Monolith Cult: Interview With Bry & Lee

Bradford’s Monolith Cult are the very latest in a distinguished line of miserably metallic Yorkshire-dwelling doomsters. Featuring members of those heaviest of Northerners Lazarus Blackstar and with an album, Run From The Light, due for release later this month on our very own Future Noise, I took the opportunity to talk Monoliths, Cults and Trouble with frontman Bry Outlaw and axeman Lee Baines. Read on, brave soul….

Monolith Cult

So, gentlemen, what with the album title and all the guitar harmonies, is it safe to say that Trouble are an influence on Monolith Cult?

L – Trouble are one of my all time favourite bands, and I do see them as an influence, as much as Sabbath and early Paradise Lost. I love the way they craft their riffs and guitar harmonies. I think if we ever hook up with a second guitarist, I’d love to go further down that path. As for our album title, it’s a take on their album title, but it is showing that, “yeah” it’s a heads up for Trouble.

Speaking of guitar harmonies, how will you cope with being the sole guitarist in the band, Lee?

L – Some of the guitar harmonies I wont be able to play live, and some I will, all depending on Izak’s bass riff – I’ll just use that as if there was a second guitar, but for some others it wont be that easy. In the long run, I think we’d like to get another guitarist on board, but it’d have to be someone on the same wavelength, and similar influences, but at the moment, to have five people in this band just seems like too much of a crowd but maybe we’ll change our mind in the near future.

Who and what else has helped to shape the sound of this band?

L – I think that all goes back to the early Khang days. Bry and myself have written songs together for many years, and I just see the sound coming from those times. I think the songs are a lot more together these days, and the sound has been worked on.

B – What we are doing with Monolith Cult is a natural progression from how we started out with Khang, maybe a little darker in feel, that could be spilling over from Lazarus Blackstar.

Is this in any way a continuance of what was started with The Dead Resurrected, or is there no carry-over from that project – band members aside?

L – Not at all, it’s a brand new band. A lyric or a riff may have been revived from what we wrote before, but this is a different band altogether. What we write has a different feel and different energy.
What, if any, lyrical themes run through the Monolith Cult material?

B – Overall the lyrics are are from a viewpoint of negativity either towards the self or society and religion. It’s not a concept that I started out with when writing lyrics, but once we got into the studio it was obvious a theme had evolved throughout the songs. Personally I feel a positive energy when singing these lyrics, I think it comes from years of battling depression, once you realise you have an outlet, rather than keeping everything hidden inside, you regain control of yourself emotionally.

Monolith Cult 'Run From The Light' Artwork

Is it fair to say that you don’t much care for organised religion or nuclear power?

B – Most definitely. I see both as rather similar entities, both are powerful forces, but in the end they will take your life. There’s nothing more frightening to the future of humankind than the joint idiocy of belief in God and nuclear power…..but in fairness to nuclear power at least it does exist.

Do you plan to tour with this band, seeing as how Lazarus Blackstar don’t tour much, with Bri being so busy with Doom and all?

L – Yes!!! Definitely. We’ll do what we can, when we can. I love touring and getting out there, meeting new bands and people. Though gone are the days of hiring a van, driving down to London for £50, it’d have to be a special gig, for us to afford that. Lazarus Blackstar are active again, but it’ll be kept on a leash. Monolith Cult need to get out there and make some noise.

Anyone in particular you’d like to play with?

L – It would be great to play with Orange Goblin on a full tour, Baroness, or Kylesa, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno. that’s not asking too much is it?

There’s loads of bands we’d like to play with. As long as we get along, and don’t end up touring with a bunch of ego maniacs.

How do you think the land lies these days for bands based in the North? Do you see things as still being London-centric or has the internet gone some way toward decentralising things?

B – The internet seems to be helping to get the word out about bands, but playing wise, I think (or maybe I am misguided) that London is still is the main place that bands need to play. A lot of bands that come over to the UK still only play London and nowhere else. It’s not right but it still happens!

Monolith Cult - Bry

How did you hook up with Future Noise?

L – We’ve know Dave for years, from gigs in Manchester he put on back in the early days of FN. Working with Khang and Lazarus Blackstar. I’ve always thought he was a great bloke, and he’s got a passion for the label and the bands that are on it. He does what he says he’s going to do, and he does it without any delays. He’s a top bloke, but just keep him away from the apples, and everything will be fine!

So, tell me, what is your favourite monolith?

B – Any Big Hard Rock! Which is incidentally what we play.

Your favourite cult?

B – Mohammed and Jesus are the king of cults, but you have had people like Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, Daisaku Ikeda and Shoko Asahara who are bizarre little fuckers who somehow amassed a very large following. To be honest all religions are cults, The Abrahamic religions of Mohammed and Jesus are cults, it’s even more likely that they are fictitious figures created to dominate the masses into delusional beliefs. Fuck ’em all! Not literally though. We’ll leave that to the Priests and the kids.

…and on that bombshell, I’ll say thanks to the pair of you for your time. Any final words for our lovely readers?

Cheers for the interview Paul – Middle age is the new youth!

‘Run From The Light’ is available to Pre-Order from Future Noise Recordings Now.

Interviewed by: Paul Robertson