Ahead of dropping their first single in 18 months, vocalist Monica and drummer boy Vin shared all things The Last Martyr related including whether this Melbourne heavy band rehearses with telepathic powers, the new song and upcoming inception-y music video for Hindsight, and how they’ve recorded an EP with the assistance of zoom calls and a studio filled with Chris Lalic of Windwaker.
Where does the name ‘The Last Martyr’ come from and how did you all meet?
MONICA: When the band got together, obviously, finding a band name is one of the hardest parts of first starting out because it’s essentially going to be a legacy that sticks with you for pretty much forever.
All of us in the band had gone through music college and we had all seen our musician friends who are all very talented, sort of drop off the radar and their bands fall by the wayside over the years. For the lot of us we felt like the last one’s standing in a way, still holding the torch and still trying to have a go at being successful in music. That’s how the name The Last Martyr came about.
VIN: Myself and Ben, the guitarist, had been playing in bands together for… I think it’s been nearly 10 years, so we’ve known each other for quite a while now. At the time when he was starting up this project I was taking a break from music, so I wasn’t really playing in any bands or doing anything with music. But him (Ben) and one of our other members were putting something together with one of our other former founding members and they found Mon (Monica) and our bassist at the time was also a friend, and they kind of put this project together. I was a little bit hesitant to get back into the game, because I had taken a year off to focus on other life stuff, but Ben was constantly hounding me like “C’mon it’ll be great just jump in, it’ll be fun”.
So it was peer pressure then?
VIN: Yeah it was pretty much peer pressure [laughs] and I’m glad I did! Because I got in and I really enjoyed playing with them on that first EP. That’s how it all came together, and the rest is history I guess.
I know that Steve Cannatelli put up a post on Facebook about The Last Martyr the other day, and it said that you guys had only rehearsed a handful of times before starting Steve’s band coaching program. I just wanted to know is there a reason for why you guys hadn’t done many group rehearsals? Do you all just have telepathic powers? What is this long-distance-band-relationship?!
Yes our secret is out! We do have telepathic powers [laughs] - MONICA, VOCALIST
MONICA: I guess since the band had been around since mid 2018, we did have a different bass player at the time and an additional guitarist. So, of course back then when we were initially playing shows we did rehearse a lot.
But since we had Ricky be in the band, he’s been with us since the end of 2019 and then of course Covid happened, so this particular line up of the four of us: myself, Vin, Ricky the new bassist and Ben who’s an original member, we hadn’t actually gotten into a room together pretty at all before working with Steve. For us, it was like the perfect time to work with him and to help us get our live show together and it was really such good timing since we have a couple of shows coming up.
Do you try to do any rehearsals through lockdown, like any live or zoom meetings? Or was it too difficult?
MONICA: We recorded a whole EP via zoom [laughs]. Throughout the various lockdowns and various rules around how many people were allowed in a particular square footage we would kind of flick between most of us being on zoom and just one person being in the studio with Chris Lalic who’s from the band Windwaker. With recording, once we had the technology to do it, it was actually quite easy. But in terms of rehearsals, it was gratifying to actually play the songs, the new songs that we had been writing over zoom, it was really gratifying to actually get into the studio and play it, and it’s been a lot of fun.
We have to talk about the new single Hindsight that is being dropped on Friday (interview was a few days before the single was released).
The Last Martyr has said that “it’s only through the benefit of hindsight we can see situations for how they really were and, well, as they say, hindsight is truly a bitch”, and that the song is about a friendship break-up, could you expand on the ideas behind the song?
MONICA: Yeah, at that time for me personally,
I was going through a bit of a friendship breakdown, and over the course of the last couple of years with this person I had been hiding who I truly was and was kind of even scared to voice my opinion out of fear of what they might say, and that is highly unlike me - MONICA, VOCALIST
When I had realised that, it happened to be the same time that we were going into the studio, because we had recorded this back in December 2019, and it was right around when Ricky joined. In fact he’s largely responsible for this song. I was actually furious at myself that I had allowed this to happen, and that was the catalyst for writing the lyrics in the studio.
From there I really reflected and took the time to look back at some other situations maybe with romantic relationships, or with other friendships, or with family members, where I had allowed someone to I guess, so to speak ‘put me under their thumb’, which is one of the lyrics in Hindsight. It was really fueled by one particular situation, by then the song is also about multiple situations that I think a lot of people can relate to.
With the cover art for Hindsight, I noticed that there were a few Japanese characters and a few other little symbols on there, what do they mean?
VIN: It’s kind of like we are rebranding the band so-to-speak since the last EP, and because we hadn’t been around and Covid, so we thought that we would take an approach to rebrand the band. The Japanese symbols are actually just the band name in Japanese, we are going for this sort of 90’s nu-metal vibe with this release especially, and when the video clip comes out that will be more prevalent that this sort of CD case art with the Japanese text and everything will fit that late 90’s/early 2000’s vibe.
It was more of a design choice to get people in that frame of mind of like ‘this is what to expect’.
MONICA: We gave a lot of creative leeway to the artist, we gave him the concepts and the video concepts and that’s what he produced for us.
What can you tell us about the video?
VIN: It’s already been shot, already been done, we are just waiting for a few things to be sorted out. It’s going to be out on the 5th of May.
It’s got that 90’s/ 2000’s vibe, but it also modernised for today. You’ll get a cross of pop-art overlays and that sort of trap style that you see a lot popping up now, as well as that 90’s vibe that I’m pretty excited for people to see -VIN, DRUMMER
MONICA: It’s pretty hectic, it’s very fast-paced and it really highlights the director David Owen Blackley from Her Name Is Murder Productions, it really highlights what he’s good at, which is this vintage HD fusion between VHS concepts with overlaying of modern multi-media.
I never actually seen him do a clip that fuses the two as what is seen in Hindsight, so I think that he’s really smashed it out of the ballpark. For example there was some behind-the-scenes shots where he actually projected the footage that was taken during the actual filming of the video, he projected that onto a projector in the background and then filmed the projection with another camera so it’s really mutli-layered and a lot of work has been put into it and we’re stoked.
VIN: At the same time, he also got us to do green screen stuff, so he’s really mished-and-mashed a whole bunch of styles into one sort of focus.
It sounds very “inception-y” [laughs]
VIN: To an extent yeah! I don’t know if that will be the front facing vibe of the video, but it’s there in the layers.
Do you think the layers of the music video match the layers of the song? Do they compliment each other and the message you’re trying to convey?
MONICA: If you look closer into the lyrics of Hindsight there’s slight comments on the way women are portrayed in the music industry, and you know with women in general society and how there’s that old school thing like “why don’t you smile? You’ll be prettier if you smile more”, and that particular friend that I had I felt maybe had those misogynistic undertones so there is a slight comment even though this isn’t just about this person, there’s this slight I guess nod to ‘standing in your power as a woman’ and that’s in the lyrics in I think you should smile while there’s a change of pace.
There’s multi-layers within the lyrics and I love lyrics with multiple layers, meanings and dimensions. Sometimes I write stuff where you think that it’s a metaphor, but it’s actually quite literal and vice versa - MONICA, VOCALIST
you think it’s quite literal but I take deeper meanings from it and what they need from the lyrics and that’s one of the coolest things about being a songwriter.
VIN: There’s a lot of performance shots in there and that’s also sliced in with shots of us looking into the screen, and almost as if we were the viewer like ‘what are you thinking? What’s that hindsight sort of thing?’. So, it’s a lot of things, but I feel like with these things that are quite abstract everyone’s going to get something out of it.
MONICA: If you watch it a few times, you’ll notice something different every time [laughs].
I want to know what is next for The Last Martyr? I know you guys are booked for tour support with Redhook in May, what other sneaky projects are happening?
MONICA: So we will be announcing another show for the end of May, so definitely stay tuned for that, that will be a Melbourne show so stay tuned for that. We are also in the process of booking some interstate shows for later in the year. Aside from that we pretty much have the rest of the year booked up with new music and now that shows are back we are just really keen to get out and play. Is there anything I’m missing Vin?
VIN: It was kind of a bit of a struggle because we had quarantine and lockdown and all that, and all this content came out and we were like ‘ooh when would be a good time to explode back onto the scene?’. I think that now people are starting to come out again, and we are really really looking forward to the rest of the year and going up interstate and connecting with new and old fans, it’ll be good to get out there and see new people and play shows for people. I think we’re all looking forward to that.
Do you have anything else you would like to add about the band, Hindsight or any messages you want to get out to fans?
VIN: we get a lot of nice messages from people saying like ‘oh I really love that song’ or like ‘when are you coming here?’ or ‘when are you playing shows there?’, just thank you for all of those messages and supporting us through covid, we had people buying T-shirts, CD, and downloading audio from Bandcamp.
I just really appreciate everyone that has stuck with us all the way through and hopefully that the new stuff really kicks it off for you and was worth the wait - VIN, DRUMMER
MONICA: We reply to every single comment and every single dm, we love chatting to people so don’t be a stranger!
That was Monica and Vin from the Melburnian heavy outfit The Last Martyr, chatting to Jess from Moody Music Blog Au about the band’s latest release Hindsight.
Hindsight is available right now to listen to, the official music video is set to be released on the 5th of May, you can catch The Last Martyr in Melbourne supporting Redhook on their Bad Decisions tour alongside FANGS on May 8th (more information on their Facebook Page Events), and stay tuned for the announcement of another show in late May (oh I know this is all very exciting!).
Make sure to follow The Last Martyr on their socials, maybe even test out if they do respond to EVERY SINGLE MESSAGE *wink*
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