Monsterwatch, three-piece punk band from Seattle, recently returned home from their first tour and released a new album, Z O T. The EP was recorded live in the main room of Birdhouse Studios in Ballard with Steve Fisk and Arsen Gogeshvili. The content of Z O T’s lyrics largely pertains to mental health. Vocalist John Spinney says, “My lyrics can get pretty dark and that’s kind of the whole point… The mind can travel into some really dark places sometimes and for people to hear someone…put dark and depressing thoughts into lyrics…is a good way for people to realize they need to talk about what’s going on inside their head or find an outlet to properly talk about things.”
The band’s favorite song from their album is Brain Twist because, “the song is just really fun to play…We always open with it which is a great way to start the set off.” Spinney’s personal favorite song from the EP is Big Sin because, though he didn’t initially like it when recording, “when we mixed everything and tracked vocals the song came to life which was a cool thing to experience.”
Their first tour was a learning experience, but overall a good one. Spinney says, “Tour was really fun. It was extremely rough at times but we got through it. Next time we hit the road will be a lot better for sure.” His favorite experience performing was on tour in Provo, Utah which he says, “was nuts. We played in a Garage with like 40-50 angsty kids that just went absolutely insane. That was the last stop on our tour and all 3 of us were having a pretty hard time that day so it was a blessing to end the tour like that and we most certainly plan on going back there.” In addition to Provo, the trio performed at South by Southwest Music Festival in March at “this weird online streaming thing for Dick’s Burgers and Lyft.” While they weren’t a part of an official showcase, Spinney said, “It got some views and was a pretty fun time.”
After tour, their former bassist, Charles Richards left the band. Of the departure, Spinney says, “I think it just wasn’t for him. Touring is a hard thing to do and sometimes being trapped in a van with the same 3 people for 8-12 hours a day can really wear down on you. But he did a lot for us while he was involved and we love him forever.” Their new bass player, Jack Gamero, took over on bass after hanging out with the band: “he’d just always be at every show going on around here and he was always so genuine with everyone. Always had an awesome time when we’d kick it at shows. Then I found out he played bass and well… Let’s just say the band is really happy to have him onboard.” After their first practice together, “everything just felt right.”
Though the band is thriving with its newest addition, they have faced challenges. The biggest of which, Spinney says, was finding their sound because “there are endless possibilities to writing a song and…dialing in certain sounds and themes you want to share with other people is the biggest challenge.”
In the future, Spinney says he personally aspires to perform in Europe because, “a lot of people say we sound like a British band,” which he appreciates given that the trio’s influences are UK bands (Wolf Alice, Shame, IDLES, Shopping). In Seattle, they’re more frequently likened to a grunge revival band, which Spinney says “is cool…but I don’t really listen to grunge music aside from the classics here and there.” Though they identify more with UK music, Monsterwatch plans to stay in Seattle for the foreseeable future, “as long as the rent doesn’t keep going up.”
Fans can expect Monsterwatch to put out a music video (or maybe two) this summer. They’re working on new music which they say, “is headed in a different direction.” Catch them playing at the Sunset on June 23 and at the High Dive on July 28. They’re also doing a regional tour in July and August (dates available at www.monsterwatchnoise.com).
Spinney says their ultimate end goal is to create timeless music and be enabled to see the world through their music: “I adore the thought of being able to play songs that you created in a new city, country every few days.”
Their favorite local bands are Antonioni: “they just have a really solid foundation and I love seeing them live. I usually just stare at Austin and wish I was as good on the guitar as he is. Sarah’s voice is marvelous too. They’re just a really freakin’ good band and I can’t wait to play with them again in July.” They also love FLRT, Baywitch, Sashay, Snuff Redux, Raven Hollywood, Salt Lick, and Nauticult but say that, “the list could go on forever.” Their favorite things about Ballard are the venues and Sonic Boom Records, where Spinney says is the only place he shops for records. “This part of Seattle is getting pretty gentrified but it’s still fun for now.
To aspiring musicians, Monsterwatch advises: “Keep writing always and ask for constructive criticism. Keep that head up.”
You can listen to Monsterwatch via Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play, and Bandcamp.
The band wishes to thank Steve and Arsen “for believing in us and making a great record together,” everyone who attends their shows because, “That’s the only way we can keep going,” and any bands they’ve shared a stage with.