Creating New Dreams

Equipped with a fresh sound, Monster Youth set out their creative ideas via debut album Lost Dream, Cool Fire

After several years of peddling a sound more akin to indie folk of the singer-songwriter kind, lead vocalist and band spokesman Pauwel De Meyer of Monster Youth decided to shake things up by opening the door to a brasher sound consisting of garage rock, but also one that allowed for a more spacious feel in between the gaps by way of psychedelia.

The end result of these subsequent changes in the song writing department led to the release of Monster Youth’s first long player, ‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’, released in October of this year.

With Koen De Gendt (bass), Joeri Dobbeleir (guitar) and Steven Meuleman (drums) completing the rest of the line-up, Monster Youth has been very active prior to the release of this new addition to their family, which has seen the band complete a substantial number of live dates in their homeland of Belgium during their first year under the new moniker of Monster Youth.

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Raising the band’s profile continues to remain high on the agenda, as the level of promotion looks set to intensify during the coming months with Monster Youth setting their sights on the Netherlands, in particular, as their next destination, before taking their debut album, ‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’, to other locations throughout Europe. This can only be a good thing as the predominantly raw and energetic garage rock, spliced with fuzzy guitar tones associated with early grunge, are then expanded into broader territories by the hallucinogenic influences of psychedelic rock, ‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’ is definitely a record to get lost in, and one that is likely to captivate the imaginations of audiences that potentially lie in wait next year.

Before that time arrives, however, Famous Last Words (FLW) was keen to learn more of Monster Youth, considering their relatively new status on the indie circuit, and any further details the band’s frontman, Pauwel De Meyer, was willing to divulge regarding the debut album, ‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’.

Where did this all begin for Monster Youth?

“After working seven years as a singer-songwriter, I felt the urge to make some eardrums bleed because I had been making too much poppy music in the past. We started recording this album two years ago in the studio of our drummer [Steven Meuleman]. The initial ideas for the band came to me whilst I was eating Monster Munch chips [crisps] and listening to Sonic Youth’s ‘Daydream Nation’.”

FLW can hear various faint strands of early grunge in your debut album, but who do you regard as influences in terms of ‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’?

“I would say from Mac Demarco and Juan Wauters to Spacemen 3 and Jesus and Mary Chain.”

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How would you describe Monster Youth’s sound?

“A lot of trash gathered into a pop song.”

Can you please provide details regarding when the album was recorded, and how long the whole process lasted?

“The album was recorded in the spring of 2014. It took us around four months to write and record the album.”

Did you encounter any problems when recording the album, or was the whole recording experience a relatively smooth process?

“It went surprisingly well! The frustrations came when we first tried to play the songs live! Ha-ha.”

What was the inspiration for the album title?

“It’s the title of the fifth track of the album.”

What song from ‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’ is currently proving the most appealing?

“I would say the song ‘Long Way To Go’ because it’s a pure pop song. In addition to that, ‘Life’s Too Short (Like The Weekend)’, which was the first track I could really trip on.”

Are there any other songs from your current album that you would like to provide further explanations in terms of their contents?

“It’s up to you to give the songs a meaning. I think the lyrics are very straight forward. It’s about turning twenty-six and discovering the world isn’t always a pretty place. Therefore, it’s [about] trying to cope with society.”

What was the inspiration for the album cover, and who is responsible for the illustration?

“Jelle Meys, a Belgian illustrator who lives in Prague. He often puts a political wink in his work. We came across the album illustration on his website and immediately contacted him to ask if he could make an album cover with it.”

If there was one thing that you could have right now, what would it be?

“A full body detox!”

As a band, where do you see your music fitting in with, or not fitting in with, in terms of the whole music industry?

“I think the music industry has to follow the band because bands don’t have to fit in anywhere. Just play music.”

Is your music about trying to change anything in particular?

“Heal the world, and make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race.”

FLW is aware that Monster Youth is considering various live dates in the Netherlands in the not too distant future. Care to elaborate?

“Right now, we’re focussing on playing more shows in the Netherlands; Fast Forward Play will be providing us some shows over there in the next year. We’d love to do some shows in the south of Belgium too. And so on, and so on.”

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What’s been one of the most pleasurable aspects since Monster Youth has been together?

“There’s nothing more fun than playing a good show, selling some records and get drunk afterwards, and then sell even more records!”

What’s next for Monster Youth?

“We’re currently working on new tracks to play live in 2016. I think the songs are going to be more psychedelic and less punk.”

Finally, is there an overall philosophy that Monster Youth live by?

“In Dutch we say: “Wa maak et uit”, which means as much as, “Don’t care at all”.

‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’ is out now on Fons Records

(Photography courtesy of Monster Youth)

FLW - From the Tapes

With lead singer Pauwel De Meyer of Monster Youth providing a few clues as to the bands that helped inspire the sound of Monster Youth and their debut album, ‘Lost Dream, Cool Fire’, Famous Last Words (FLW) is of the opinion that it is worth picking out two of the bands mentioned – Spacemen 3 and Jesus and Mary Chain – and one or two of their recorded works.

Spacemen 3

‘Recurring’ – Beautiful, blissed-out psychedelia that was (apparently) put together separately by Jason Pierce and Sonic Boom, with each artist having one side of the vinyl to lay down their creative ideas. Just one of their GREAT works, and well worth investigating.

Jesus and Mary Chain

‘Barbed Wire Kisses’ – A real assortment of early releases, demos and outtakes that works wonders, especially with the superb, and inspired cover of Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love’, and earthshattering bass of ‘Sidewalking’.

‘Stoned & Dethroned’ – Rather than plunge for the obvious ‘Psychocandy’ as one of Jesus and Mary Chain’s greatest achievements, the lengthy ‘Stoned & Dethroned’ deserved far more plaudits than it received on its release. It was the sound of the Reid brothers experimenting with country music, albeit in small measures, in addition to hiring a few guest vocalists to add much variety. It’s one of their best, and deserves a second hearing.

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