Monolith: The end of the world ?

DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean


The release of this CD after all the years must be like a dream comes true for you. Did you sometime stop believing in this?

For me, the release of the CD was a good dream come true. I waited 20 years for the public to hear my music, and now, finally it is becoming popular. I did stop believing for a short period of time 1991-1993, but I never stopped trying to make something happen. Probably due to the fact that I believe in my music.

How did you come in touch with Musea?

My new, good friend Rene Janssen of the Dutch Prog-Rock website advised me to send demos to various companies. After reviewing the various websites, I knew Musea was the best for me, so Rene and I kept pushing them. Bernard, the President of Musea stayed in touch while all the other important members of the company auditioned the demo. Finally they agreed to a distribution only deal.

What about the recording? Did you use the origin tapes? Was there a kind of remastering or rerecording?

8 of the songs on the CD were already recorded and mixed to DAT. We recorded 3more songs for the CD, however the 3 were from the same era as the Apocalypse Concept. After the 3 were finished, we mastered the 11 and burned the disc.

There is no booklet - I think it's only a question of coast. But when you are signed by a label like Musea I think it would be fair to support you also on the financial side. I think it's quite simple to bring only the name Musea on the record - and that's all...

There is no booklet because I had to finance everything myself. I had no financial assistance from Musea or the other band members. This has always been MY project, so I have always paid for everything. Musea offered a distribution only deal and therefore they would not put out any money. I had a difficult time come up with the money needed for the recording studio, mastering studio, CD duplication and shipping the CDs to France. I had to sell my Rolex and some keyboards to do this. Fortunately the CD is selling and things are more settled now and all is paid for.

The band name comes from some famous science fiction movies - why espacially2001 and 2010?

The Monolith in those 2 films held something special for me. The Monolith is dark, mysterious and omni powerful, like me and my music, so I found it to be fitting. Also, I am registered with BMI as Monolith Music Publishing since 1988.

Some people could say bringing out this record now is like an anachronism

I don't fully subscribe to that idea. Yes, it would have been better for a 1970'srelease, however my music for the CD was not completed until 1979, so it was to late for that. This point in time, 1998 is ok because there are many fans of this style of music all over the world. If they want a true taste of the 70's in a new band, they have it with MONOLITH.

There are some AOR oriented trax on the record - don't you believe they could be "out of the character"?

You are referring to "Mister Personality" and "When Push Comes to Shove". I was not keen to put these 2 songs on the CD, however, Bernard at Musea thought it was a good idea. I don't disagree with him, as it gives something a little different for the fans.

You believe that the end of the world is coming soon. Why you are so sure? And - where do you take the power to create in view of the apocalypse?

If you are a true believer in the Bible, especially the Book of Revelations, you see and hear the many things happening in the world today, and see that things are progressively getting worse. Actually, you don't have to be a person of enormous faith to agree with that. There is a feeling that overcomes me much of the time that causes me to "feel" the end coming. Of course, nobody knows exactly when, except for God himself. The music on the CD was written from 1976-1979, while the AOR songs were written in 1988-89. I have a lot more material that is in demo form. This CD is an absolute inspiration from elsewhere to write about the Apocalypse and related themes. These songs carry a message which I believe people would do well to listen to and to remember.

Do you think about adding an regular guitar player in Monolith?

I can easily live with or without a guitar player, but personally I like a 3 piece band. But if the fans really wanted a guitar player, I would consider it, only if I found a proper type of player with the right mind set for this music. Someone like a Steve Howe, Steve Hackett, Greg Lake type.

How would you like to develop in the future? Do you think about changing your style?

I have not really thought about changing anything. I like the style of music that I write & record, and so do many other people, so I doubt I will change anything. I am planning the new CD for sometime next year, however, I cannot talk about that at the moment.

What is the best thing in musical business? And - on the other side – what is the worst thing?

The absolute best would be to play live in front of 15-50 thousand people. The worst is not playing live for anyone. Unfortunately, the latter is the current state of affairs.

Is there a most important event in the history of the band?

At this point in time, I would have to say that the acceptance by Musea and the fans and the release of the CD were really gratifying experiences. Beyond that, nothing super outrageous has happened yet. I feel that we will continue to progress towards a prosperous future.

What do you think about the situation of your musical genre in the presence and what will change in the future?

I think that my musical genre at this point in time is just fine. As I have said, there are many fans of this style. The future will continue to release hundreds of new releases of various styles. The new rock music being played on FM radio in the USA, to me is nowhere near the caliber of progressive rock in the past. Everything depends on individual taste in music. Everyone is an individual and therefore will listen to whatever pleases them. I personally feel that the best rock music came from bands like ELP, UK, Triumvirat, Yes and Refugee. The music that came from these bands was the most innovative that has ever been released. I would argue very strongly against anyone who said otherwise.

How would you see the relation between music and lyrics? Some musicians don't care about the lyrics, others understand the music as a vehicle to fit the lyrics...

Fortunately for me, for all of my songs, the music and lyrics came together at the same time. I think the only song which did not happen that way was Mister Personality. The lyrics came after the music, but they came instantly. I feel that the music and lyrics must have a strong relationship, otherwise you end up with weak material.

© Renald Mienert
DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean