Interview: May, 16th 2018

We asked Dan Baune, guitarist Monument, some questions about the band and his personal taste. Find out which album he bought first and what his favorite albums are!

– How did you meet each other as a band back in 2011?

Peter (Ellis, singer) and Lewis (Stephens, guitarist) were in a trad metal band called White Wizzard together in the US. Both left the band at more or less the same time and returned to the UK, where they both grew up. They had a strong interest to continue working in a classic metal scenario, so Monument was formed. I joined the band in 2012, after the first EP was already out. The first week after I joined we went to the studio to record a version of “Black Night” as a tribute to John Lord, which we released with the sole purpose of raising money for Ian Paice’s charity, the Sunflower Jam. Then we pretty much went straight ito pre-production for the first album. It’s been a hell of a rollercoaster ride ever since!

– In how many days/weeks did you record the album Hellhound?

It’s not that simple anymore these days I’m afraid, we couldn’t simply take a month off and record everything in one go. Our drummer Giovanni lives in Italy, the rest of us are spread out all over the UK. So, we spent a week recording drums in September 2017, then a week doing guitars probably about a month later. Bass happened closer to Christmas and only took 3 days or so. Then the vocals, overdubs, keyboards and solos were done a day here a day there between Christmas and the end of January 2018. The thing with singing is that you can only really do a few hours a day with this style of music, as it is very intense and physically challenging. Luckily, Peter lives in London, and I live just outside, so he would just come to my studio (RockFall Recordings) and I did the engineering. So I suppose all in all it took 4 or 5 months, but the total recording time if you added up the hours would be more like 3 or 4 weeks.

– What is the biggest success with the band so far?

We’ve done some very cool festivals in the past, such as Bloodstock, PPM and Rock Hard Festival, but this year will trump all of that! Other than that, for me it’s the people we get to work with. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to work with producers like Tony Newton and Roy Z, and guest performers such as Richie Faulkner and Bob Katsionis for example. Working with these cats is incredibly challenging and rewarding, they keep you on your toes and make you constantly up your game, but it’s loads of fun and the results have always been more than satisfactory for us! Also, we just officially got endorsed by Blackstar Amps, a company that I have admired for years, so I’m counting that very much as a success too 🙂

– Where would you ever want to perform?

For me, Wacken is a big one. I used to go there religiously as a teenager and it holds a very special place in my heart til this day. Otherwise, oh I dunno, we just want to go… EVERYWHERE!! CONQUER THE WORLD HAHAHA!! Seriously though, there are some great territories for our type of music out there, the US, South America, India, Japan… We can’t wait to stretch out more internationally in the years to come!

– Which artist would you like to work with?

There are many answers to that question depending on what you mean by “work with”, so I’ll just pick an example and hopefully that answers your question a little. In a live setting, we would love to do some package tours with the likes of Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest or Diamond Head for example. You see a lot of Thrash bands doing that sort of thing these days, like the Slayer farewell tour with Testament, Anthrax and Behemoth that recently started for example. Now imagine an Arena tour with us and 2 great classic metal bands for example, wouldn’t that be something?!

– Where do you hope to be with the band in 5 years time?

Playing live more, all across the globe, full time if possible! Play all over the world, continue to make great albums, meet and work with great positive people. In 5 years time I see us being higher on the bill at all the major European festivals and doing world tours, releasing our 6th album or so.

– What are your ambitions for the near future?

We want to absolutely kill it at these festivals this summer and bring our show and our music to may more eyes and ears across Europe! Once festival season is over, we will plan a tour for the autumn or the spring and start work on our next recording venture. No rest for the wicked!

– Which band would you like to join as a support act?

Maiden, Saxon, Priest, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Airbourne, Iced Earth, Accept, Grave Digger.

– Suppose Monument were for example as big as Metallica, which band would you like to take as a support act?

There are some really great trad metal bands in the UK, Toledo Steel, Kaine and Primitai for example. Their sound would work very well with ours and they all deserve a shot!

A few questions about the background of your personal taste:

– Do you still know your first contact with Heavy Metal? How was that like?

For me it was actually kind of backwards. When I was 12 or so, Rap was very big, so through artists like Eminem and the Wu Tang Clan I got to bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn. From there I just kind of went back in time really, discovered Motörhead, Maiden, Metallica, Deep Purple and so on. I got into power metal, melo-death and all sorts, but in the end the music that still speaks to me most is that classic stuff from the 70s and 80s.

– Which record has formed your heavy metal taste the most?

A veeeery difficult question haha. There is so much good music out there, it’s hard to just pick one record. But if my life depended on it, I’d probably pick Iron Maiden’s “Brave New World“. It’s one of those records that just came to me at the right time in my youth and I can still listen to it over and over again without a single moment of boredom.

– Which metal album did you buy first?

I think I went out and baught 2 that day, which were “Bastards” by Motörhead and “Untouchables” by Korn.

– Which album made a massive impression on you?

Let’s go with Judas Priest’s “Sad Wings Of Destiny” here. That record has such an other-worldly mood, I’ve never heard anything like it since. Magical!

– If you take a maximum of 5 albums with you, for example to an uninhabited island, which ones would you definitely take with you?

Iron Maiden “Brave New World“, Judas Priest “Sad Wings Of Destiny“, Motörhead “Bastards“, Queensryche “The Warning” and Nevermore “This Godless Endeavor“.

– On which album would you’ve liked to play yourself?

Ooooh, interesting question… Let me go a completely different direction here and say Avenged Sevenfold “Nightmare“. Such a good album!

– What do you think is the best live album?

For me, Maiden’s “Rock In Rio“. Not because it’s the best or whatever, it was again just one of those albums that found it’s way into my life at the right age. I love all the Maiden live stuff, the Purple live stuff, Whitesnake, Dio, Sabbath, Lizzy’s “Live And Dangerous“, but “Rock In Rio” just absolutely blew me away when I was 14 haha.

– Which album do you play the most in recent weeks/months?

The new Judas Priest “Firepower“!! Let’s see… The latest Ayreon “The Source” I also really enjoy, as well as “The Stage” by A7X.

– Which album do you like best so far in 2018?

Judas Priest “Firepower” hands down!

– Do you have any more interest besides Heavy Metal?

I do a lot of audio production these days, so mixing and recording I very much enjoy. Other than that, I like the gym, nature, books (fiction, philosophy, history, etc.), good food and once in a while a good RPG!

– And we’ll finish off with the most happy question of all, which song should they definitely play at your funeral.

Hahaha, oh Glob… How about we go super classic and go with Candlemass “Bewitched” which has the awesome funeral march intro 😉

– Is there anything else you would like to say?

Buy the album!