Welcome to HeartSongs, our regularly scheduled (probably) look at songs and the people who write them. We spoke to Rory from Belfast spacerockers Mons Olympus about their new single ‘Android Bop’.
You can hear their stoner groove here
“After we released our debut album Vampyroteuthis, back in May, the band has been on a kind of hiatus, so this one was actually me recording every instrument. During the recording process for the album, we built a booth around my amp, and together with my octave pedal and bass synth pedal got a really crazy, alien sounding guitar sound. I asked for a moment to play around with it, turned on the voice recorder on my phone, and set it down. The basis of this song and the majority of the riffs came from a minute and a half within that recording. Then I just built the rest of the song around that.
Lyrically though, it's just me geeking out over Blade Runner. The lyrics contain loads of blatant references to that universe; ‘replicants’ and everything. The guitar sound we got initially on the bass synth pedal was a really robotic sound and since the riffs all hover around the same note; it's really droney, almost like a binary or something, which is why I thought it suited a robot theme.
I'm a huge Daft Punk fan so I'm always looking for ways to rehash their ‘robot rock’ thang in a new and original way. So when we got the vocoder it was a perfect opportunity to put that stamp on it. Songs For The Deaf-era QOTSA would've made a lasting impression on me in my formative years too, so I'd say I can hear that in there too. Particularly ‘Song For The Dead’. The drum fills and the way that song builds is a master class. I've always wanted to try and reference that in some way.
And, of course, the overriding theme for Mons Olympus is SPACE! So, having recently acquired a Korg Minilogue synth, it added a nice layer of synthy sheen which takes it into intergalactic cyberspace. The vocoder bits were incredibly fun to do. We recorded those the week before Christmas and I started freestyling a verse about shopping for gifts; which may develop into an Xmas number 1 for this year, who knows?
I'd always wanted to use one and luckily a friend from the area had recently purchased a second hand Roland Juno synth with vocoder capabilities that we used on our album, very subtly in the background of one of the songs. It became the main thing in this song and I'm sure it will feature again. It screams cheese, robot, space and alien all at once, and it's so much fun to use. It's tempted me to take up chain smoking so bad that I require a voice box. But I hate the taste of tobacco, so I just can't commit to that.
Also recording the bass was pretty cool. In the verses I used an envelope filter which gives it a sort of underwater feel. I had to play super gently to get that texture and then when I hit it hard on the stabs, it squelches up and gives a crazy sound. I'd recently went to see Thundercat in London too, so it reminded me a tiny bit of his crazy sound.”
Bop Android Bop
Bop Bop Android Bop
Look up and stare to the left
Unmasking the replicant
Relinquishing self control
Android Bop-Bop Bop-Bop
What are you thinking R2? 'Beep-bloop-bleep'
What are your thoughts 3PO? 'This time you have gone too far'
What's on your mind Rachel? 'You think I'm a replicant, don't you?'
Neurotic robotic disguises
Skinjob the layman despises
I know you're just doing your job
The year is 2049