Benny Monteux Interview and Review - Thomas Neil

One of our interviewers caught up with the talented Benny Monteux for a chat a wee while ago, and he had quite a bit to say! Have a read of both the interview and the review, then visit the links and check the music out;

Benny Monteux:  Singer/Guitarist

Genre: Punk Rock

Location: Edinburgh Based

Where are you from?

I'm from sunny Auld Reekie!

How long have you been playing your instrument/singing?

I've been playing guitar seriously for about 11 years, and singing as a frontman for 8 or so.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?

Punk rock, but for people that like a good pop song!

What are your influences?

Frank Turner, pretty much every project that Brian Fallon has ever been involved in (The Gaslight Anthem, Horrible Crowes, Brian Fallon and The Crowes, etc etc), basically everything that Vinnie Caruana does (you may see that a little on the new record) and old school pop punk like The Ataris, MXPX, The Movielife and New Found Glory.

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?

From time to time - again, it's usually something Ataris, Gaslight Anthem or Eagles! Depends if the mood takes me.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?

To be completely honest it entirely depends on the time and mind frame that I'm in. I've tried to approach each record a different way - like with ''Dance on Your Memories'' I had a story in mind that I built the lyrics around, then I wrote the music for it and took it to the band. But this time around none of the songs are really connected, and I'm doing it in a way where I take the bare songs to the boys and they all write their respective parts to it. People ask what comes first all the time too, lyrics or music - but it is genuinely a chicken or egg situation! I think it's good to branch out and try new things every time - keeps it interesting!

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?

I've been quite lucky in that I've been able to support some of my heroes - I opened for Kris Roe last year in Edinburgh, and he has a reputation for being this hothead dick - turns out he's one of the nicest, most humble guys out there and he thought I was so good that he made me sign a CD for him to take back to his girlfriend in the states. Lovely! One of my first full band shows was also at the now defunct HMV Picturehouse supporting Lost In Audio back in 2012 - it is on record still the biggest show comprising of entirely unsigned acts that's been put on in Scotland so far!

What has been your biggest challenge as a musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

To be honest the biggest challenge I face is being a solo artist who isn't conventionally radio friendly. For some reason the industry looks at solo acts differently and so do promoters - we're forever getting chucked on first at shows when there's nobody there! I've managed to overcome it by getting involved in Scotland's DIY punk scene, constantly putting myself out there and getting on higher calibre shows, putting on my own shows and making people realise that I'm not just another kid with an acoustic guitar playing songs about heartbreak. I'm here to stay!

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?

I'm on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Mp3, Deezer, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube... you can listen to me and download me for free pretty much everywhere you can think of! Just type ''Benny Monteux'' into any of those sites.

Have you released anything yet/if so how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?

I've currently got two EPs out and two singles - they've gone down pretty well! For my ''Greetings From Nowhere City'' single we threw a launch party which sold out, and we did the same for my 2014 EP ''Dance On Your Memories''. There's always going to be the songs that people ask for more than others or relate to more than others which is definitely the case - but I'm in the process of writing record number 3, so hopefully that'll be recorded and out within the first half of 2017. Other than that, touring touring touring. I've got plans to hit England and mainland Europe next year!

Where have you performed? What are your favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

I've performed all over Scotland, in every major city, and at this point I've literally played in every Edinburgh venue that'll host a band too! I absolutely love Stereo, Bloc (Glasgow) and The Banshee Labyrinth, The Mash House and Studio 24 (Edinburgh)!

I've got three upcoming shows, two of which are with Dave McPherson from InMe -

Opium, Edinburgh 26/9

Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow 27/9

Then I'm back in Glasgow again on 6th October with The Eagertongue and Rainfalls at The Old Hairdressers!

What do you think about downloading music online?

I absolutely support it. It's so fucking hard to get noticed these days, and pretty much everyone has a smartphone or some kind of device - so making yourself readily available to the tech savvy generation is 100 percent the best way to go if you want people to buy records and consider coming to a show.

Our excellent interviewer decided it was best to check out and review Benny's new album titled Red Doors, check it out;

Recently I was given the opportunity to listen to the work of an Edinburgh Based singer and guitarist by the name of Benny Monteux whose music is described as ‘Punk Rock for Pop Lovers’. All I can say right now is that if his music was playing behind that red door, nothing could stop me from popping my head in and having a proper listen.

When I got the track to listen to I was in a state of transition, I’d just started college and I was moving house and his music provided the backdrop to those experiences. It summed up a lot of what I felt and what I was thinking. I had the chance to speak with Benny about the inspiration for his song (Red Doors) and he had this to say;

“I've been through a lot the last year or so with family, friends, jobs and even had a friend die. I got in a pretty dark place for a while then started to bring myself out of it - so that's when I knew it was time to start the third record. The running theme is pretty much loss and reinvention”

If you’re going through some big changes in your life and you need something that can sympathise with you and sound great while doing it then Red Doors might be the song for you.

Before I was given this review to listen to I’m sad to say I’d never heard any of his work before. That’s a mistake a plan to rectify as soon as possible. In fact (and I promise this is unpaid promotion) he has a gig on the 27th September at Nice N’ Sleazy in Glasgow and I plan to attend to hear him first hand. I advise that you do the same if you can.

Alongside Red Doors I also listened to another track entitled ‘Greetings from Nowhere City’ which is actually an acoustic version of a previous single and I loved it almost as much as Red Doors. In Bennys own words, Nowhere City is a metaphor for Edinburgh and being disheartened with your surroundings.

“It's kind of about when you feel older than everyone and everything else. Like you reflect and ask yourself why nothing is the same anymore”

Again this is something that we’ve all felt at one time or another. It feels like a complete disconnect with your surroundings. Now Edinburgh is a big place but I imagine that when you’re sick of it, it becomes a whole lot smaller. Benny hit the nail on the head though because we all do feel that way especially when you’ve lived somewhere along time. I’m from a small town in Ayrshire and I’ve lost track of the amount of times that I’ve had those conversations with people, about how the same street and same town that we played in as kids doesn’t feel quite like it used to. In my opinion it’s a bit like that old hoodie that you know you’ve outgrown but have too much of an attachment to let go off or for those of you less stunted emotionally than me it’s like an old lover who you never quite got over. As they say, home is where the heart is but while my heart is wandering down old streets I’d rather forget the rest of me is moving on and going wherever life takes me.