Based in London for the last decade, Aussie synth-pop duo Monarchy have mastered the art of producing slick, catchy electro, and are now looking ahead to the long-awaited release of their fourth album ‘Mid:Night’. On the road across the UK this winter supporting the release, we caught up with the pair, Andrew Armstrong and Ra Black, ahead of their appearance at 78 Sackville St – Hive on 25th January.
// Hello Monarchy! For those who may not be familiar with you, how would you describe yourselves as an act?
Ra // We’re an electronic musical duo. Both of us were born in Australia but we met in London.
Andrew // I always say Electro Pop. It’s a term that keeps coming in and out of fashion, but we are the mix: Ra’s vocals, with electronic music = electro pop.
// Is there anything you’re working on we should know about?
Ra // We just released a single called ‘Deep Cut’ which is part of an album called ‘Mid:Night’, that will be released on the 18th Jan 2019.
// What music have you all been listening to this week?
Ra // Kamasi Washington and Jessie Reyez.
Andrew // L’Imperatrice and the Poolside remix of Rhye.
// Dream band or artist to share a stage with?
Ra // Sharing a stage with my childhood hero Stevie Wonder would be pretty dreamy.
Andrew // Yeah Stevie would be amazing. Grace Jones would be my dream I think. She’s so fierce.
// What is your favourite song to perform? Why?
Ra // Either ‘Disintegration’ cause it’s quite heavy and powerful or ‘Hula Hoop 8000’ cause it’s fun.
Andrew // I’m looking forward to performing ‘Back To The Start’ live. I think it’s going to be super fun.
// Do you have any songs/artists that are your guilty pleasure?
Ra // I’m sure I have loads that other people would consider a guilty pleasure, haha. But I don’t think I feel embarrassment when listening to any music. Maybe the closest would be Jacob Collier cause the music nerd in me feels embarrassed to call myself a musician next to his skills.
Andrew // My guilty pleasures are 90s dance classics. I love it.
// Do you have any tracks that are fairly challenging to play live? How do you address that?
Ra // Yes. Because when we’re writing, we’re just focused on making the song the best it can be. Then when we come to translate that to a live show where there are only 3 of us on stage (guitar/vocal, keyboards and drums), it can be often be challenging but often it’s rewarding cause the solution is normally to focus on the salient parts and make them stronger.
Andrew // We had to rework one of our tracks MidNight quite a bit because we weren’t super happy with it live. And sometimes we rework tracks just because we’ve been playing them for so long, we need to keep ourselves entertained.
// And finally, what is the best purchase you ever made?
Ra // My Gretsch synchromatic cutaway guitar. It’s such a pleasure to play. I just want to have it in my hands all the time.
Andrew // It sounds terrible to say, but my cat. Can you buy happiness? He keeps me happy, centres me in the now. I’ve had him four years now, and he definitely has made me a little more sane.
Monarchy perform at Hive on Friday 25th January 2019. Tickets are available here.