Hailing from Manchester, Monday Night Special is a group of four guys who annoy their neighbours with their unique alternative rock. We had a chance to speak with the lads about their EP Panic in the Attic, dealing with Covid-19 restrictions and favourite smells.
OSR: Jumping right into it, what is the backstory to Monday Night Special?
Monday Night Special: We all met two years ago when we started studying at Manchester University. We all knew we wanted to be in a band and were so lucky to find each other. Oscar and Jake used to play together in London and quickly found Ed who was on Jake’s course. Oscar responded to an advert we put out. It couldn’t have worked out any better as we all like the same music, live close together and have always got on well in and out of the rehearsal room.
OSR: If you could change one thing about Panic in the Attic what would it be and why?
Monday Night Special: The EP was recorded over only two and a half days which is very ambitious for five tracks. I think if we were able to have more time we could have really pushed the boat out with production and maybe added more than the simple two guitars, bass and drums; maybe experimented with more guitar tones and vocal effects. That being said, we wanted the EP to be raw, simple and a strong reflection of our live sound which we definitely think we have achieved here.
OSR: What was the writing and recording process for Panic in the Attic?
Monday Night Special: The songs on the EP were written over the course of the two years we’ve been together, so they’re a mix of very old and very recent (for the time) songs. Usually, one of us will come with an initial idea or song structure and play it to the group before everyone adds their part and personal contribution. As we are a band, it’s extremely important we all equally contribute to the writing process and everyone has input.
We decided on the tracklist for the EP in early January by picking the five songs we felt we enjoyed playing live the most and that were similar in energy and aesthetic. We then made demos for each track in the attic of our student home (hence the EP title) and brought those with us to Dead Basic Studios in March where we recorded the final tracks you hear over the course of a weekend.
Unfortunately, after we booked time in the studio to record the EP, our drummer, Alex, broke his wrist and was unable to play for some months. So we had to call Jake’s brother to fill in on drums. Though he was new to the songs and it was an added thing that could go wrong, he did a great job with the drums parts.
OSR: Which is your least favourite Monday Night Special song?
Oscar: That’s a tough question as we are very fond of all the tracks we have ever released. ‘Electric’ would probably be my least favourite simply because we have been playing it for such a long time and it isn’t quite as fresh as some of the other tracks to us. That being said, it is a firm fan favourite.
Ed: It’s a difficult one but I’d have to say ‘Love Is A Game’. That’s because most of my memories of it relate to the demo version. I don’t think it’s a bad song or a bad demo, rather that the demo captures the song as it was then and I think the song has a lot more to offer than the demo shows.
OSR: What do you do in your spare time?
Monday Night Special: When we aren’t making music we generally are focused on our degree courses, however, we also have other pursuits. Oscar, Ed and Jake all enjoy radio and are on the committee for Fuse FM which is the Uni’s student radio group. Jake is also big into music production and spends most of his free time recording other groups and working on his craft. In his spare time, Ed enjoys learning about ancient history and reading gothic horror.
OSR: Who inspires your sound?
Monday Night Special: We listen to all kinds of music within the group so this is a tricky question to answer. The indie revival groups of the early 2000s definitely have had a big influence on our sound, such as the Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes. We also love 60s music such as The Beatles, The Kinks and the Beach Boys.
Recently, surf-rock has been having a massive influence on our sound. Ed turned us all on to Dick Dale, The Ventures and The Shadows and the influence of that can explicitly be seen in ‘Surf and Rescue’, the EP’s opener, which is something of a tribute to the late Dick Dale. Not many modern indie bands are pursuing the surf-rock route either, so it’s something to definitely look out for with us in the future.
OSR: What is the most challenging aspect of being an unsigned band?
Monday Night Special: Pretty much every aspect, besides making the music and playing together, is tricky. In order to be successful, you have to understand how to engage in social media properly to grow your audience, how to get bookings and how to organise recording time and distribution to music stores.
It’s very challenging being an unsigned band in the modern day as the music landscape has changed so much. It’s no longer about just making great records – you have to understand publicity, marketing and all these other things that people never consider when they first pick up a guitar. Furthermore, there are hundreds of thousands of great local bands out there doing exactly the same thing. The scene for unsigned bands pretty much everywhere is so saturated with talent that it can be hard to stand out. Though it is easy to see other bands as rivals or competition, we much prefer to consider them friends and competent artists!
OSR: How are you, as a band, dealing with the Covid-19 restrictions?
Monday Night Special: Since the very start of 2020, our priority has been on writing and recording new songs as much as possible. As such, though it is a massive shame not to be able to gig, we have still been able to work on new material throughout lockdown. As we return to uni for our third year, we are getting ready to bring these new songs to audiences both live and online. We have experimented with livestreams and would like to do more of them as it seems that we won’t be able to play to even small audiences for some time.
OSR: Do you think this pandemic will have a long-term effect on the music scene?
Monday Night Special: Definitely. We’ve missed months of gigging and seen some groups disband which is a real shame. Hopefully, when we can gig again, there’ll be a new love for the local live scene.
OSR: What is your favourite smell?
Monday Night Special: A sweaty room as it reminds us of some of our favourite gigs at venues like Indigo, Fuel and the common rooms of Owens Park. That and the smell of Aldi’s own brand BBQ flavour Pringles.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?
Monday Night Special: Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.