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Interview with Monkey Paw
By Peter Schmidtz, St@tic
(more articles from this author)
2001-10-09
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Fresh on the news that they were being signed to Orange Recordings, Monkey Paw takes some time out to take a look at what the future holds.

[St@tic Multimedia] How did you come up with the name Monkey Paw?

Monkey Paw We love monkeys. We wanted to have a band name with the word monkey in it and a friend suggested Monkey Paw.

[St@tic Multimedia] How long has the band been together? How do you go about writing songs?

Monkey Paw We have been together almost 3 years. I met Ajay during my high school years and we played together in another band in college which will forever remain unnamed. We were awful.

[St@tic Multimedia] What do you as a band wish to achieve musically?

Monkey Paw We don't have an actual goal. For me the band is a creative outlet. I have lots of energy and my brain is always brewing. The band is how I release that. Its sort of like masturbation....but not as messy.

[St@tic Multimedia] On your last full length recording you touched on a variety of musical styles. What are some of the bands musical influences?

Monkey Paw We like anything that does not suck. No matter what style of music it is you can tell within about 30 seconds whether or not something sucks. We try to avoid the stuff that sucks.

[St@tic Multimedia] On your follow up EP, you recorded with Steve Albini. Did his participation in the recording process impact your music and how?

Monkey Paw Sonically....yes. These are absolutely the best recordings we have ever done. We recorded all 4 songs in one day (tracking and mixing). I think Steve was a little frustrated with this. Ideally he would like to take a little more time with each song . He does not like to be rushed and with good reason. We literally plugged in our amps and within minutes we were tracking. He did not mess with the knobs on my amp or put any effects on my guitar or vocals. It was very refreshing. As most people know that have worked with him he is not a producer. We used him strictly to sonically document what we were doing at that moment. Almost like taking a picture. I liken recording with Albini to taking a black and white picture. No frills. Its just you vs. the room and Steve referees.

[St@tic Multimedia] Does having members in the band that run a record label (4 Alarm Records) affect the way that some of the bands decisions are made and vice versa?

Monkey Paw Absolutely. We are able to avoid many rookie mistakes and dangerous pitfalls. Having that kind of experience reside with actual members has proven invaluable.

[St@tic Multimedia] What do you think of the Chicago music scene today? Who are some of your favorite local bands?

Monkey Paw Its creepy.. I think Chicago lacks a "cool" staple rock scene. On one end you have artsy indie rock (which is great but not totally satisfying on its own) and on the other end you have commercial rock (which is more of an annoyance than anything). Both groups seem to hate each other immensely. It makes for a very weird scene. We have tons of local favorites but none that I care to mention, I always feel like I am name dropping when I do that.

[St@tic Multimedia] What are the bands plans for this summer?

Monkey Paw We purchased a vehicle (a retired ambulance actually) for touring this summer. We plan on touring out to New York at least once a month. We have secured 2 days at EAR with Steve in July and hope to record the remainder of the album. There is an indie label on the west coast that has shown an interest and we hope to put a record out with them by the end of summer. Regardless, we will put the record out ourselves if we have to. It sucks spending everything you have on anything but its worth it.

[St@tic Multimedia] With a lot of things going on in the music industry with the internet, what do you think about sites like Napster and where do you think things will progress in the future?

Monkey Paw I think both sides have very strong points and I wish that I gave a fuck but I don't. I don't use napster. (mostly because my computer is slow as shit) I still like buying physical albums.

[St@tic Multimedia] What is your favorite monkey movie?

Monkey Paw Its a tie between "Planet of the Apes" and "Every Which Way But Loose". I love it when the monkey hits.


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