Steve Aiello of Monty Are I
What do you do when there really isn’t an appropriate term to describe your band’s sound? Why make up a new one term course. Self-described “action” rockers Monty Are I are putting it mildly. At first glance you may mistake them for a musical army with their cavalcade of musical artillery. Sure they’ve got guitars, bass, drums, and keyboard but they don’t stop there…throw in some some brass – a trombone and a trumpet or two, and a few samples and then you’d be getting warm. Speaking of warm, they guarantee to melt your faces off! And melt faces they do.
With their latest release Wall Of People on Stolen Transmissions Records, Monty Are I (Steve Aiello on lead vocals and lead guitar, Ryan Muir on vocals, guitar and trumpet, Andrew Borstein on synth Keys, trombone, and vocals. Mike Matarese on bass, and Justin Muir on drums and sampling) have turned into touring pros, taking their traveling band all over the country and winning melted faces off everywhere they go. It’s hard not to like this band, their passion sort of jumps off of the stage and punches you in the face – in a good way of course. Their live set is mesmerizing, it’s sort of marching band meets guitar hero. While their album rocks I think the real magic is their live performance.
Notable tracks on Wall of People include the fan favorite, Zelda tribute Castle Bound as well as the Dublin Waltz which is an ode to love, lust, and a whole lot of alcohol. The album is an epic journey from start to finish.
Monty Are I are about to start a new tour with Yellowcard and Sum 41. Check them out!!
What is it you love about music?
I would say with me every time I listen to music there’s always a visual going on in my head. And I think that’s the cool thing about music, you can use your imagination, to get what you want out of it. That’s one of the cool things, music puts me in different places; I can sit and listen to a band like Muse or I sit and listen to Natalie Cole and get two different feelings out of it. I’ll listen to jazz on sundays because Sunday is a relaxing day for me, and that’s kind of like my own thing, different types of music put me in different kinds of places and I kinda thrive off that.
Describe you music for someone that has never heard of Monty Are I?
We call it action rock. We gave it a term because it’s that typical question that everyone always asks and no one can answer that question because no one really wants to answer that question. But we wanted some sort of term where people would either ask what it is or be confused by it or get some sort of reaction out of them, that’s all we cared about. So we came up with action rock and we think it describes our music pretty well. It’s just like a term for over the top energetic, bombastic, explosive stuff with melodies, Something epic and big, so we used that term.
The Monty Jump at Bamboozle 07 – Photo by Mary
What was the moment you knew you wanted to become a musician?
I was in fourth grade and my dad told me that he had he tried playing guitar and tried playing trumpet when he was younger. He just learned the basics. My dad is not a musician, no one in my family in general is really a musician, except my great uncle and grandfather who at one time played violin and drums. But other than that no one really played instruments in my family and no one really listened to music that much in my family either. So my dad told me how he had tried doing it and how he wasn’t really good at doing it, but he regretted not continuing with it and not carrying through. After hearing that I decided to play trumpet, so I started playing trumpet in fourth grade, picked up a guitar in sixth grade, I play both of those, obviously I play guitar now, but I played trumpet up until senior year in high school.
So you’re a band geek?
I was band president!!
Who are your influences?
I’ve decided there’s four basic categories of what I listen to, maybe five I don’t know. there’s the R&B stuff like Usher and Justin Timberlake shit that I love, then there’s like the metal stuff like Underoath and Metallica; those are some of my favorite bands ever. Then I listen to a lot of orchestrated stuff like Josh Groban, like pop orchestration stuff. I listen to a lot of soundtracks like Hans Zimmer and then like a lot of Michael Jackson. I try to pull from different areas, I feel it all comes into play when I’m writing music, or has a huge influence on how, I not necessarily write, but how I perceive a song.
What is your best moment as an artist?
I would say one of the best moments was our accomplishment of our EP in 2005 The Red Shift, the reason why is because at the time we were an unsigned band and we recorded pretty much the entire thing on our own in our practice space, and then we went on to Warped tour and sold 6000 copies of the album and when you put so much of yourself into something like that and it’s there for life and people have it and you can never go back and change anything with it. It really means a lot. Then we ended up taking 6 of those songs and putting them on our full length that we released when we got signed, we didn’t even change the songs really we just added stuff to it, we took the exact stuff we had recorded initially and used it on the record and that was a big accomplishment for the band we are our own producers and we are our own and we said fuck it let’s just do this! I think it showed a lot about individually what we can do and I’m proud of us for doing it.
What was the worst moment as an artist?
Hmm I don’t know.
Technical difficulties?(earlier during the show the equipment had been acting up and they seemed slightly aggravated with it!)
Maybe yeah I was pretty pissed off tonight about that, I dunno if there was really any bad moments, I can’t really say, it’s always been a progression for us and I don’t even mean musically, I mean from the beginning getting the point where we were signed which was just last year, even now we are still making headway, and trying to gain fan by fan so it’s never been a digression or bad moment in the band.
If you could work with any artist living or dead who and why?
I’ll give you one living and one dead, no I’ll give you two living – one living would definitely be Slash for sure. He’s my hero/ and James Hetfield from Metallica. I guess working with him but touring with them would be MUSE. I don’t listen to a lot of music that’s coming out now but they are a band that are fucking incredible and I respect them as musicians. Their music speaks for itself. The other person I’d like to work with is Freddie Mercury, unfortunately he’s dead but he’s the man and he will live on forever through his music. I cant wait to buy the live Queen dvd.
We wanted to know, what’s with the Owl?
We all quit college and quit our jobs and moved into this house together. My Dad was like was “Yo Ive got this owl, so if birds siht on the roof you can put it on the roof and it will scare them away.” So I was like cool and took him. We were drunk one night and gave him a name, we called him Tootie. I don’t even know what the hell was going on but we were recording demos for our record and we set the guitar up next to him and filmed him and then I just like gave him a voice with a low pitch. He turned into this character that smokes, drinks and is a real womanizer and a real bastard.
Maybe an alter ego?
Not for me no, he’s just a complete asshole and we kept making videos with him in it and people really reacted to it. Now he has his own mySpace page with fans, people bring him stuff at shows.
That’s like our mascot Spooky! Unfortunately he never gets to hang with me in Florida but he likes to crawl down rockstars pants.
There you go! We don’t know what’s up with that owl, now he’s a part of our crew.
You like video games obviously, do you like any of the new video games?
I haven’t really gotten much into the new stuff – Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution – I just played them literally two weeks ago. DDR I was like a little girl, I was giggling. Guitar Hero is badass, you just have so much fun rocking out. The Twilight Princess for Wii, the Zelda Game, that’s sick, I played that and that was awesome.
So I guess that answers my next question about if you still play Zelda –
I haven’t played it too much because I don’t have a Wii but I want to buy it.
So what’s next for you guys?
So right now we’re working on a new record, we’re coming up the road in September to write the rest of it and probably record in January. But we’re not really certain because if touring opportunities come up we’ll take them. If we have a chance to keep touring on this record we will. We all feel like we can still reach a large audience and we’d like to keep going. We’ll also be doing Warped tour this summer and we’ll see what happens from there.
Parting words to your fans?
In the last year we’ve been touring our asses off and this is the first time we’ve been on a really long run and we appreciate everyone coming to the shows and it’s been a gradual process for us and that’s how we wanted it to be. We never wanted to come out and be a big band right away we wanted the grassroots following and talk to people when they come to the shows, we appreciate everyone that comes out.we’ve met some really great people and that helps us out. That’s really all we give a shit about, we just want people to come out, sing along, and kick some ass with us. All we want to do is rock the fuck out every night. Thats it – come to the shows, check out our record and have a good time!