February 2015 “Band of the Month” – MONSOON
Started in January of 2012, the “Band of the Month” feature has allowed The Blue Indian a unique opportunity to share some of our favorite bands with our readers. As we move into our fourth year of the feature, we’re eager to continue showcasing some of the best and brightest bands around. Thanks for the continued support!
“A fine-tuned piece of chaos.” That’s how the soft-spoken, yet blood-speckled guitar-shredding, duct taped heel-wearing front-woman Sienna Chandler describes the undeniable power and eccentricity that is Monsoon.
Monsoon is a three-piece Punk-Pop Rock band from Athens, Georgia, led by Sienna Chandler on lead guitar and vocals, with Scott Andrews on bass and vocals and Joey Kegel on drums. The offbeat punk-rockers are set to release their highly anticipated debut album “Ride A’Rolla” in January of 2015. This full length album features 12 tracks collectively serving as a whirlwind of gory glamour, with gutsy images of vampires, blood red moons, race cars, and an affinity for Japanese culture. – via Monsoon
The Blue Indian: You all each grew up in Athens and met in high school, right? What was the best part of your high school experience and what was your favorite lunchroom item?
Sienna Chandler (all answers): HA! I was one of those lame kids that brought their lunch to school, usually a loud smelling, unrecognizable leftover from a household that celebrates international cooking. Occasionally, I would snag one of my BFF’s French fries when they weren’t looking. The fries were pretty good.
Scott and I both attended Oconee County High School and both braved the miserable heat of marching band together, but since he was a senior and I was a freshmen at the time, it would have been a faux pa to approach him. I remember my friend passing me a note saying “Isn’t Scott so dreamy?” He was a total heartthrob. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I sought him out to be in my band.
I never actually met Joey, properly anyway. I knew him through a friend of a friend of a friend and knew he was an incredible drummer. I sent him a note asking if he’d be interested in playing a one time gig and the rest as they say, is history.
The best part of high school for me WAS marching band. It was sweaty and everybody stank, but the minute we’d hit the field there was this pure rush of adrenaline and a thrill that consumed EVERYONE- Much like playing in a band. The feeling is addicting.
Who or what motivated you to start playing music and what was the first time you played in front of anyone else like?
I grew up around guitars and musicians. My pa collected Stratocasters and other music gear so when I picked one up and taught myself to play, I just figured that was something everyone else did. Kind of like eating soup. Everyone has soup in the pantry, right? It didn’t really register with me until guitar hero came out, that not everyone had access to an actual full size, stringed instrument.
My first experience playing in a band for real live people was at age 15. It’s hilariously dreadful to look back on. I’ve never really been one to stand still and play, so when the spirit moved me, I started dancing and jumping around like a wild child…without strap locks. As you can imagine, mid song, the guitar flew right off my person. Thank God it was Birtha, an old Mexican Strat that’s been dropped, thrown, spilled on, and still plays like a champ. I picked her back up and kept on playing. Note to young readers: STRAP LOCKS. Get ‘em, use ‘em, love ‘em.
What was the moment when you realized there was more to Monsoon than just getting together and making a bunch of noise in a garage or basement?
December 2012. Before then we had been floating around for 2 months as a new un-named band, and writing songs for show deadlines. When we wrote Monsoon, to me, it felt like “WHOA! We’re a band, this is our song, and we have a heartbeat!” The next week we played a show at an old party house called Plush Palace. Everyone fell in love with this new song. The next day a video of the performance went a little Facebook viral and the nice man at
Wuxtry Records gave it a listen and asked us to be on The Wuxtry Records compilation album. We began recording New Years Day 2013 under the official name, Monsoon. We literally became Monsoon overnight. That’s when I thought to myself “dayum gurl. I gotta keep writing.”
Ride A ‘Rolla was released earlier this month, much to the delight of fans around Athens and beyond… What was the recording process like and what stands out the most about the release to you?
We recorded with Joel Hatstat here in town and it couldn’t have been a better experience. He let us do our thing, take our time, and let it be our own. If you’re anywhere near Athens and looking to record, I wholeheartedly, without reservation would point you in his direction.
The release of this album was very much a graduation for all of us. We’ve been working on and towards this album since we were 16. That’s a lot of life and a lot of writing with Monsoon in the forefront, background, and alongside.
The video for the title track off the album is a whirlwind of activity, incredibly enjoyable to watch, and its an equally entertaining song.. What can you tell me about the whole process of recording the video?
Thank you! Recording the video WAS a whirlwind! It was shot in one take using a MoVI M5 camera at the end of the day in a quickly dimming warehouse with few windows and little light. Dominar LTD, the folks that put the shoot together, is the creative love child of Benjamin Roberds and Jordan St. Martin- Reyes. They’re the masterminds behind the video and the concept, the camera angles, and the flow. They constructed and brought to life the idea for the “Ride A ’Rolla” video and it’s absolutely genius. I can’t speak as to the whys and hows of their process, especially for this particular song, but they nailed it. They really captured, for me anyway, what it’s like to be in a band. You have this thing you’re compelled to do. You write the songs and put together the band. You play the shows and then, one day, you realize people are listening. They’re watching. They’re talking. And then this whirlwind takes off! It’s fast and furious, exciting and fun-but it’s a little mind boggling as well. For something we’ve been working for and towards for two years, it feels like it’s all happening overnight. The video really puts it in visual perspective.
What was it like playing the Georgia Theatre earlier this month? It makes for an impressive venue to host your album release show at and it’s definitely one that has proven difficult to fill for much more seasoned acts….
It was a nail biter for sure! We played on a cold, rainy, MONDAY night. I had no idea, up until I hit the stage that it was packed out. I started the show from backstage, playing the beginning chords to Intro as flower girls set the stage. I heard a few folks cheer and thought, “Good! Some people came.” When the flower girls took their leave and we walked out, everyone went nuts. I’ve never seen that many people staring back at me. I was proud, I was happy, I was blown away. I can’t thank the folks at the Georgia Theatre enough for hosting us or the people that came out late on a cold rainy Monday night to support. It was the perfect celebration.
Conversely, what do you all enjoy the most about coming up as a band in Athens?
The support. The artistic support. The creative support. The personal support. Athens is an incredible town.
Now that the album is out, are you all planning to take the show on the road anytime soon? Absolutely.
We are hitting the road this summer!
Without mentioning any revealing details, what’s something you’ve always wanted to tell someone but haven’t?
Dear everyone. Thank you for your interest in our band and for taking the time to ask us questions but PLEASE STOP ASKING WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A FRONT WOMAN. It’s no different than being a front man. It’s 2015. I rock, you rock, we ALL rock. Ask Joan Jett, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Cyndi Lauper, Courtney Love, Kim Gordon, The Deal sisters and countless others. The road was paved for woman in rock long before I was born and it is because of them that I’ve never once been discriminated against or given special treatment because I’m a girl. I’m a musician, plain and simple.
Go Dawgs, right?
Ralphie said it best: “Football, whats a football?”
Monsoon will be playing the 40 Watt with The Howling Tongues, Waitress, and JUNA on Thursday, February 19th. Tickets are available here.