Ever heard the name Kenny Bridges? No? How about Peter Krpan, Erik Hughes, or Hippy Hughes? Still nothing? Well, know them. And know them well, because these four seemingly average guys are Moneen, and they’re taking the musical world by storm. Armed with an amazing show, catchy tunes, and a sense of humour, they’re changing the world, one note at a time.
How did you guys initially meet, and why did you decide to form a band together?
Peter: [whistles] I guess it kind of starts with me and then it ends with you.
Erik: Yeah, kind of. We’re all just from other bands in the past. I was in a band with Harris, our guitar tech, called Dylan Dog. Peter, what was your band called?
Peter: I was in an old band, and well… how I met Kenny was, I dropped out of university to pursue my musical aspirations and met Kenny in a music store in Brampton and jammed with him and Hippy and then we ended up hooking up with Erik to go on our first tour.
Erik: Hippy and Kenny were in a band called Perfectly Normal, and then from that came Moneen. I kind of came later as the tour guy, and then later…
Peter: …kind of joined the band.
Peter: Fully joined the band.
Erik: Yeah. So that’s how it started.
Alright, how would you guys describe Moneen’s sound to anyone who hasn’t heard you guys before?
Peter: Gunshots rang out like a bell / I grabbed my nine – all I heard was shells / Fallin’, on the concrete real fast / Jumped in my car, slammed on the gas / Bumper to bumper the avenue’s packed / Tryin’ to get away before the jackers jack / Police on the scene / Y’know what I mean? / They passed me up, confronted all the dope fiends / If there was a problem, yo, I’d solve it / Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it. ** That’s how I’d describe it. How would you describe it, Erik?
Erik: That about sums it up.
Peter: It’s too bad there’s going to be no audio on this thing.
I can try and post the audio file. I have no idea.
Peter: You have to explain how righteous my beats were, then.
Oh, I will.
Peter: “They were most righteous.”
Erik: “Rather righteous.”
Peter: “Peter rappity-rap-rap-rapped Vanilla Ice and it was cool.” …I hope.
Something like that. [laughing] …Sorry. You released Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now? and immediately began touring the world to promote it. Describe that experience.
Erik: Oh, wow.
Peter: The world was a very large place, and it took a long time to go to all of those places in the world. We went all over North America. All over Canada, the US – being encompassed in North America… We went to the UK, the United Kingdom of people with bad teeth.
Peter: Just kidding. You know the stereotype that British people have bad teeth and talk like this [NOTE: I really cant describe the sound he makes here.]?
Erik: I never noticed that.
Peter: It’s not true! People have good teeth over there, and I think that that’s just a stereotype from a long time ago.
Maybe they just had the confidence that they don’t need great teeth to still be attractive, cause they have accents.
Peter: Maybe they’re just flat wrong. [laughing] They definitely need better teeth than what I thought they were going to have, and they did, so it’s okay.
Erik: And then friggin’ Amsterdam. We went to Amsterdam.
Peter: Oh, we went to Amsterdam, we went to Germany.
Erik: We’ve been around now.
Peter: Yeah, we’ve been around. We went to Italy, Paris….
Erik: Our van, Dwayne, has about 400,000 km on it now.
Peter: And we put basically almost all of those kilometres on it. We got it with like, 40,000 km on it.
Erik: Yeah, it’s been around.
Peter: So like, 350,000 km we’ve driven. In a van.
Erik: You know what my favourite thing about the van now? It’s that we’re making shelving units out of duct tape.
Peter: Basically what is essentially almost masking tape, we’re just making things. It’s like arts and crafts time in the Moneen van.
Erik: Because the van’s falling to pieces, we’re building other little things to make it cooler. We have little Velcro things so that we can put pens and hand sanitizer up so it’s on the ceiling.
Peter: We’ve got some good hand sanitizer so if you high-five a dirty homeless man, then you run back to the van and you sanitize your hands.
Peter: Okay, at least we know we can swear now. [to Erik] She’s going to edit that out.
No I’m not. I don’t edit this.
Erik: Well then, FUCK YEAH!
Alright, after about three years you began working on your latest release, The Red Tree. What did you do differently when writing and recording the album, and why did you choose to call it “The Red Tree?”
Erik: This time, we demoed the hell out of the songs. We didn’t do it as much before, but this time we kind of wrote the songs and rewrote the songs so that… the way they are on The Red Tree, each song came a long, Lord of the Rings trilogy-style journey to get to that point, the final version. Basically, we’re super, super proud of how it turned out. I know I’m more proud of it than anything.
Peter: Yeah, I’m so proud of it. And I’m proud of you, Erik.
Erik: Thanks man.
Peter: I’m proud of your bass licks.
Erik: We did some serious rhythm section stuff.
Peter: Yeah, the rhythm section got tighter on this record, that’s for sure.
Erik: Yeah. With less parts of like, “hey look what we can play!” and more like, “hey, listen to this song.”
Peter: It’s like, “Hey, listen to this song and enjoy the melodies and the groove.”
Enjoy it all coming together, instead of enjoying each thing individually.
Peter: Yeah, totally.
Erik: And I’ve always wanted to see a red tree…
Like, the entire tree is red?
Peter: Green tree was taken. Blue tree, already done.
Erik: Yeah, we’ve already been to the Joshua tree.
Peter: Yeah, the Joshua tree’s been done, friggin’… the cork tree, friggin’… that happened, so we’re like, “What other trees are there out there for us to, you know, climb?” And that tree was red.
Alright, so your producer on the album was Brian McTernan… why do I even have these questions? [laughing] Sorry. He’s worked with Thrice and Hot Water Music. What did Brian bring to the table?
Erik: He gave us a lot of focus, I think. The songs were really kind of spacey, a bit different, and he was able to make sure that every part was there for a reason. He did it in a manner that was really cool.
Peter: He made us aware of what we were doing.
Peter: He made us question ourselves instead of being like, “Hey, why don’t we do it this way?” and us being like, “Okay.” It was more like, “How else can you do this?” And we would scratch our heads, cried a little bit and then figured things out.
Erik: I remember with the song “If Tragedy’s Appealing…”, he’s like, “Okay Erik. What are you playing?” and I played him my bass lick. “Okay. What are you playing, Kenny?” and Kenny played his line. “What are you playing, Hippy?” and Hippy played his line… it’s funny because it was just a big, muddled mess. He was able to take it and define it, even if that involved simplifying it.
Peter: Yeah, like instead of a whole bunch of people doing a whole bunch of really neat things all at the same time where you can’t hear what’s going on – you can’t even hear Kenny’s neat lick because too much stuff is going on… It’s like, let’s have every part have its moment to shine through, but everything work better together.
Peter: It was good. It was fun.
Erik: And he’d give us bad ideas, which was cool, cause he even says, “I’m going to give you a handful of bad ideas, but from that stems into something productive.” Which is neat.
That is. That’s very cool. So speaking of “If Tragedy’s Appealing…” you guys did a video for it not long ago.
Peter: Things that we cannot answer.
Erik: We were in Portland, and just Kenny flew to L.A. to do the video because they only needed one person really.
Peter: It’s more of a storyline video.
Erik: It’s more of a storyline…
Peter: …with no live footage.
Erik: Yeah, so it’ll be kind of different for us, but it’ll be cool, and yeah… we went to Portland and played a little acoustic set.
Peter: Without Kenny. It was like, two songs.
Erik: The first time we’ve ever really went on stage without Kenny.
Peter: It was the first time we’d ever played without Kenny. It was very strange.
Erik: Thankfully we had Harris, our guitar tech, to come up and solo some stuff.
Peter: Yeah, he did some shredding solos. We played two songs. We played one song…
Erik: We played one song!
Peter: …then there was an intermission where Harris just came out and shredded mad leads, and people were like, “Yeah!” and he was giving the metal sign to the crowd for five minutes, and then we played another song.
Erik: We played one more song, and that was our set.
Amazing! Did you guys feel lost without Kenny?
Erik: Kind of. It was definitely way different. It was very weird; it didn’t feel normal.
Peter: To me it was like, “Do Kenny proud!”
Erik: Yeah, we persevered and I think it went well.
Peter: We played a good couple songs.
Erik: Although I’ll admit, I was more nervous for that show than for any other show.
Peter: I’m so not nervous when crazy shit like that happens, cause I’m always pushed by the challenge. I get more nervous on regular days, where it’s just the same thing over and over again.
Erik: I’m the opposite. I get more nervous on small acoustic shows. The funniest is that the most nervous I’ve ever seen Kenny is when he played acoustic for my dad.
Peter: Oh yeah!
Erik: He came downstairs… my dad’s a sweetie, but he’s a really big Irish guy, so he can be a little bit intimidating. He’s like, “Play me a song,” and Kenny and Hippy played “Tonight I’m Gone” for him, and afterwards Kenny’s like, “I’ve never been so scared in my whole life….”
That’s wicked. Okay, so if you guys could set up a benefit show for any cause whatsoever, where would you have it, what bands would you have, and what would you put the money towards?
Erik: The first thing that comes to my mind is that we drove through New Orleans, and seeing that… there’s some serious devastation that went on there. That was an eye-opener.
Peter: Yeah, when we drove through, we were all first-hand seeing it, and this was just like, a month ago or whatever, and the Katrina stuff happened so long ago….
Yeah, it was last year.
Peter: But they’re still cleaning up.
Erik: It’s like a totally apocalyptic war zone.
Peter: Yeah, everything is still totally just destroyed. Cars are still in trees. There’s car graveyards underneath overpasses.
Erik: What hit me hardest was seeing spray-painted on the sides of houses “this person found” or “this dog found”….
Peter: They marked which houses were searched so they wouldn’t re-search them. It was messed up.
Peter: See I would – I mean, aside from that, because that’s a really good thing to put money towards – I would probably put money towards the Alzheimer’s Society. I’d do a benefit for that, just cause my grandfather had Alzheimer’s and it’s just a really, really, really crappy way to go, totally just drifting away. Your body’s still alive, but over the course of ten years, he just drifted away. Mentally, who he was just kind of drifted away, and memories of his life. Your mind dies before your body and it’s just so…
Erik: So sad.
Peter: It makes me question what happens…. I believe that people have souls, and where is your soul? What’s happening to your soul at that point? It’s just really messed up. So, Alzheimer’s Society.
Erik: There’s been a medical breakthrough apparently.
Peter: I heard about that on the news the other day!
Erik: I was listening to the radio.
Peter: Yeah, there’s some protein isolated or something?
Erik: So that’s really good news.
Peter: Fuck it! Yeah, I wouldn’t do an Alzheimer’s benefit show. They’ve got that shit covered. [laughing] No, I would. That would be good. And I would have Refused get back together and play as a benefit.
Just Refused played the whole show?
That’s amazing. So the rest of 2006 is looking pretty sweet for you guys in terms of your shows coming up and touring and stuff like that. You’re playing Bamboozle in early May…
Erik: Yeah, actually, just in a week I guess.
Peter: A week, yeah.
Oh shit. That is a week. Today is the end of April. My God… And you’re also playing the new Vagrant stage at Warped Tour.
Erik: Hell yeah!
Peter: Yeah, the Warped Tour, there’s an actual Vagrant stage….
Definitely. When I read that line-up, I was like, “Shit. I’ve got to go.”
Erik: Yeah, cool.
But what else do you guys have planned for the future?
Peter: We’re doing a Europe tour with Alexisonfire, a whole bunch of Germany festivals.
Erik: That’s in like, late May.
Peter: Yeah, that’s in three weeks I would say?
Peter: So there’s a whole bunch of shows in Germany, and then we’re doing the Download Festival in the UK, and we’re playing on the same day as Guns’ n’ Roses, which is pretty neat.
Erik: I like to say that we’re opening for Guns ‘n’ Roses.
Peter: Yeah, we can say that we’re opening for them, but really….
No, you can totally say that, cause they are playing after you.
Peter: Well, we’re playing on a small stage at one end of the place, and they’re playing on the main stage at the other end of the night.
Just don’t tell people that.
Peter: Yeah, we won’t.
Erik: Me and Axl…
Peter: Buddies. We’re tight.
Erik: We’re bros.
** NOTE: That was, in fact, Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby”. Check it.