MONOLITH: Pushing the Boundaries of Metal

The Monolith

Monolith is a Berlin-based melodic death metal project by guitarist and songwriter Mario Welke, who is to release a debut album ‘Daddy Plague‘ later this month. We featured Monolith on our recent Progotronics compilation, and asked Mario to answer our questionnaire.

Define the mission of Monolith.

My mission is to push the boundaries of what metal can and should be while also not forgetting the roots.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your upcoming album “Daddy Plague” and the themes it captures.

Usually when writing songs, I start just randomly playing on the guitar until I fiend a riff I enjoy and then I build from there. I quickly add basic drum and bass samples to figure out the general feeling of the song. Once that is done I`ll work on the lyrics unless I feel the song needs some different vocals, in that case I`ll hear around who could be fitting to provide the guest vocals.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Daddy Plague”? 

The message is how dark thoughts can have a strong negative impact on your life and you actively have to decide that you want to change something instead of just hoping that it gets better by itself.

Daddy Plague

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

The first thing I do when I find a riff, I enjoy is to write it down in guitar pro. Within guitar pro I will then add a basic bassline and drum part. When I work on the structure of the song I also keep adding them in guitar pro.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

It depends a bit on the song, some songs I wrote within a couple of hours like “Vermin Among Us”. Others were growing with new ideas over months such as “Forever”. The later was the second song I started to write for Monolith. But I only had a chorus and I had to put it to the side before I could take a fresh look at it and complete it. The song also changed quite a bit once Marie recorded the first demo vocals for it. For the songs with the other guest vocalists that wasnt possible because the songs were already written for one of my former bands and there was no room to adjust anything there.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

From the very beginning I knew it was going to be an album but when recording all the instruments is done by one person you face certain issues. The obviously would be the money. Studio time is expensive and you want to make the most out of it so I decided pretty early on to split the recording into 3 sessions and release the first 2 as EPs.

This gave me multiple advantages. I could already test out the water to see how well it work to record alone and how many songs I can record in one session. For the first EP I recorded only 3 but I knew that with some focus it would be possible to record 4 so the next 2 sessions 4 songs were my goal.

How long “Daddy Plague” was in the making?

The motivation for doing a solo project came to me already in 2013. The first time my bass player cancelled rehearsal 15 minutes after it started via text message because he was wasted from the night before.

However, I only actively started working on “Daddy Plague” in mid 2018.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Amon Amarth comes to mind first, but I always listen to Misery Index or Five Finger Death Punch so they have influenced me aswell.

What is your view on technology in music?

I love fiddling around with samples and I used some in the recording too. The possibilities we have nowadays are really impressive. But I do feel that it is important that you find a good balance between what is done with virtual instruments and actually playing them.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

There are some songs which have lyrics which I crafted much more carefully than others but at the end of day it is death metal, if you take that too serious you are doing it wrong.

What are your plans for the future?

Im currently in the writing phase for the next recording sessions and i also consider finding musicians to bring Monolith to the stage but that is just an idea so far.

Follow Monolith on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: