WE VOTE FOR MONARCHY
We know that you’re Monarchy but… who are you?
That’s a complex question with no simple answer. We’re trying to be human, trying to fit into the world around us, but it’s not always straight forward. It’s a roller coaster and a struggle. Sometimes we think we’re so close to finding the answer, only to find we’ve never been further from it. Probably the simplest answer is ‘mu’- to unask the question.
What bounded you two together?
Music entirely. We met through music and work together on it endlessly. It’s our common language and cement. But despite having music as the reason, we found we are very similar as people. We have the same perspective on society and creativity. In many regards, we’re brothers.
There is a strong aesthetic imagery always surrounding Monarchy. In this society, is the package as important as the content?
We find it inspiring how Bowie or Pink Floyd or newer bands like The Knife or Daft Punk play with their image and their art. We find bands that are contained only in music as their only creativity a bit bland, and confusing. How can they be creative but only expressive in one aspect? Conceptualists such as The KLF are inspiring because of their multifaceted creativity.
Since the beginning, were you focused on achieving some sort of recognizable visual personality that you could apply to your videos?
We have an aesthetic, it’s just our taste that dictates our visual identity. It’s who we are.
You were the first ones making a song with Dita Von Teese. How did you find out that she could actually sing?
Until we got her in front of the microphone, we didn’t know if she could sing. She was quite nervous about it but we coached her and gave her confidence. In the end it was quite quick. She’s had many offers before, but we were lucky to have her as the first band she sang with.
You don’t show your faces and neither give your real names. With the lack of icons with whom to identify nowadays, does covering faces make the audience feel closer to you?
We don’t. Sometimes we feel it might make the audience feel further from us, but we like the anonymity. We like playing with it, and our identity. In the future we might play with it more, reveal less, or reveal more. We will see.
What would happen if we would dress up with your masks and your suits?
You might well become us, and maybe you’d never want to give up wearing a mask.
We can see various references to transgender issues in your videos. Bringing back the question of identity, does not having an identifiable personality open the gate to one’s own interpretations?
Gender is another way of playing with identity. And there’s no black and white, it’s a spectrum. We all have some masculine and some feminine aspects, we’re expressing that visually.
There’s always a sense of discomfort on your videos, like pleasant aesthetic mixed with a disturbing feeling in the end.
It’s all about the disturbing moment. Without that it becomes bland.
Baudelaire said “you gave me your mud and I turned it to gold”. We kind of think that you extract the themes for your songs out of a love affair that didn’t go well. Could it be some sort of mud turned into gold? Who was hurt at Monarchy?
We’ve both been hurt. The wonderful thing about life is there’s no end to the pain, which means there’s no end to the inspiration.
Your Monarchy, is it a totalitarian monarchy or democratic monarchy?
Democracy between me and Ra. Totalitarian to the outside world.
There’s something really kitsch in European monarchies. Could you choose your favourite King and your favourite Queen?
Ra likes Louis XIV the most, who had an everlasting appreciation for aesthetic and art until he died.
You’re going to collaborate with the Crazy Horse Cabaret. Could you reveal us something about this project?
Ali Mahdavi shot our photos with Dita Von Teese, and we spent some fine evenings in Paris with him, so he asked us to compose some music for his new show at Crazy Horse. We’d been to Crazy Horse with Dita at Christmas and loved it, so it was a great honour. We’ve made something special for it, we’re quite excited.
Electronic might be one of those music genres with a broader field to discover yet. Where is Monarchy going, what are your next steps?
We’re exploring with more organic sounds, mixing them with the coldness of the machines. We feel there’s some really interesting avenues to discover in that direction.
We ask this question to everyone interviewed at La Monda. We give you the beginning of the sentence and you have to complete it.
“Artistic expression as a way of defending…”your secrets.
Interview: Entrevista: Ane Guerra, Guillaume Thomas, Andoni Beristain