This interview with Trance Monolith was conducted by Kostas Dahmer. All credit for the interview goes to him and you can check out his Facebook here.
1. Simple things first. Where are you from?
We are from a smaller city called Fargo. It is the largest city in North Dakota within the Midwest, next to Minnesota in the United States. We are about four hours from the Canadian border.
2. Before you get sick of being asked…Where does the band name come from?
The name for the band came from a song. A group from the U.K. called The Mire had a song named Trance Monolith. We decided to roll with it, because the message from the song really resonated with us. In short, throughout human history, different societies built monoliths representing their culture to worship. Further, regardless of what land you call home. We still live under a trance derived from past and present monoliths. So we decided to use the name to represent our music and message. The music causes the Trance. The message from each story we write, manifests the monolith in the listener’s head. Hopefully, imbuing our audience with a strong sense of individualism, to be their own Monolith to those they surround themselves with.
3. Tell me a brief history of the band.
The band was formed about five years ago. Malcolm and Alex were messing around with music ideas here and there. Then they decided to start a band not too long after. About a year has passed, those two put together some rough demos. For a few months, they started recruiting everyone else. Finally three years later we: rewrote everything, came up with the name, refined the characteristics of the band and completed the album. Now, here we are.
4. What are your influences? Describe your music. What makes you unique?
It is kind of hard to pinpoint. When people get a chance to listen to the whole album. You would hear elements of: Slice the Cake, Carnifex, Periphery, Veil of Maya, Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist and many more. We all listen to similar and very different types of genres. The thing that would make us very unique is the amalgam of different genres blended together. Further emphasised by the Long Play Story format we write towards. With each future album, the band will strive to change it’s sound to fit the story we are writing toward. Trance Monolith wants to keep things fresh for the audience and ourselves.
5. Where did the recordings of “Trance Monolith” take place?
The vocals, guitars and bass were recorded at Alex’s place. Then we headed over to UIRF in Moorhead to record drums.
6. How do you manage your composing process?
We usually talk about the concept and idea of sound we want to go for. Malcolm starts writing out the concept in Long Form. Then after that there is not really one specific person who does the bulk of the writing. For this album, Alex wrote the majority of the musical ideas. Then the rest of the boys rewrite parts to give it more texture. Alex or Malcolm usually get the ball rolling with rough ideas, but with the new album it could be anyone’s guess. It gets pretty hectic the first couple months of writing.
7. Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Most of the time the lyrics are dictated by the story we are writing toward. We are heavily influenced by: Movies, Books, Video Games, Anime, T.V. shows and Philosophical Ideas. The subliminal messaging is usually about overcoming struggle, becoming a better person and wanting to evolve. The band gets together to discuss and brainstorm the story. Malcolm then starts writing out the concept in Long Form. Basically it is a short story at first. Then we write towards that story musically.
8. What Musical Equipment do you use?
Alex: Ibanez RG Prestige Guitars, Fractal Audio AxeFx 2, Power Amp: Mesa Boogie, Dual Rectifier, Orange Straight 4×12, RJM Midi Mastermind and Dunlop Jazz 3 Picks.
Shane: Ibanez S Series Prestige, Line 6 HD 500x, Mesa 2:90 Power Amp and Mesa Boogie 4×12.
Aaron: Ampeg 8×10 Cab, Dark Glass 900 Watt Microtubes and Legator Helio Fanned Fret 5 string.
Lucas: SJC Custom 5-Piece Drum Kit.
Malcolm: Shure Sm 58.
9. What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
A couple of things actually. We have three singles out on all major streaming platforms: Ritual, Requiem and Mental Naught. Our album was also released November 1st. Also we have a few shows coming up around our area. This is including our album releases show on November 9th called Chugrats. To keep up to date hit up our website here . Also, Malcolm is in talks with the vocalist of Kardashev to do an in depth album review. As well as talking about the subliminal messaging for each song and album as a whole. So keep on the lookout for that. Also go Check out Kardashev. Those dudes rip and the Vocalist Mark has a great vocal tutorial channel.
10. What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
Referring back to the previous question. We are getting the debut album released, merch ready to go and hammering out those shows listed on our website. After that we are going to start working on the new album. As well as, getting more shows lined up to hone in our live presence. So far it’s us working hard to get into the public eye.