My name is James Clarke and I sing, play guitar and bass for the Austin Texas 2 piece band Monte Luna.
2.When did you decide you wanted to be in a band?
I think it has always been inside me. Ever since I was young I wanted to do it, I’ve been in bands in the past but none of them went anywhere. This is my first band that has not only had a successful first tour (got out of debt and made enough money to record our next album) but has gotten a record deal for vinyl. (Argonauta Records)
3. What is different about being a musician than you imagined?
Nothing, I have always been into the work ethic of Black Flag, I’ve even emailed Henry Rollins about what to expect a few times, honestly he answered and told me to stick to finishing college over this haha, I took his advice, but I’m still doing music long after graduating.
4.What gear do you use and why?
To get my tone I use a Matamp GT2 for the Guitar rig into a 4x12 with V30s, and the bass cabinet is a Gallien Krueger 1001rb run into a 2x15 cab with 1000 watt weber speakers, my cabinets are custom made by Worshiper Cabinets, they sponsored our 2018 East Coast tour and they are great personal friends of ours! For pedals I really only run a tuner, and delay on guitar side and a octave and a fuzz for bass. I ABY the signal of both rigs into my Gibson Studio. We are a two piece band, we had to get creative on the low end.
5. What music do you listen to that would surprise people?
If you knew me my musical taste wouldn’t surprise you, but I suppose for metal community, I really love George Harrison, Pinback, Miles Davis, Funkadelic, The Kills, Yes, Ghost Face Killa, John Mclaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Drive By Truckers and Lung.
6. How do we find your music and merch to buy?
Our music is on bandcamp, www.monteluna666.bandcamp.com, our vinyl is on www.monteluna.bigcartel.com for US,CA and UK. For EU shop at http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/en/home/252-monte-luna-st-2lp-lilac-opaque.html to buy directly from our record label.
Our merch is down at the moment, we are still working on what we need to reorder since we got home from tour. But it will most likely be on monteluna.bigcartel.com when it goes up. Or people can message us to see if we have something in stock. We have a new line of t shirts coming out early next year that are all Dungeons and Dragons themed drawn by artists like David Paul Seymour and Scott Bunonocristo. Look out for them soon/
7. How did you get a record deal? Or do you want a record deal or are you DIY?
We did what I honestly consider a soft release of our album September 2017 and it was met with great reviews. The Sludgelord in particular gave our album much praise, best new album of 2017 etc etc, he personally messaged our record label and Gero (President of Argonauata records) loved it! It took us about 4 months to go from the release of digital, cd and tape to vinyl. Our cds and tapes sold really well too! In fact, there is only one cd left on our bandcamp! We are still mostly a DIY band.
8. What bands do people compare your music to?
We’ve heard all sorts of bands, Big Business, Godflesh, Neurosis, OM, someone told us we sound like Made out of Babies.
9. Are you pro Spotify / streaming services ?
Or do you think it hurts sales? I’m indifferent, I think its great more people can hear it but right now we don’t have the catalog for us to really worry about it. I’m cool with YouTube and what not, if people want to hear it they will hear it. I’ve been told were on a Russian torrent site too! We really made it to the big leagues!
10. What’s the ultimate goal for the band?
The ultimate goal for the band? Well id say it would be nice for us to have success and great tours, play festivals and write the music we want to write with out compromise. To give people a live performance that captivates them and to work hard on our dreams.
11. Will we see you tour?
We have! We wrapped up a 3+ Week tour of the East Coast in May. We are planning smaller runs working up to our West Coast tour next June (2019), followed by a full US tour (2020) an then Europe after that.
12. Who would you love to tour with?
Our friends in Goya, Toke or our label mates Destroyer of Light! But our dream tour would be to open for the Melvins or Neurosis. We could die happy at that point.
13.What is your favorite song of yours and why?
My favorite song we have released so far would probably be Inverted Mountain, but the live version, we add a few cool parts into the song that really change the whole feel. I am looking forward to doing a live album of our set sometime soon like our friends in Duel. “Monte Luna live from the Electric Church” has a nice ring to it.
14. Why should people take the time to listen to your band over the thousands of other bands?
Because we love what we do, and we are a two-piece band that sounds like a 7-piece band. Monte Luna cares about our fans and we work hard to do what we need to do to put on a damn good live show. We are also not trying to reinvent the wheel, our style of music is different that your standard Electric Wizard worship you see, we don’t want to copy anyone. Just have fun and play original music.
15.What are your favorite music websites labels podcast etc?
I really like Shadebeast Records, Doomed and Stoned, the Sludgelord, The Obelisk, Riffrelevant and Argonauta Records sites a lot. I spend a lot of time scrolling them, also Allthatisheavy.com. They distribute our vinyl as well as tons of other great bands.
16. Is imagery important to you? Do you judge albums by the cover?
Imagery is very important to us, just look at our album covers, our t shirts and you will know this. I think an album is all encompassing. The visual aspect is equally as important to the music. We put a lot of money made back into art work for the band.
17.If you could choose a cover song your band mates would hate what would it be?
I hate doing covers, but I guess what would Phil hate? Probably if we covered Mudvayne Dig. I really don’t want to think about this, this is a nightmare scenario to cover anything that we both wouldn’t like. I think if we ever actually do a cover song it will be either Mountain, Alice in Chains or something very random.
18.Is the record or live show more important?
Live show, you can polish any turd in the studio, if you suck live you suck. I’ve seen bands that cant perform for shit but can pass in on a cd as bearable.
19. Name 3 people dead or alive you would want to play your music for.
Buzz Osborne, Scott Kelly, Rob Crow. No sense is showing someone if they are dead.
20. Lemmy Ozzy Dio and Rob Halford in a cage match who wins?
Lemmy as long as his tag team partner is Cactus Jack.
21. Do you have any shows/ albums coming up?
Everything on the calendar right now is Texas, for Austin we have Sept 1st,October 6th, 19th. We play Corpus Cristi October 5th at Black Monk Tavern, Dan Electros in Houston November 2nd, Division Brewery in Arlington November 3rd, and Revolution Bar in Bryan November 16th. We are going back to Matador Studios September 14th and until the 17th to record our next NYP EP with an exclusive track to be put out on Sludgelord records. We will also be recording our next full length album due out on Argonauta Records Q3 of next year (2019) these albums will be much different than our current releases but will still be Monte Luna. We have started to play some of the new songs out and about! People have really been enjoying the new songs and we are excited to do these next to albums with a totally different approach than the last EP and Full length, as they are both tied into the same concept.
22. Any last words?
I just wanted to say how thankful I am to be a Texas metal musician, I think we have one of the tightest groups in the whole damn world and this community is very supportive of each other. We all need to work together instead of dividing up, Black Metal, Sludge, Thrash, Doom, Death, we are all metal heads and we all love music. Even bands that aren’t metal, I don’t know why some people are afraid to play with other genres, we’ve played punk shows, noise shows, mixed bills with multiple genres. It’s all good music so why not expand your horizons.