Their debut self titled EP recorded by Kevin Augunas who worked with Cold War Kids, The Black Keys and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros amongst others, Montpelier‘s first baby steps in the industry looked more like leaps and bounds. Having scored some tasty supports opening up for Biffy Clyro and Frightened Rabbit when they toured Oz, the band have gone from pub back rooms to huge venues in the drop of a hat.
Working with legendary local producer and The Church collaborator Tim Powles, the band recently released the first single from these session Last Boat, with another, Start a War soon to follow. With plans to deliver their debut album mid 2011, we caught up with the band ahead of their upcoming show at Mum at World Bar this Friday the 18th on February.
Music Feeds: So you guys sort of took off with a bang, you recorded your debut EP with Kevin Augunas, scored some high profile support tours with Biffy Clyro and Frightened Rabbit, what was that like, being rushed into things like that?
Greg Chiapello: On one hand it was a massive thrill and pretty hard to keep up with all the great opportunities coming the band’s way. On the other we have all been playing in different bands and working hard for a decade so it felt like the right time to get busy. In a way it’s also a relief that these opportunities are starting to present themselves. Now it’s about working harder and not taking anything for granted.
MF: Going from playing shows with bands like those mentioned above, what’s it like returning to smaller venues for your own shows? Is it a case of the feeling more confident having played on bigger stage or is being that close to the audience more daunting in a way?
GC: I love playing in all venues big or small. They all have their own charms and challenges. Returning to smaller venues can be a wonderful thing because your so close to the people you came to share your music with. Playing in front of Frightened Rabbit’s crowd in Melbourne and trying to win them over was fun but daunting. However playing to 10 punters in a rural QLD pub can be equally as daunting.
MF: You’ve been working with Tim Powles as well recently, the collaboration from which Last Boat has come out of, can you tell us about that? What was that experience like compared to working with Augunas?
GC: Working with Tim has been a really great experience. He has a great approach to music-making which really pushes us and gets the best out of us as a band and individually. Last Boat was one of the first tracks we worked on as a group and since then we have been putting the finishing touches on the next record. I would say that we have more of a producer/band type of relationship with Tim. With Kevin, it was a brilliant experience but I don’t think we had the time needed to really get down and dirty with the songs.
MF: Now you guys have two lead singers, how does that work in terms of writing, is a fully collaborative endeavour or does one singer come in with an idea that the other than adds to?
GC: We have written stuff together before but usually it is Dave or I bringing in an idea and then working on it as a band.
MF: In terms of the rest of the band again, how does songwriting work, do certain members come in with songs almost finished for the band to work on?
GC: The skeletons of the songs are generally brought into the jam room by either myself or Dave then covered with skin, muscle, organs etc by the whole group. Now Tim is in the picture he is also part of this delightfully sordid process.
MF: You’ve got the next single due in Feb, what can we expect? Is this from the session with Tim as well?
GC: This the next track from our collaborations with Tim. It is called Start a War which Dave wrote. It’s a lot more upbeat compared to Last Boat and is starting to sound pretty epic. There are a lot of great harmonies I really enjoy. Dave’s guitar sounds are super and large. Andrew (keys) and John (Drums) really work together well on this track too.
MF: Other than the single etc what else do you have coming up in the next few months that we should keep an eye on, any plans for an album?
GC: A lot more touring is on the cards as well as finishing up the next record which is due around mid year. We are all madly looking forward to doing an album but we’ll just wait and see what happens over the next few months. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Montpelier play Mum at World Bar this Friday the 18th of February.