Sunday Spotlight: The Sighs of Monsters

0003755484_1001. Hello! Who are you, where are you from and all that good stuff.

We’re The Sighs of Monsters from London, though like most Londoners, none of us are actually “from London”. Individually we are Dean Sobers, Brett Lock, Chris Houston & David Toube.

15232297_736422533179751_5530741445082736584_n2. Tell us a bit about the music you make.

We love albums, so that is what we set out to make. We spend most of the time in our studio crafting songs and occasionally venture out to perform. To put a label on it, “art-rock” or “prog-pop” with a ‘world music’ flavour might suffice. To date, we have produced two albums: Ground (2014) and Lie (2017). Singles from both have been featured on Tom Robinson’s BBC show, which we’re obviously very chuffed about. We also contributed a track to a various-artists ‘Tribute’ album of songs based on the work of the late South African poet Ingrid Jonker, which was very well received by critics. Currently we’re back in the studio working on new material.

3. When did you start and what made you want to start making music?

We are all “refugees from previous bands that did not fulfil their potentials”. Originally the idea was to take advantage of the giant leap forward in home studio equipment and to record the songs we had lying around. But the chemistry was immediate and we realised it could be more than that, so we started thinking in terms of albums rather than songs. Why did we start? Well, these days if you’re not explicitly making commercial music you’re not doing it for the money, so I guess in our case it must be similar to a religious calling. It’s to make art and be something greater than our boring day jobs.

4. Stage or studio?

We’re primarily a studio band. We enjoy the process of making records. We do occasionally play live but it is usually for some sort of event. We did a few Oxjams and helped organise a benefit concert for Medicins Sans Fontiers’ work in Syria, for example. But for us, the objective is to complete albums as artistic statements ‘in and of themselves’, not wanting to sound overdramatic. The objective is to hold a completed album in our hands, with artwork and lyric sheet, and the trappings, and to think “we made this”.

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5. What gear do you use to make your tunes?

Our DAW of choice is Propellerhead Reason. We recently upgraded our studio and switched to Mac from PC. We interface via a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20. We also use a Line 6 Stagescape M20d digital mixer for live playing, or for roughing out ideas in the studio. Instrument-wise, singer/guitarist Dean favours a Fender Telecaster or a Gretsch Streamliner; bassist/guitarist Brett has “Guitar Acquisition Syndrome” but his go-to bass is a 60s vintage Hagstrom Coronado IV, or a Yamaha BBG4AII active, and his favourite guitar is a 80s era Ibanez Artist 300. Chris’s main function is percussion for which he uses Roland TD-1 V-Drums and iPad-based samples and loops through an Alesis DM dock.  Keyboard player, David, chiefly uses a Nord Electro 5 HP, but also a Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-series, and more recently a Roli Seaboard.

6. And what is your choice bit of gear and why?

That’s a tough one. For recording, it is definitely Reason itself. It is an astonishingly powerful DAW with an analogue workflow sensibility. For live, the Line 6 Stagescape has made life so much easier. It is a fraction of the size of our old Spirit Folio4 desk and its iPad control has made snakes and breakout boxes redundant. The monitoring system has made backline amps redundant too, so it has literally halved the amount of heavy gear the band had to lug around.

7. Where can we check out your tunes?

We’re on most platforms, but the most useful are:

Red Dog Music Sunday Spotlight is your chance to get your music in front of the world, and our chance to discover some great new sounds. If you want to be featured in this weekly column, you can get all the details here.

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Linda

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