MONEEN – interview by tom maxwell
As a music connoisseur it is a wonderful treat to make what you consider a “big find”. I’m not talking about the newest item on the Jack In The Box value menu (try the Cheese Cheeseburger), but the next band to blow your mind and potentially the minds of others. When I perused my monthly installment of discs to review I saw .moneen.’s “The Theory Of Harmonial Value” and immediately put it on the bottom of the stack. The first time I listened to .moneen.’s new album it was so incredible that once the disc ended I immediately started it over again. For the next week .moneen. became my crack rock as I listened to their album more times than I can remember. I had not heard an emo record of this magnitude and significance in a very longtime and being that I am an emo kid at heart it gave me new faith in the scene. After talking about various hot topics like the Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion I got a chance to talk to the vocalist and guitarist Kenny Bridges, who should be a standup comic, about .moneen. Canada’s number 1 emo band.
Tom: In your short history you guys have had comparisons to many bands including Fugazi, Hum, Jets To Brazil, The Get Up Kids, the Promise Ring and the list just keeps going on like that. I’m wondering how that makes you feel to be likened to so many great bands?
Kenny: Good! I guess it’s good that at least people aren’t saying we’re ripping them off because that’s what were basically doing. We’re just ripping them off and pretending it’s something new, but no it’s totally good. Like one of my favorite bands for a long time has been Jimmy Eat World. I think ‘Clarity’ is such a great album and sometimes I think ‘Theory (of Harmonial Value)’ gets compared, not for sounding like it, but for being one of those melodic albums that does a bunch of different things. So yeah, it’s awesome because at least people aren’t saying we sound like the Goo Goo Dolls or something. Yeah, I like all those bands; I’ve never really listened to Jets To Brazil too much.
Were you into Jawbreaker at all?
A little bit. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I didn’t get exposed to it.
It’s so hard because there are so many great bands out there to try and get your hands on.
I’d like to be compared more to Weird Al Yankovic.
Are you serious?
Well, think how cool that would be man. If people were saying ‘you sound like Weird Al’ that would be the greatest thing ever.
(Laughing) That’d be pretty funny actually.
That doesn’t really happen though (sounding disappointed).
If you were compared to Weird Al I probably wouldn’t be on the phone with you though.
What! Come on man, Polka Emo? It’ll happen.
It’ll happen some day. (hopefully no time soon) Do you think .moneen. tests new musical dimensions?
We’re trying, we’re trying to do something different. I’ve been thinking about it lately since we’re writing new stuff now we’re just trying to decide which direction we want to go and I know at this point with us still being a fairly new band we’re not going to break any musical boundaries. We’re still going to want to rock out.
You know rock aut. Canada aye. We’re trying to do something that’s different that’s fun to play live. Our goal now because I just got so stressed out (or aut), awe shut up.
You know all our outs (or auts) and abouts. but I just got so stressed out about the fact that we just want to try to do something different that if you think too much about it you’re just freaking going to write the worst crap ever.
You’ve just got to write what you feel like.
There’s a lot of melodic stuff on ‘Theory’ and we have a lot of quiet stuff, but then lately, as soon as Eric got into the band he and I sat down and were like ‘let’s write some songs.’ Then we were like ‘let’s just write something that we would have so much fun playing live.’ Everything that we’re writing now, we’ve got four or five songs on the go, they’re all really upbeat rocking songs. There’s so much stuff right there now, like you said the list could just go on and on. There’s so many bands that sound the same.
But all of them, I think the good bands they all have something that’s at least slightly different from the rest that really sets them apart.
Exactly, I want to think that we have something different, but I really don’t know because I’m in the band, but at least I can say it’s fun to play our songs because each song’s kind of different. If we just keep our honest mentality hopefully we’ll write stuff that doesn’t sound the same. I’d like to be in that list of great bands, but it’s just so hard because you have to distance yourself from music to create something different. I was really influenced by the Beach Boys. I know that sounds really weird, but yeah I’m a huge Beach Boys fan because they were trying so many things like lots of different vocals all the time. We’re just trying to see where we go whether we’ll break new boundaries I guess that happens whether we want it to or not. We want people to say that .moneen. sounds like .moneen..
Personally, I think you sound way different than anything else.
That’s good. Thank you, you make it so I don’t stress as much.
I’ve heard that .moneen. puts on a pretty intense and energetic show. Can you tell me some of the things that you have done on stage that makes one of your live shows so great?
Probably one of the highlights other than just you know going just basically freaking berserk and breaking each other’s bones and guitars and basically everything coming down around us; we recently tried to reenact a scene out of the movie ‘Pootietang’ live on stage. You know that movie?
(Laughing) I’ve seen it yeah.
So yeah, we got a few people from out of the audience to try to reenact one of the scenes. It kind of failed miserably, but I got to say ‘se-date’ a lot.
That’s funny shit!
Each show is pretty different. Whatever the people are like in the audience or whatever we’re feeling at the time, yeah, it gets pretty whacky sometimes. Some people say we can get a little too goofy sometimes, but then other times we just get a little more bad ass.
You got to be goofy though. I mean come on you’ve got to be goofy.
Some people don’t like the goofy. So we have to find a moderation within goofy and just being bad ass.
All those serious emo kids.
I know they got their arms crossed. All the kids just stare at us. We played Hellfest this year in Syracuse and we were playing and no other bands were playing when we were playing so we were lucky because a lot of people were watching. I picked this one guy out of the crowd near the back of the audience out of probably 2,000 people or something. This guy just had nice long hair so I started parting my hair to the side still while we were playing in the middle of the song and then I was pointing at him and then he was kind of looking around like is this guy pointing at me. So I’m parting my hair and pointing and I said ‘hey I like your part, your part is really good’ and he just got pissed off and left the whole place.
Oh poor guy.
I wasn’t making fun of him I was just saying I liked his hair.
Do you want to apologize publicly?
I want to apologize to any Americans I have offended due to their haircuts.
Definitely, the live shows we have so much fun.
When can we expect you in California and the US again?
Were going to be in the US and Canada with Face To Face in September. We’ll probably be in California around the New Year if not a little sooner.
Is this going to be before or after a new album comes out?
Before, although we will probably have a split 7 inch with a band called Park by then.
Your first album was so amazing what can you guys do on the new album to progress from the old album?
Get some way so that when ever you listen to the CD it releases a smell and that whenever you smell it all you think is beauty, beauty and magic. I just want the world to be magic and beautiful while watching magic.
Not magical while being beautiful?
Sure man, it’s up to the listener, the beauty will come out through my toes. I’ll actually take every CD and put it in between my butt crack.
(Laughing, again) Ok, so you watch a lot of Kids In The Hall?
I did, but Hippy and Erik are the only ones that keep up on Kids In The Hall.
The guitarist Chris.
Oh, you got a hippy in your band.
He’s not really a hippy, we just call him that.
I got to stop listening, now.
What? You don’t like the hippies?
They’re taking over the world.
Awe, they’re coming in force. That’s why we call him the hippy and then just beat him down all the time.
Is it true that Canada is really clean?
There’s parts of it that are really clean and there’s parts of it that are just as dirty as any armpit in the US. There’s some dirty spots, but there’s some nice spots too. You know when we’re in Toronto and New York there’s not a huge difference other than the size and the dirt.
Do you have any closing thoughts?
I just want you to know that I have been doing this interview naked with a roll of duct tape, jar of peanut butter and a package of roof ingles. So I hope you don’t mind me you know, doing these good things.
For more information about .moneen. log on to www.smallmanrecords.com