listening to NPR, though.
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Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and as music lovers?

Levi: I think it is a great way to get your name out there, especially for local and underground bands. I for one will not buy music from a band that I have never heard of or go see them live and buy their merch. I usually won’t after only listening to one song either; I like to hear an entire album first. After I decide that I like a band, I will buy their albums and merchandise to support them.

Matt: Totally agreed. If I have no established knowledge of a band’s work, I like to get some free samples before making the commitment to buy a whole album. On that note, however, there have been some bands that I have been getting into recently who I saw live as my first exposure to them and they blew me away in such a way that I absolutely had to buy a CD/merch afterward. I Hear Sirens, Discourse, and Lionize are a few that I have done this with just within the past year.

Eric: Ditto. I'd never have even discovered the music I'm into now if I couldn't have been able to download music. It allowed me to listen to so much music it'd be hypocritical to be mad if someone downloads a song of ours. Go ahead. I'm glad you like it.

Scott: To be serious for fifteen seconds, I think file sharing is the bee’s knees. The amount and variety of music the average person digests is just crazy. Arbitrary, inexact and most likely made up statistic you say? %u202FAlso, not a statistic, you say? Yes, but I’ve developed this crazy idea that the incredible saturation of music is actually responsible for spawning even better music. So go forth, download as much music as you possibly can, and then buy yourself a ukulele and make a YouTube video already, you’re wasting your time in grad school anyway.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of this year?

Levi: More shows and hopefully some released material.

Matt: Bananarchy.

Scott: I’ll be wrestling a bear.
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Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Matt: The entire local scene. Even if you just go to shows and don’t buy any CD’s/merch from a band, it helps tremendously. Playing a show for five people is better than playing for no one, for sure. But it can be a little demoralizing and make the next couple of days/weeks rough for a performer of any kind. Shows are more fun when there’s a crowd anyway - more energy, and more passion… more interesting.

Scott: Just the bear fight..

What's this? We're missing a second band? That's because our website hates this interview today and has decided to give us grief for it. So we're splitting it up into two sections! You just read part one, click this link here for part two.


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