Alter The Press!


Interview: Moneen - 22/11/2009

Kenny Bridges of Canada's Moneen took the time out to sit down with Alter The Press!, just hours before hitting the stage at the sold out Los Angeles Troubadour.

Kenny spoke to ATP! about the bands latest release, 'The World I Want To Leave Behind', the highs and lows of their first US tour in 3 years, leaving Vagrant Records UK and more.

Alter The Press: Last night of the Say Anything tour. How has it been going?
Kenny Bridges: It's been great. We continue on to start our headline Canadian tour but it's been really good but so many ups and downs. Shows have been amazing, everything else, as far as getting to the shows, has been a complete nightmare. The short version of the story is, we bought a van a week before the tour and within four days, we had a pretty major breakdown in St. Louis, for four days and had to cancel two shows but, finally, got it fixed. Two weeks later, the van broke down with the same problem in Salt Lake City, and we were there for ten days. Hippy (Chris Hughes - vocals/guitars) and I ended up flying out two days in, and ended up playing acoustic for eight shows. Our drummer Steve (Nunnaro), Erik (Hughes - bass) and two crew stayed in Salt Lake City for ten days, literally waiting for the van to get fixed. Since then, we don't even have a van anymore; we’ve ended up renting a van and trailer. We had no gear for a long amount of time, till our crew could meet up with us. When they did, within a day, our van got broken into and most of our merch money was stolen plus my X-Box and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was like this weird, dark cloud following us this entire tour. The funny thing is, everyone on this tour couldn't believe how pleasant, positive and happy we were. It's just like, there's nothing you can do. There were times where I just wanted to take a hammer and smash my face in, but you have to keep on trucking.

The shows have just been amazing. This is our first tour in the US in years, which kind of made it. When we would get back and pass on the news to the rest of the bands on this tour, they couldn't even believe it. The shows have been incredible and that's all that really matters.

ATP: 'The World I Want To Leave Behind', the new album. A lot of the new album was written while you were in London. How did this influence the writing of the record?
KB: Lyrically, it influenced it a lot. I wrote most of the lyrics in London last summer, when I was over there with Alexisonfire, filling in for their bass player for Reading and Leeds Festival. We just had all these days off, so I took my notepad and my iPod and would just walk. As soon as I would find something that inspired me, I would sit down and start writing. Sometimes I would start writing and nothing would come together but most of the time, I would sit down and a whole song would come out. Whatever I would be looking at, like facing, I would take a picture, that's all the photography throughout the CD booklet, that's the location where I was when writing those exact songs. I don't know what it was about London, I don't know why it was so inspiring, but I think because it was just such a change of atmosphere for me, just not being in Brampton, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto, Canada). There are so many things there, which I just don't get to see at home. The lyrical content of the record is looking at yourself within the world, it's not a judgmental record as far as in, 'This is what we need to do to make a better place', it's more, 'What can I do, to make my time here and the people around me better?' Not better, but not as in ‘taking things for granted,’ just so we don't wake up everyday asking what we are doing with our lives.

This record is definitely a more mature record, not just lyrically but musically too. Our drummer is married, Hippy has a kid, and I’ve been with my girlfriend, Lisa, for 13 years and we are getting married at some point. We've all grown up so much, and it makes you think, like how we fit in as in, rolling around on the ground, playing guitar, screaming our lungs out. We are all over 30 now, so it was really like a record seeing how we fit into the world, what we can do, and asking yourself, 'What do you want to be remembered for?' That's pretty much what the record is about.

ATP: Musically, the new album is more in-depth. For example, you use more instruments, including a string quartet. What was the motive behind this?
KB: We were at the point where we realized there are no rules; this is our band. We had no interest in changing our band as in, freaking people out, but there were a lot of things we wanted to try, like a lot more of this quiet, more atmospheric direction because it's something we really love but never really jumped in head first before. On the other side, some of the more intense songs like, 'Glasshouse' and 'The Monument', I was listening to a lot of Soundgarden, and was really into riffing, and that's how those songs came about. These are aspects of our band, which we've touched on, but never really just grabbed onto. I think this record was about not being afraid to try different things. When we got to play with a harp player at one point, I got to sit there, and play acoustic with her, and that was the most amazing musical moment in my life. It was crazy, I never thought I would get to sit and play with a harp player or a string quartet. It's so powerful and I love playing with really good musicians. We just fake our way through it, but people who play in string quartets can really play, they really know music, so you learn so much from them. It was really cool.

I wouldn't say this is our most ambitious record, because I would say our first full length is the most ambitious, because we did it in less then 10 days; when we go back to listen to it, I can't even believe what we were doing. But as far as now, this is something we want to be doing musically. I think it's really a step up from anything we've done before. I'm not saying it's better than any of our other records; it's just a different record.

ATP: This is the first record with new drummer, Steve Nunnaro. How has he settled in and what would you say he has added to the band’s sound?
KB: We've known him for years, so it wasn't a huge jump for us when he joined the band. He really let us write these different songs that I was talking about. Him and Peter (Krpan), our old drummer, are both great drummers but the cool thing is, that they are really different. Playing with Steve, was like, we were new born again. We just felt like the world was open for us and we can do whatever we want, especially with Steve, as he was so excited to play music, which is great. We threw him in headfirst. The first show he did was an MTV live sort of thing and it was the first time he was playing in public with us.

We do feel like we are starting over, especially since we've been out of the US for so long and coming back. It's been like, three years, so it feels like we are playing to a new generation of kids. Maybe I'm dating myself a little bit, but let's be honest, I'm getting old, I'm getting old. I'm 31, but that's all right. I can still rock

ATP: The new album is still yet to see a UK release. Are there any plans to do this in the new year?
KB: Yes, it's getting released in the early new year. Sometime in January, I don't know when. I don't know all the details, but our Canadian label, Dine Alone, are branching out, and are going to release it through a said label, but I don't know who yet. I believe it's more or less confirmed but all the contracts haven't been signed yet. That's why I can't say because all of a sudden, it'll be wrong, but there will be an official release date really soon.

ATP: Is there a plan to come to the UK?
KB: Yes. The plan is that, in the new year, we are going to come to the UK, do Germany, then go do Australia and then a headline in the US. I'm not sure if it's going to be a headline in the UK, it just all depends what happens with the release. Since there is no release, we are kind of worried about coming over to do a headline. I think some things might have got confusing, and some people might even know if we are still a band, but we'll see. There have definitely been some talks with friends about coming over with them, just doing a support tour, but we are going to wait and see.

ATP: Why did you part ways with Vagrant UK?
KB: It was a little bit of a surprise, but we wanted to see what other options we had open. I think it was because we don't sell a lot of records in the UK, but we kind of realize, the record industry are very scared, as far as taking a chance on us. It was one of those things where we wanted to see what was out there but then realized, there wasn't much, as we thought there would be. Then we got scared that we couldn't release the new record in the UK at all. Dine Alone stepped up, and said they wanted to expand their label anyway.

ATP: Your live shows are known for being chaotic and very energetic. Have you adapted the slower and quieter songs to your live environment?
KB: To me, it's the contrast and balance that we've always wanted in our live show. That’s the thing, we’ve always had these crazy moments but with the quieter parts, we would get lost. But now, there is this balance of the quieter songs, they stand out because they are so different compared to the other songs; but they make the more rock songs come up another notch. I love being able to mix up our set as much as we can do now.

ATP: The new album is a strong contender for one of our records of the year. What records have you enjoyed this year?
KB: Lots. Number 1, Mute Math. That record, I'll be honest, it's good, but not as good as the one before and three listens in, it destroys the last record. The new Muse record, I like a lot. Moving Mountains, they blew our minds. We saw them play on the first half of this tour, and we changed our entire set list because of them. They’re really spacey, atmospheric, but so intense. We kind of play the poppy rock songs for this tour but then when we saw them, they inspired us to bring back the kind of weird songs. It's amazing, we've been doing this for ten years, and then, we have a band that's not been around long, that's inspired us to dig deep inside of ourselves, to find what we used to be, that we forgot about. Those three records are the ones I've not stopped listening to.

ATP: What releases are you looking forward to in 2010?
KB: I don't know; all the bands I've been looking forward to released them all this year. To be honest, I don't know who is next year. As far as big ones, I think I got them all. 2009 has been the ‘grow on’ year for me, every record I love, had to grow on me, even Muse. I thought it was kind of cheesy, but it grew on me later. Maybe I'm just a hater at first, but love everything later, except for you. I loved you straight off the bat.

'The World I Want To Leave Behind' is out now on Vagrant Records US.

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!