Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
James: I started playing music when I was around 18. For years up to then I had always enjoyed singing but playing had intimidated me. I tried drums when I was 11 and it was just too loud for my parent’s house so it deterred me. Eventually I started playing guitar because I really liked singing along with my friends who played music. My first band I was in was this terrible band I made with some friends in the Navy. We played a few shows in Virginia Beach and we sucked. After I got out of the Navy I went back up north and started a band called Chronoscope. That is where I really started to make some cool noise. I was much more serious about playing guitar and singing. I did that for about 3 years until I got a job in Buda Texas building Aquaponics systems and green houses. I really wanted to find an area that is accepting and much more into heavier music than the area I was in. Austin drew me in and I never looked back. Ha ha
I actually met Phil via craigslist. I posted an add asking for a drummer who was into Neurosis, the Melvins, Shrinebuilder and the likes and he was the first to respond! Who would have thought!
Phil: I taught myself to play drums in the early 90’s and was in a bunch of different bands in the Indianapolis metal scene. Around 2009 I moved to Austin, TX and started doing a lot of drummer for hire work, recording and touring for many bands and artists. A couple years ago I was feeling burnt out and stagnant artistically and knew I had to play heavy music again. So I creeped craigslist looking for some people to jam with, typed “Neurosis” on the search and the rest is history. Haha!
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
James: For me I have always admired the work ethic of the Melvins. I look to them on how a band should perform and run a business. I have also learned a lot of band business knowledge from our friends in Destroyer of light. Both the Melvins and Destroyer of Light put on phenomenal shows, and to me, it is all about keeping your audience engaged and hungry. As far as sound I really don’t have a specific point to reference. I like Matt Pikes tone but I didn’t really mold my tone to anyone. I just tried things until I felt it filled enough room. I’m influenced in general by bands like Eyehategod, Neurosis, The Melvins, The Beatles, Funkadelic, Black Sabbath and Rob Crow.
As far as who inspires us to try new things. I would say most of my peers in Austin and San Antonio. I love the bands we are playing with and coming up with and I could not be more thankful!Cursus for sure! And our friends in Spain, Ground.
Phil: My music influences are all over the place… I pull from Godflesh to Howlin Wolf to Sade. The whole creative process is what pushes me to try new things for sure. When I composed the instrumental segways at the end of “6000 Year March” and “Inverted Mountain”, I sampled multiple records on my turntables, added drones and synths.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
We are doing something different from a lot of bands out there today. We don't plan on writing the same thing over and over, we spend a lot of time not only on our songs but on the album art. The art is just as important to us as the music. The whole piece is presented as something very unique that we know people will enjoy. As JJ of the Obelisk would say, you may not get it in the first play, but if you give the music time you will understand. We believe this speaks well to the metal community as it is comprised of people with very open minds and a love for extremes.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
James: Our first full length album was a self titled journey, Monte Luna. The concept of the album revolves around a story I created based on this crazy universe that is loosely inspired by things such as H.P. Lovecraft, Bloodborne/Dark Souls, Kingdom Death Monster, Berserk, The Thing and Dungeons and Dragons (which I love by the way! I dungeon master! I’m a huge nerd).
Let me just pull an excerpt from my lore here “Long ago in a distant time, unnatural pestilence consumed a world of peace. Father Arbitor has called upon the forces of the old ones to set this tranquil land a flame. After the burning of Elohim, a once great and powerful city, the people of the Nameless City are called upon as the only warriors brave enough to face Father Arbitor’s hellish army. Through their journey the warriors of the Nameless City will face perils the likes they have never seen. A 6000 year march across arid, decaying, plague lands. Climbing the impossible, the Inverted Mountain, reaching the Nightmare Frontier and facing the end. The orb of power glowing green with madness. What will end the cycle? Is the orb the true evil? Or does evil lie within?”. And yes the “Hound” EP does tie into the full length.
It sets in motion the events as the hooded warriors kill father Arbitors faithful dog, thus starting the war leading up to the burning of Elohim. For those wondering, yes we sampled Bloodborne on 6,000 year march! I love that game!! Where does it sit? To be honest I don’t know, we aren’t really trying to be just one genre. We both love so much music we couldn’t say, but it’s certainly heavy meditative music. We want you to turn it up, smoke it up and feel the sound. Like you would live. Our next album is called Drowners' Wives which will be released October 4th 2019, it is loosely based off the Witcher book series and lore of that universe. We dont want to reveal to much yet but you can hear the first song, The Water Hag on Spotify or from our bandcamp www.montelunatx.bandcamp.com
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
Of course! The live aspect of Monte Luna is our true claim to fame, just last week we played in San Antonio the same night as Eyehategod. We staggered the show so people would finish at Eyehategod and come out to Faust Tavern to party after and it was a big success! When multiple people tell you that they went to see Eyehategod, but that we crushed harder than them. Well that is just of the highest order of compliments to us, considering they influenced this band. We play live all the time, average about 1 show a week between local and out of state. We have our first European tour coming up in October and we could not be more excited!!
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
Labels should know that we are currently signed to Argonauta records, they treat us very well and we have been very happy to work with them. For promoters they should know that we are a hard working band who will give your venue a hell of a show, we are one of very few bands to have had a first tour in which we came back in the green because we are hard working and no matter how many people we play for, hundreds or 10 people it doesn't matter to us, we will give you a show you wont forget. We do this out of love, we do this with passion and we do this because we want to be there. Zines, if you got a question just ask it. Why should you be interested? Because we are interesting people, ask us about Dungeons and Dragons, ask us about our set up, how we can make 2 people sound like 7, something we hear every time we play. You should be interested because you should get in on the ground floor to make this community better than it is already.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
August 3 – Arlington Texas – Division Brewing
August 16 – Indianapolis Indiana – Black Circle Brewing +
August 17 – Nashville TN – Bettys Grill +
August 18 – Louisville Kentucky – Mag Bar +
August 23 – New Orleans Louisiana – Suono Mazzi Cutting Edge Music Conference
August 24 – Lafayette Louisiana – Freetown Boom Boom Room
September 13 – Atlanta Georgia – 529 *
September 14 – Raleigh North Carolina – Slims Downtown *
European Tour October 25-November 17
US Tour Tentatively May 2020
* w/ Serial Hawk
+ w/ Conjurer
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
www.montelunatx.bandcamp.com , we are also on Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music and all music platforms. We also have an instagram @monte_luna_tx and we are on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MonteLunaTX/. If you wanna buy some vinyl check out monteluna.bigcartel.com we have limited vinyl so get it or miss out. It is your choice.