Words and Photos by Phoebe Randall
Bristol’s pop punk five-piece Montroze have hardly stopped gigging over the past two months, but their energy is not lost as they draw it to an end at Southampton’s The Joiners. With new material on the way, it marks one of their last shows before heading into the studio to finish EP number three, so we grabbed them for a chat.
You’re releasing new music over the next few months. How different is it to your older material?
Jason Bishop (vocals): It’s more grown up. Songwriting wise it’s more mature in the way we’ve put it together. Ben’s on guitar now and he’s been involved in writing the songs as well.
Do you listen to the type of music you play?
JB: Yeah, you’ve gotta be influenced by it in some way in order to convincingly pull it off. We’re lucky because we’ve all got such varied tastes.
Sam Chard (guitar): I grew up listening to Britpop. So I like blues and rock – all sorts.
Ben Curd (guitar): 80s power ballads have a very strong place in my heart.
JB: There have been a few really good pop punk releases in the last couple of years like Boston Manor and Trash Boat. They’re different to the typical pop punk sound that you get everywhere and I think that’s what we wanna do, Keep the edge but change it a little bit.
You’ve done a couple of music videos before, have you got any planned for the new music?
Mike Yeatman (bass): Absolutely.
B: We shoot all our own music videos so when we’re recording we’ll see what imagery comes to mind.
Jake Matthews (drums): I’ve had an idea for a virtual reality gig that you can walk about in.
M: Then there’s my idea – remake the ‘Somewhere I Belong’ video and I’ll play Jason’s girlfriend.
JM: I’ll dress up as a woman again.
JB: I’ve not been consulted about this. I’m not prepared. Ben undersold himself there because he did the whole of the last music video himself. Jake does the lighting but Ben’s the brain behind the videos.
You did your first over-seas tour in Canada over summer, how was that?
B: It was great fun being able to head out and take minimal gear, get in a van and travel for three weeks across a massive country.
JB: We were really lucky ‘cause we toured with (Canadian pop punk band) Coming Out Swinging last year in the UK and they basically sorted it out for us to go back over.
JM: They jokingly asked us.
JB: Yeah and we were like, “Yeah! We’ll come to Canada!” and they were like, “Oh, shit. Now it’s real.”
You’ve played both house shows and actual venues. Which are your favourite and why?
B, S, JM: HOUSE SHOWS!
JB: I like both. At house shows you know you’re not gonna get the best sound quality but in a lot of ways it doesn’t really matter, ‘cause everyone’s gonna have a good time anyway.
M: I hate not being able to hear shit when you’re on stage. I’d take a venue any day.
Did you find it hard to get your name out there to start playing shows?
JB: We were lucky. [Promoter] Tim Bailey saw us at one of our Bristol shows and really liked us so started putting us on bigger shows. We released our first EP and two days later played with Neck Deep and ROAM.
B: People try and do sponsored Facebook posts but playing with other bands is definitely the best way to get your name out there.
JB: That’s what we did with Canada. No one knew us but by the end of it, we’d sold all of our merch and people knew us.
B: Invest your time and money into playing tours and you’re definitely gonna reap the benefits.
M: It’s good to have a good press company behind you as well.
JB: Inception Press got us on one of the cover CDs for the Rock Sound magazine. So, a bunch of random people have probably got that CD in their car that they’ll put on and we’re on there with The Story So Far and Four Years Strong.
If you could tour with anyone – living or dead – who would it be?
B: Michael Bolton.
JB: I wanna play with Alexisonfire and it will never happen because they don’t even do stuff anymore.
JM: Counterparts. I wanna play with Counterparts.
S: Probably Hendrix.
JB: That’s a good answer. None of us went for dead people.
M: Get Attack Attack! back and I would tour with them!
JM: I would also like to tour with Beethoven.
JB: Imagine the finger pointing at those shows.
You can read a review of Montroze live at The Barley Sheaf here and listen to their music: