Interview with Monument – The Screaming Mascots of British Heavy Metal…The Second Wave!

London-based NWOTHM heroes Monument is bringing back a sound that has been missing from the UK for nearly 30 years… True British Heavy Metal! With thunderous, melodic bass tones, dual guitar harmonies, rock-solid drum beats and signature falsetto wails, the band is determined to make a difference in today’s Metal scene and is celebrating a sound that is rooted in melody and good songwriting that will inspire a new generation of Metal fans.

Monument have recently announced the release of their third studio album „Hellhound“, due out on May 25th, 2018 via ROAR Rock Of Angels Records. Tony Newton’s inclusion as the band’s producer has captured the band’s real sound for the first time and that sound is unmistakably British.

The album, consisting of 9 plus 3 bonus tracks of pure British heavy metal, will also be available in a limited 500 copy Boxset version, red, yellow and orange marbled double vinyl and on black vinyl (9 tracks only). Twin guitar melodies, loud bass tones, thundering drums and soaring tenor vocals are all present in abundance. True Metal is back in the Empire and Monument will undoubtedly be the band at the forefront of this new wave!

We’d like to bring to your attention this interview with Peter Ellis – vocalist of Monument! The following interview is taken exclusively for Rock Arena. Enjoy it!

♦INTERVIEW♦

– Hello, Peter and welcome to Rock Arena! How are you feeling today? Monument was formed in 2011, how did you come up with your band name?

♦Peter Ellis: I decided to name the band Monument because I felt it expressed everything that the band stands for. It is a monument to true British heavy metal in a musical form, so the name just made sense.

– When did all of you begin playing music? I’m interested for the transition point between the listener and the musician, and also so curious to find the roots of all that great old school sound…

♦Peter Ellis: I started playing music at the age of 4 years old. My mother was a professional singer so I literally grew up in the studio. I started studying classical music at the age of 10 and started playing in cover bands as a guitarist when I was about 16.

I then transitioned from guitarist to lead singer when I was 19 simply because I could not find a singer that could sing ho I wanted them to sing, haha, so when I realised I could sing I just decided to become the singer and frontman I have always wanted in my band and could never find since my days as a guitar player.

– Your new upcoming full length – “Hellhound”– will be out on May 25th, 2018 and will be available in a limited 500 copy Boxset version, red, yellow and orange marbled double vinyl and on black vinyl…Tell us more about it, what do you say in this particular album?

♦Peter Ellis: “Hellhound” is, in my opinion, the breakthrough album of our career and what we needed in order to show people we are here to stay and that we are the real deal when it comes to real British heavy metal amongst musicians of our generation. The album was produced by Tony Newton at Steve Harris’ legendary Barnyard studios and it really makes a statement about who we are as a band. Tony managed to capture the real, raw sound of what the band sounds like when we play live which was really exciting for us as Monument is a live band and I’ve always felt we needed to capture that on tape and am really glad we did with Tony at the helm.

– The band has always written valuable epic lyrics, what influences your writing, what are your sources of ideas? How do you select the titles of your songs?

♦Peter Ellis: London is a big source of inspiration for me, I always like writing about urban culture in East London and things I see around me but at the same time history and historical figures are a huge source of inspiration for me too. At the same time, I am never afraid to write something a little more tongue in cheek and have fun with it if the song fits that vibe, I think that is one of the band’s strong points, much like the great British bands that came before us, we write lyrics about all sorts of different topics and areas of life instead of just focusing on one topic again and again and again like a lot of other bands tend to do.

– The brand new music video for the single, ‘’William Kid’’ is an amazing song with great vocals, impressive style, and killer solos! Who wrote that song and what’s the story behind the script?

♦Peter Ellis: I wrote the song and came up with the idea of making it about William Kidd. I remember being in a car with Dan Baune when the main riff came to me and I immediately thought “this is a pirate song”, the melody just screamed for it. The song follows the story of Kidd from when he became a pirate all the way to his death.

– Let’s talk about the other brand new single ‘’Attila’’, what’s the story there and what meaning have you coded between the lines?

♦Peter Ellis: Attila is another one of those songs I really enjoy writing that is based on a historical figure. I really wanted to capture the raw power of the real-life man in the song, his real essence, and I think we definitely achieved it. It is one of my favourite tracks on the album.

– You are with an impressive resume as a vocalist, who influenced you most in your vocal style and what is the name of the very first song you ever sang?

♦Peter Ellis: Bruce Dickinson, Ian Gillan, Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio have always been my main influences and I spent countless hours singing along to their work. Their styles shaped me as a singer. I really can’t remember what was the very first song I ever sang but if I had to bet I’d say it must have been a Priest song as I found those easier for me to sing at the very beginning of my singing career.

– Could you like to write music for other artists or maybe for movie/ games? Are you willing to make music/remix your own music/collaborate with artists outside of your genre?

♦Peter Ellis: In the past, I have collaborated with other musicians, my favourite of which has always been our labelmate Bob Katsionis from Firewind/Outloud and for me as a singer, it’s always fin to do. With that said, at this stage of Monument’s career, I am 100% in what we are doing and have chosen to not be involved musically with anything outside of the band. Now regarding working with people from other genres I don’t believe that is what Monument fans would enjoy and honestly, I don’t think any of us would either, we are as old-school British metal as it gets! Haha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– You went through White Wizzard… How would you say White Wizzard were different from Monument for you as in work/style and where do you see Heavy Metal music going in the future?

♦Peter Ellis: White Wizzard was a more experimental band, I was a huge fan of the first EP, even though I was not singing on it, as well as their first album but I know in my heart I would not have been happy singing on the material that came after that. Also, to me, White Wizzard HAS to have an American singer, that is their identity so I never really fitted in. With Monument, obviously, the sound is much more British and rooted in the work of bands like Maiden, Priest, Rainbow, and Purple and I am able to just be myself, without worrying about sounding a certain way.

Now, regarding the future of heavy metal, I think that metal will always be there as a genre, there is no question about it as it just speaks to the teenage spirit more than any type of music and provides the best kind of escapism for the people that need it the most. In terms of future trends etc. what I can safely bet on is this, whatever is the latest technology will always be applied to metal by certain bands that have the money to afford the latest “toys”, they will become popular, then everyone will copy them to the point the market is oversaturated, then everyone will realise it all sounds rubbish and will go back to the sound of traditional metal, haha.

– Apart from being a great musician, you are an Owner/Master Craftsman at Leather Rebels, the company that produces the Championship Title Belts for WWE, NIKE, NWA, WCPW, etc… Tell us more about it, how do you manage to share your time between those passions and responsibilities, and which is harder and easier to you?  

♦Peter Ellis: To be the very first ever European to become an official belt maker for all those companies, and many more, is one of the proudest achievements of my life and the product of hard work, dedication and desire to be the best at everything I do. Beltmaking is surprisingly similar to songwriting in the sense that you are putting a work of art together starting from nothing but an idea in your head, so the feeling of achievement I get from creating a title belt is almost the same as when I write a great song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, as far as time management goes, the great thing about being a beltmaker is that you can work at your own pace most of the time, unlike a normal 9 to 5 job, so I never have any issues getting things done for both the band as well as my belt business. Also, being at the very top of the industry as a beltmaker means that I only take on projects I really want to make at this point and as the band keeps getting bigger and bigger I am becoming more and more selective as to what projects I say yes to.

– Monument are confirmed for BANG YOUR HEAD!!! FESTIVAL 2018 and for ROCKHARZ 2018 “25th Anniversary” Festival… What are the main destinations and festivals for your live performances during the summer? What more should we expect from the band and where can everyone get your music? 

♦Peter Ellis: This summer will be by far our busiest until now, we are extremely fortunate to have management that is 100% committed in taking the band where it needs to go and that really played a huge role in us finally being given some great opportunities after many extremely hard years of trying to survive in the business without any support behind us and still pushing through major challenges where most bands would have called it a day.

We are doing some of the biggest festivals in Europe in the months to come and we could not be any more excited about finally going out there and showing the world what we are about. And this is only the beginning, believe me… The best place to get our music is via RAOR!’s website which has pretty much everything Monument-related you would ever need.

– Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, Peter! Your message to all the Metalheads around the globe…?

♦Peter Ellis: Thank you for the interview, it’s been a pleasure! To all Metalheads around the world who believed in Monument from the beginning, thank you for your support and for helping us grow, to all new fans, welcome to the family and we hope you will stay around for this incredible ride that is about to begin and the next chapter in the band’s history!

More information at:
www.facebook.com/monumentuk

Interviewed by Toni Rock