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HeartSongs - 20180115

  • Published in Columns

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.”


Android Bop

Bop Android Bop

Bop Bop Android Bop


Look up and stare to the left

Unmasking the replicant

Relinquishing self control


Android Bop

Android Bop

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




HeartSongs 20180108

  • Published in Columns

Welcome to HeartSongs, our regularly scheduled (probably) look at songs and the people who write them. We spoke to Ashley from Austrian folk horror ritualists, The Devil And The Universe, about their new video for ‘The Church Of The Goat’.

“From very early on it was clear to me that this track could become something else. Something that could combine everything this project is about in one song. Also, something that could get us two steps further if we are lucky. So I couldn’t think of a better title. It’s the gospel according To The Devil & The Universe. “Open up your prayerbook and please be seated, your savior is near!

It’s a love song to ourselves. This project was always designed to be more than just another band doing some weird music. There is more than meets the eye, or is there? Or is it all a bad joke told in a convincing way? There are certainly laughs though. I can give you that. TDATU became this sort of living organism which is playing with us, or do we play with it? I haven’t figured that out myself yet.

At first, I just had the opening four minutes of the song (the long version) and then it dawned on me, I could go from there and make it a 10min rollercoaster ride and put everything in and make it really, really grand. It became bigger and bigger. I spent several nights getting the balance right. Also, my new fascination with classical music went straight into that track. Especially my love for Gustav Mahler. Of course, the song isn’t as grand as that stuff, it’s not even close, it’s just my interpretation of it and the Spirit of Mahler is definitely inside that tune so to speak. He would properly disagree wholeheartedly though if we could ask him. However, for me it is very clear where the inspiration came from. The new ‘Radio Mix’ is a different beast though and straighter to the point. It’s more pleasing for the dancefloor I guess.

After I spent weeks working on that one I realized something was still missing. I wanted to have some sort of vocal track and searched the internet for samples and stuff but wasn’t pleased with anything. And then it came to my mind a good friend of mine, Christina Lessiak, might be able to provide the kind of vocal I had in mind. Just two days later I had her recording and it was exactly what I was searching for, just perfect. Some twitching here and there and the beast was ready to be unleashed.

Edie Calie and I did the concept for the video (like we did with all other videos before), however, this time we didn’t want to tell a story. From the get-go we knew this should be more like the back projections we use during live shows. Someone mentioned UV-light make up and off we went. It’s filmed at home in the bedroom. No need for a big studio or location this time. Luckily Christina, the singer, did a fantastic performance. We included the goat here and there for good measure, Edie did some fantastic editing, and it was finished. We always work very intuitive though, create on the go, on the spot with the things we have. Very much like with the music itself actually.”

Check out the Goattrance EP here




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