Home > Interview > Issue #615.5 Edge Of Paradise’s Margarita Monet

Issue #615.5 Edge Of Paradise’s Margarita Monet

Detritus
Mini-Issue #615.5
November 4, 2011
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*** CAST OF CHARACTERS ***
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Patrick Brower, Editor
pwbrower@gmail.com

Sean P. Gahgan, Editor
spgahgan@comcast.net
http://www.lakeoffire.net/
http://www.myspace.com/visionlakeoffire

Tim Wadzinski, Owner
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Steve Shumake, Co-owner
vongoober@neb.rr.com
http://www.last.fm/user/VonGoober

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*** LET IT BE KNOWN ***
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-Happpy Friday and Happy November! Check out my interview with Edge Of Paradise’s Margarita Monet. – Tim

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*** SPECIAL REPORT ***
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by Tim Wadzinski (tsw512@yahoo.com)

-Interview w/ Margarita Monet (Edge Of Paradise)
October 27, 2011

Los Angeles-based Edge Of Paradise is a new — *really* new, as in just having formed this year — industrial-tinged metal band with a debut album out on Shred Rock Records, entitled MASK. Several of the nine songs date back to guitarist Dave Bates’ previous project, Bleed, that featured singer Robin McAuley (MSG, Survivor) and expert guest musicians Tony Franklin (Blue Murder, The Firm) and Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Don Henley), but they now have been given a fresh spin by Edge Of Paradise’s beguiling, European-born multi-talented front lady Margarita Monet. Bates and Monet have now added a permanent rhythm section in bassist Steven Cook and drummer Kevin Katich, and are looking onward and upward. I recently spoke to Ms. Monet about her background, the band, and the album.

DETRITUS: It seems like the band came together relatively quickly, this year. Is that right?

MARGARITA MONET: Yeah, we’re very new. Uh-huh.

D: According to your bio, you came to this country from Europe, you’ve got a very diverse musical background, experience in theater, classical piano, and many other things. How did you end up in Hollywood in a heavy metal band?

MM: (laughs) I ask myself that every day. I went to NYU for acting and I was also taking piano, classical piano, and performing classical music. But I was in a cover band in New York, so I kind of started to get into that, you know, whole feel of a band because it’s very different from a solo performance. I moved out to L.A. to pursue acting and I ran into this producer who persuaded me to record a song, and it was more like a pop/rock or pop song, and I totally hated it because I’m not a big fan of pop at all. But we needed somebody to play guitar on my song so I met Dave at a music store — they had some recital there — so we asked him to play on the song. Then Dave was looking for a singer and he showed me his music, and I really liked it. Two weeks later we were like, “Okay, we have to be in a band together.” So we called it Edge Of Paradise and we just started recording, and we played a few gigs in there.

So it’s like, I don’t know, everything just fell into the right place. Music was always a part of my life but when I was trying to pursue acting here, you get parts here and there, but there’s so much waiting involved. Over time you get so tired of it, and I missed music. Now I get to do music every day, and get to create something and move further and further because of you, not because of somebody else. I really love what I’m doing. Acting, I mean, it’s kind of like it’s all related in some way because you still have to put on a show and you’re on stage, and it’s all entertainment, you know? Everything is in the right place now.

D: It’s great to hear that! I recently interviewed a guy from a different band whose story is a little similar to yours, in that he was involved with music, got into acting, went to L.A. to pursue the acting, and then got back into music. [That’s Jammer from Brute Forcz. – Tim.] I wonder how many people like that share your journey?

MM: (laughs) Probably a lot!

D: I reviewed the Bleed EP and I’d lost track — it came out in 2004 and I didn’t realize that much time had gone by. Before this interview I went back and took a listen. It seems like all the songs from that EP are now on MASK. How much, if any, re-working or re-recording of those songs was done, besides your vocals being added?

MM: All of them were re-mixed. We left the rhythm section because it’s Gregg Bissonette and Tony Franklin — that’s a solid rhythm section! But Dave re-worked the guitars, and we put keyboards on all the songs. They’re not very noticeable because the keyboards are kind of like that Rob Zombie feel, it’s very bass-y — it’s basically just about the guitars. On “We Breathe” you can notice it more because it’s more of a symphonic sound on the keyboards. We left some of Robin’s background vocals. When we were mixing the songs we were trying to figure out what sounds we wanted to create, so it would become an Edge Of Paradise type sound. We were playing with a lot of different ways. We figured out to put keyboards on way later because it’s unusual to have these sorts of keyboards in a metal song. But it kind of really thickened out the songs and we got the sound we were aiming for. You know, this whole album was to introduce us as a band, and it’s kind of like a steppingstone for us because every great band has to have something to show for. That’s why we kind of rushed into this; we wanted to get this album out so we can move further. We’re constantly writing more music and we can’t wait to put that out. All the songs from the Bleed EP are on MASK.

D: Towards the end of MASK there are three instrumentals, a couple of which I thought were vastly different in style than the rest of the songs. Of course “Shredenstein,” the “Frankenstein” cover, is a classic guitar showcase, and “Fire” is a very cool blazing guitar song. But then “I Come In Peace” fits more closely with the album; it has a more modern feel, and almost seems like it could’ve been written for a movie’s closing credits sequence. Do you expect to have that kind of variety on your next albums, or would there be a more focused vibe?

MM: No, we will definitely have a more focused vibe. One of the reasons we put those three songs on MASK is because we did kind of run out of time, and we wanted to solidify this band to put us on the map, but also these songs are Dave’s writing and we wanted to have this album appeal to guitar players. The song “I Come In Peace” was written a long time ago. He did have the whole idea of an action movie soundtrack. A lot of his students who are guitar players love that kind of stuff. We wanted to include the instrumentals to appeal to the people who study guitar, or who want to be guitar players, so we have that kind of exposure as well. But the next CD is definitely going to be mostly vocal songs and we are gonna take it in the direction of the style that we established with the six vocal songs on MASK. (laughs) So it’s definitely going to be more focused.

D: What was it like working on “Walk The Line?” To me, that one stands out from the rest of the album because of it’s big, fat old Black Sabbath groove. I haven’t heard too many female singers tackle material like that.

MM: That’s personally one of my favorite songs to sing. I love the groove of it. It was actually the first one we recorded and we were still wondering what to do with the song. That one is, like, there’s not much you have to do to that song because it already has that really heavy groove. It fits so well with the lyrics, and what the song is about, and the play on words. (laughs) It’s definitely a really fun song. But what was it like? It’s very easy to really get into the feel of that song when we recorded it because of the whole groove. It’s like once you walked in you just let go. It’s like you just turn on a car and just drive, you know? That song doesn’t stop, and that solo just keeps moving in a very groove-y way. (laughs) We’re actually going to release another single at the beginning of the year. The groove is kind of like “Walk The Line” but it’s a step up, it’s way more crazy in a way. (laughs)

D: What song is that, “Mystified?”

MM: No, no, no, we haven’t released it yet. It’s gonna be called “Skin Me.” We haven’t really talked much about it but I’m really excited I spilled the beans. (laughs)

D: I’m looking at the CD booklet, which I see you did the artwork on…

MM: Yes.

D: How come only the title track has its lyrics printed? Are you making a statement with that song? Why was it chosen to be the title track, and why did you include its lyrics?

MM: The reason it was chosen to be the title track is because of the story behind it, and why it was written in the first place. The writers on it were Ryan Jones and Dave, before I came into the picture. The song is about a drummer that they had in a previous band, who had a really tragic ending. He took his own life and his 13-year-old daughter found him. When that happened it was very striking because you could never tell. I mean, he was always happy and he was always giving everybody else advice, so nobody could even see it coming. I know that was the inspiration for Dave because he knew this guy for a very long time; I mean they were in a band together. And from Ryan’s standpoint he also wrote the song during that period of time, but also put into it what was going on inside his mind. When I got the song we changed some of the lyrics because when I read it, it was so obvious to me that it’s about that mask — you know, the mask that people wear. I mean *every* day, especially in L.A. You go everywhere and people act a certain way that they don’t really feel, you know? And it’s really hard to get anybody to open up. Nobody really opens themselves up to you, so you can’t really tell what’s behind it, the mask. The song was called “To Believe” at first, but some of the lyrics in the second verse go “Seems that every time I wake / I’m always wearing this miserable face” — that’s what it was at first, and then I was like, “Whoa, that’s a mask,” so we changed it to “miserable mask.” The whole song just became about the mask that people wear. We wanted to make it the title track because it really related to us, because of where we live, in L.A., and it’s just the environment. We were like, “That’s the title track!” At first we were gonna call the whole album BACK TO THE GROUND, from the lyrics of “Falling Down,” and then when we started working on “Mask” we switched direction because it just really made sense to us.

D: Your various websites mention a non-album track called “Mystified.” I believe one of the sites said it was “your” song, which I took to mean that you’ve had it for a while, even before you met Dave. Will that ever surface on an Edge Of Paradise album?

MM: That song was actually the one I wrote with that producer, and where I met Dave when we needed a guitar player. It was actually a really interesting process because I had this vision for it to be a rock song with heavy guitars. And the first time the producer mixed it he completely buried the guitars — you could not hear a thing! (laughs) It was a long process of getting the song to be kind of what I wanted it to be like, but it didn’t really work out so we left that song behind. You know, maybe in the future we’ll re-write the whole thing because the way that the song is now, it does not fit the band at all. Now I tend to sing a little bit differently. It was the song [where] I just started to get into the whole thing, and now that I listen to it I would do it differently, I would change the lyrics, just you know, change it around. Maybe in the future we’ll come back to it and re-write it because I really like the piano at the beginning — it’s my favorite part. (laughs)

D: When you play live, do you play a longer set? MASK is about 30 minutes long. I’m just wondering if you have more original material, or if you maybe fill out the set with some covers? What’s the live show like?

MM: We do play a couple more original songs that aren’t on this album, but will be on the next one. We do throw in cover songs. We do a lot of songs by Ronnie James Dio — from Dio and also from Black Sabbath. He’s my biggest influence and we all love his songs, so we throw in as much Dio as possible. (laughs) We also do some Guns N’ Roses — we do “Welcome To The Jungle” — and we do some Iron Maiden. It depends on the gig. We have a large library of covers that we do but we pick and choose the set for a particular gig. We actually have a show tomorrow where we’ll play a 90-minute set, with covers and all our originals.

D: How did Kevin and Steven come to join the band?

MM: Dave and I wanted to do some shows so we started to look for a drummer and a bass player. We met Kevin and tried him out, and he was really good so we asked if he knew any bass players. He happened to know Steven because, you know, usually the rhythm section knows each other. So it worked out for the better because they’re solid players together. That’s how we met, and it can be challenging to fill the shoes of Gregg Bissonette and Tony Franklin but they’re doing well. (laughs)

D: You are all pretty young, right? I got the impression you’re all in your early 20s for the most part.

MM: I am, and the drummer and the bass player are as well. Dave is a little bit older.

D: Then I have to believe you’re all in tune with social media. I see you have a whole host of websites. What I’m wondering is this: do you think it’s worth it for a band to have to maintain all those sites at this point in the game? Or has it become a hassle? I see many bands that have a main .com site, a ReverbNation page, Facebook, maybe even MySpace still or whatever, and it all seems like a lot of the same content is on every site. Do you ever get to the point where you say, “I just want to go out and play my stuff,” without having to worry about tweeting your whereabouts 24/7?

MM: Every day. I hate social media now. (laughs) I never tweet — I don’t know how Twitter works. (laughs) I mean, at first we just wanted to really get this band out there, so it would be all over the Internet, to introduce ourselves. At first it’s really important so people know who you are, so musicians out here know who you are. Clubs, too, you know — the first thing they do is go and see how many fans you have. So at first we were like, “Yeah, that’s really important!” I had to learn how to deal with all those different pages, and it was such a headache. (laughs) Now at this point, the band is really growing on its own, and we have really to focus on playing as much as we can. We have to push the music and see how it grows, and release more material. We’re so lucky to have Chip [Ruggieri of Chipster PR & Consulting, Inc.] and Munsey [Ricci of Skateboard Marketing] on board because I mean, I don’t even know how a band these days can make it out there without some sort of backing. So now I’m kind of stepping back a little from all these pages, so I’m taking a breath from it all. (laughs) I definitely think it is important because everybody else has it, but it’s so easy to get lost these days. The Internet is a blessing and a curse. It’s awesome because you can reach so many people out there in the world — we’ve talked to people all the way from Australia, Europe; they want to buy the CD so it’s really exciting that you can reach people that are so far away. But at the same time the Internet is so saturated with different bands. I don’t know, it’s like anybody can put anything up there. It’s hard to break through.

D: One last question. I assume “Monet” is your stage name — why did you choose that?

MM: First off I changed my name because nobody could say my real last name, Martirosyan. (laughs) When I was working with that other producer he encouraged me to change my name. My mom was like, “That’s cool, Monet.” I loved the painter. I don’t know, I don’t even remember how I came up with it. All of a sudden I was Monet, and from the time I was working with the producer he put that name out [there]. I already had a bunch of web pages with that name so I just kept it.

D: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me. Good luck with the show tomorrow and the album, and hopefully we’ll hear more from you in the near future.

MM: Thank you! Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

-Thanks to Chipster PR for arranging this interview.

Relevant links:

Edge Of Paradise
http://www.edgeofparadiseband.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Edge-Of-Paradise/175809195764541
http://www.loudtrax.com/Artist/EdgeOfParadise
http://www.reverbnation.com/edgeofparadiseband

Shred Rock Records
http://www.shredrockrecords.com/

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*** OUT ***
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