Interview w/ I am the Monster
If you like crowd surfing with 80 year old ladies and are scared of shred-master 10 year olds, this band may be the melodious incarnation of your troubled soul. This band combines their talent for skull rattling hardcore with a robust knowledge of out-of-date dance moves. Is this band the jilted stepchild of Richard Simmons? No, this band is I Am The Monster based out of Portland, Oregon and it’s time for you to get acquainted.
HC Is there any significance or story behind your name? What are the origins of IATM and how long have you been at it?
IATM We were in the middle of recording our EP Scream These Words and were having legal trouble with our name at the time (Hold Steady, Atlas) and actually ended up changing our singer during the process. Cody has a lyric saying ‘I am not a monster, I am a simple man’ in The Life We Never Led, we were in a hurry and landed on that one. I Am The Monster is only two months old but we have been playing since 2005 and really started taking the band seriously this year.
HC For those who are unfamiliar with your set, how would you describe yourself? What can
we expect from an IATM show?
IATM Brian: Interceptors, running mans, european carry-alls, and chopping blocks, are all ‘moves’ you can expect to see at any of our shows. But really its one rowdy, sweaty, loud good time.
Jacob: Lean-Backs, Hairnados, Thinking-Mans, Cranes
HC IATM is currently based out of Portlandia, are you all natives?
IATM Brian: Ya, I’d say more the Portland Metro area, we’ve got a guy in Clackamas, Vancouver, Hillsboro, and two in Portland, so really all over the place. I think I am the only one born out of the area, Hawaii.
HC What are some of your early influences that got you into music? Who were some of the influences that helped you launch IATM?
IATM Brian: Ah man I listened to a ton of horrible music growing up ranging from every pop boy band to rap, to alternative rock. But what really got me into what we are doing today would be bands like Haste the Day, I remember seeing a show of theirs before I knew who they were and was just blown away.
Nolan: I would say punk music like Propagahandi. Believing in June, Emery, Bear vs. Shark, but really I am all over the place when it comes to music, I really like all of it.
Jacob: Early influences include, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins. Then Slipknot, Mudvayne etc., and for IATM Norma Jean, Haste the Day, ABR, etc.
HC Where are you currently grabbing inspiration from and how has this been affecting your music?
IATM Brian: I love how older Chiodos didn’t follow the traditional verse, chorus, verse and made every song like a story with a beginning, middle, and end. For the most part we try to do the same to challenge ourselves. August Burns Red, Oh, Sleeper and Underoath haven always been pushing the creative envelope with every album and push me to come up with something better.
Nolan: Hip hop and Jazz have really been influencing my bass riffs latley.
Jacob: Currently I am all about August Burns Red. Their drummer is a huge inspiration. Like Brian said, Underoath, Oh, Sleeper, also play a big part in how I try to play. Listening to these bands has really pushed us to play better and smarter. We all have to improve as musicians outside of jamming and writing, and we always write stuff that pushes our abilities.
HC Where can those interested best connect with you to find out about news, releases and tours?
IATM Our myspace (myspace.com/iamthemonstermusic) is the best place to keep up with anything and everything IATM.
HC What do you enjoy most about the local music scene? Who have been some of the funnest bands and venues to play with?
IATM The local music scene tends to be a pretty tight knit group and everyone seems to get along for the most part. The kids that come out to shows just to see a show. I’ve meet several people that come out and don’t know a single band that’s playing. It’s a tough choice to pick between Club Satyricon and the Hawthorne Theatre but Aleen has always been one of our favorite bands to play with, those dudes are awesome.
HC What are the weapons (insturments) of choice IATM?
IATM Brian: Bryan and I both use a Gibson SG Special, mine is rockin a EMG 81 at the bridge. Nolan has a Ibanez Bass starter pack which proves that price doesn’t give you quality… And Jacob has a custom Truth drum kit currently in the works.
HC Favorite place to eat in Portland?
IATM Rock Bottom is always good when we are feeling like high rollers and Rogue Ale House too some goooooood brews.
HC What have been some of the most important lessons for you as an aspiring artist? Any words of wisdom for those wanting to pursue their dreams of music stardom?
IATM Brian: Biggest lesson is things never go the way you plan, whether it be recording or booking, or really anything that comes along with a being in a band. Word of wisdom would be to start playing young. At my age looking up youtube videos and watching 10 year olds shred way harder than you could possibly dream doesn’t do too much for the self-esteem…
Jacob: Make sure you are playing what you love to play.
HC Any funny and/or scary stories from recent shows or tours?
IATM Haha yeah actually, our last show on tour in Grants Pass we made a hugggeeee fan. Only catch is she was probably close to 80 years old. She was head banging with a fist in the air the whole show and when our set was finished she came on stage and gave us all hugs and said we were the most energetic band she has ever seen since Machine Head in 2000. She had us all autograph our EP and even gave us a tip, but ya I think its safe to say we wont meet anyone like her again.
HC You recently completed your first tour, venturing down even into Southern California, how was the tour and what are your plans for building upon this momentum?
IATM Ha well like I mentioned before NOTHING goes the way you planned. We originally planned on playing a straight week of shows but with a month or two of the booking process missing a singer in our lineup its made things a little tiny bit difficult. We played a couple shows on our tour/vacation and got awesome responses from the places we did play and made some really good connections. It was a huge learning experience for us and are planning a spring tour. But next for us is just working our ass off to get our name out there and make sure that everyone knows about IATM.
10/31/2009 7:00 PM at Halloween Show @ The Barn
w/I Am The Monster, Roseway, 66 Lover Letters and All I Ask
2005 NW Cornelius Schefflin Rd,
Cornelius, Oregon 97113