Monuments has seen many changes during their life, but the one consistent is is guitarist John Browne. With the recent release of their stand along single “Nefarious”, Browne hints that he now has the bug to start writing again.
This, however, will come after the end of outing in support of their 2022 album, In Stasis. Backstage at Download 20, Browne also talks us through the reasons for the departure of bassist Adam Swan, new music and much more.
Hi John, first of all, how are you doing?
John Browne: “I’m doing very well. It’s too hot, though, but how are you?”
Boiling, boiling boiling. My photographer the poor lady is just caked in sweat. So I don’t envy her, but it is the way it is. As Brits were never happy really are we?
“No, no. It’s either too hot or to cold or to rainy, to windy. It’s never right.”
So I want to start off first, in May you had a new single out? Is this gonna lead up to an album or anything? Because I’ve been trying to find out? I can’t see anything yet.
“No we haven’t got a full album yet. So this song was a sort of standalone track to go with the anime Godslap. So we wrote this one fairly quickly, honestly, and released that and we’re going to start working on the full album very soon.”
Can you tell me when we might hear some more about it? Maybe not the release time, but more music?
“We’re hoping to finish the album at the end of this year. So it’ll probably be hopefully before summer next year, hopefully. I mean, we wrote In Stasis in three months. I’m sure we can do it.”
That was only last year as well. So like you’re you’re sort of churning them out at the moment.
“Yeah, I mean, churning is kind of one of those words that is like, makes it sound like you don’t care but I’d say we actually cared more about the last album, we just had hyper focus, which is something that we’ve not had on the previous album. So that’s why we managed to get it done so quickly. You know.”
I do hear from a lot of bands that you have, that they have, you know, songs that they’ve written that are on the cutting room floor. Does that mean there might be something that can be used from that?
“We’ve definitely got a bunch of ideas and songs that we haven’t used. So we might delve more into that for the next record, we’ll see but generally, what tends to happen is I’ll get inspired by one thing, and then it will all just shit out of me. Excuse my language.”
It’s alright. It’s fine.
“I’ll just go on a writing spree and that’s what I’m waiting for to happen, basically.”
So it is Download, and you’re on the Dogtooth stage later. Are you pumped for it? Are you ready for this?
“I am. Actually it’s gonna be fun. We’ve not played it Download since 2014. So we’ve actually had two albums out since the last time we played it. So I’m stoked.”
Yeah, it’s gonna be fun. And yeah, have you moved up the bill now since 2014?
“Funnily enough, it’s the same position on the same stage, but that’s always a good thing. Haven’t gone down and we’re playing above Gwar.”
They are kind of legendary that band, to be fair. Who are you hoping to see if you actually have time while you’re here?
“Okay, I’m definitely going to see Metallica obviously, one of my favourite bands. Yeah. Ice Nine Kills I’m gonna check out very shortly because I believe they’re on the main stage in a minute. I saw a little bit Polaris earlier, that was great. Bit of Coheed and Cambria if I get time, you know, I was really excited to see Greg Puciato as well, but they had to pull out last minute because of an emergency. So I’m a bit gutted as I’m a massive fan of Dillinger Escape Plan, so yeah there’s a lot of bands I do you actually want to see today.”
Did you see Metallica’s first set?
“I haven’t seen it yet. No. So obviously, we’ve been rehearsing for the last few days, so we decided not to come early and I’m not going to be here tomorrow. It’s obviously thunderstorms and I don’t want to be at Download in the rain. I’m a bit of a wimp.”
Do you know what, this is something that no one quite seems to be able to confirm. Some are saying thunderstorms, some saying it’s gonna be pure sun. You’re going with the the worst case scenario then?
“Oh, yeah. Always be prepared, as they say, right.”
Well, I’ve not brought any wellie’s so I’m hoping that’s not going to be the case.
“Shoes are gonna be destroyed in five minutes.”
I have got my Doc Martins in the car. Now, obviously, as a Metallica fan, some people have seen it as a bit controversial that they’ve actually taken two of the headliner slots and as you mentioned you’re a massive fan. Where do you stand on it? Do you think it’s a good thing that they’ve got two sets? Or could it have gone to someone else? Where do you stand on it? I’ll be honest, I’m actually kind of on the fence.
“They’re playing two completely different sets, I believe, Master of Puppets in its entirety tonight, right? That’s what I heard. I mean, they’ve got a massive discography and if they’re happy to play two nights and Download wanted them for two nights, let them play two nights. I mean, it’s Metallica, it’s going to be sick.”
I’ve not heard that, so if they’re playing Master of Puppets in its entirety, that will be an insane show, yeah, that’ll be good.
“I just want to hear “Master of Puppets”, and “Battery” and “Sanitarian”. If they play those. I’m happy.”
Now, last thing I wanted to ask you about, I mean, you’ve got no tour dates planned. Is this because your album is currently being written?
“No, we’ve actually just confirmed the tour for later this year. I can’t say who it’s with, but the news will probably be out in a few weeks. I’ll tell you when the mics turned off. So a very good tour.”
No problem. I will have it sneakily on.
No, I wont.
“The end of this year will be the last date on In Stasis, and then we’ll go into the next album cycle.”
Now the last thing I wanted to ask you about is your long term bass player has recently left the band. Can you tell me why he left and bring me up to speed?
“So obviously, are old bass player, Adam Swan was really into regenerative farming, which is a very specific part of agriculture where you don’t use fertilizers and, you know, not organic materials to grow crops. He’s been into that for the longest period of time, and then obviously lockdown happened, and he got really into it and then we were like, yeah, we can’t take you away from something that you love.
I mean, obviously, he’s loved being in the band, still, you know, we still love him, but if you find something that’s calling your name that you’ve been working on so long, then, you know, that’s the way it is. You can’t expect someone to love doing the same thing for 20 years. You know what, I’m just crazy and do for some reason.”
I mean, they say if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life, and I’m assuming you love what you do?
“I love what I do, yeah. So to me, this is the fun part of writing music. I love writing music. I love being in the studio, but playing live and seeing people scream what you’ve written back at you can’t really replace it with anything else can you.”
Now how’s the new guy settling in? I believe he was touring with you in 2022 and actually became a full member recently?
“His first show with us was at Hellfest last year. So so we did Hellfest and we did it with out a rehearsal. We couldn’t get rehearsal, then it was too short notice, and he killed it and we get along with him super well, so we just invited him in. It was only meant to be a filling gig and then we got him full time. He’s great, awesome, dude.”
So essentially he gelled with the band?
“We toured with him back in 2020, just before lock down, actually, he was playing bass for I Built the Sky on our tour, they were opening and we just got to know him over 30 days. By the end of 30 days you know if you like someone or not, because you know all the mannerisms, you know what they’re like, etiquette wise in the bus, you know what they’re like as a person, you can’t hide from it, especially when you’re sharing such a confined space. I think that’s more important than having someone that rules at their instrument. If you get along with them, they can get better at their instrument, but you can’t change someone’s personality.”
Now, I do want to thank you so much for chatting to us today. I hope the gig goes well later. Hopefully I’ll actually be able to catch it. I always try to see the bands I interview but when you’re supposed to be here, and things are going on out there. It’s very rare. I’ll hopefully catch you soon and thank you for talking to us.
“Thank you so much, Damian.”