Gay Paris are a new four piece from Sydney who throw in every kind of metal they can think of while having a lot of fun in the process. We caught up with vocalist WH Monks to ask some random questions!
Where did the name Gay Paris come from?
It is extremely rude to ask a band about their chosen moniker – it’s as bad as asking a society lady about her weight or where she met her swarthy, muscular and much younger date. For shame.
How did you form?
Aside from the recent addition of our new drummer, Six Guns Simpson, we’ve been playing music together for many years, long before this thing was a twinkle in our eyes or a stirring in our loins. We’ve seen and done a lot of strange things together.
You have some creative titles for your songs, where did you get the idea for these?
I have a fabulous mind and a definitive loathing for the mundane – the songs are extravagant and likewise deserving of outrageous names. Every name is largely indicative of what is, ostensibly, the ‘theme’ of the song, though in reality, the actual messages and meanings within the lyrics have very little to do with anthropomorphic wolves, Japanese folklore and steam punk sky ships.
What was the inspiration behind the video for “My first wife? She was a fox queen!”?
Everyone likes to party, right? Well, not everyone, but I don’t really care for ‘non-party’ types, the world is too heavy on dust echoes and not long enough on golden moments. I really can’t think of a better night out than playing a gig, watching an awesome band (us) play a gig and being served drinks by some kind of wolf/man bartender.
What’s it like to have your debut album out?
I didn’t think I’d care, but after waiting a year and a half for it to be pressed and released, it was good to hold a physical copy of it. I’m not going to say I felt like a father, because I don’t have any real truck with that. I’d say I feel more like a mother, and that the pregnancy went on for way too long and now I’m glad to be getting back into the kind of shape that will make seducing sexual partners almost criminally easy.
Was it hard to pick what went on the album?
Not at all! We didn’t discard anything. It’s all on there. Not only did this thing take a long time from recording to being released, it took a very long time to write. I think that lyrically and riff wise, the genesis for this record was swimming around the ether for maybe five years.
I like the quality of your voice, do I detect some Tom Waits influence in there?
Look, I really like Tom Waits – he’s got a great voice and interesting lyrics, but I really don’t think that he has influenced me as much as people seem to think. What did influence me was screaming my throat butcher shop raw in a metal band for eight years. My voice broke an now this is how it sounds. I’m quite happy about this, though now my laugh sounds like I’m some kind of drunk monster, out from under the bed for a midnight snack. Great at parties.
Your music, while quite heavy and hard hitting also sounds like you’re having fun, were you intending on putting an album with slightly comic songs?
There will always be a sense of humour in what we do, though I don’t really consider this to be ‘comical.‘ Considering the bleak imagery and vile subject matter of the things that I’m making cracks about, I think it better described as the best party ever, which just happens to be after the funeral of art (as a whole) Fun-wise, yep, we’re having it. There are enough shoe gazing, head nodding jerks out there and we can’t get with that.
Your music infused elements from various sub-genres of metal and hard rock, is it hard to make the different sounds fit together?
I like the idea of our music being a kind of ‘rat-king’, like all these rats living in the filthy darkness and their tails get entwined. Maybe it hurts at first, but they have to learn to get used to it. Eventually, they all move in the same direction.
What are your live shows like?
Loose limbed truculence and cacophony, the kind that one would normally associate with particularly spirited bedroom adventures. This is where we thrive and to be honest, the only situation in which I am truly comfortable. Bringing the party element of rock n’ roll back to life is important to us and if the crowd isn’t up for it, they’re going to get dragged kicking and screaming into one hell of a good time anyways.
You’ve already had a fair bit of critical acclaim from the likes of Triple J and FasterLouder, does this make you feel any pressure your future releases?
No. We’re our own biggest critics and realistically, we’re going to do what we want to do, not what people expect of us. The idea of doing things over and over because they worked the first time is abhorrent to me – art has to grow up and move out and support itself, not live with its parents until it is forty five and still a virgin.
You’ve posted songs up on various sites including Triple J Unearthed and Last FM, has promoting your music online helped your band’s exposure?
Of course. I spend more time updating our sites than I do reading esoteric texts these days and while that is somewhat stunting my arcane education, these online forays into ‘advertising’ are a great way to connect with people, be it the asylum babblings of our Facebook page or the slightly more coherent missives on our blog.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
I’m more likely to listen to my solo hip-hop stuff over and over. When we first recorded this record, sure, I listened to it again and again, pulling it apart and wondering what could be improved next time. Right now, we play these songs so often live and at rehearsal that to listen to them without the physical action of performing them, they’d lose something of what makes them so special, visceral to me.
After the tour what is planned next for Gay Paris?
More touring. May it never end. We have a lot of ‘local’ stuff going on in June and July and then hit the road with The Beards for a national tour through August and September. After that? Well, I’m sure the ball will be rolling at a near terrifying speed by that point.
What can Canberra expect to see when you arrive?
The moment we arrive? Four bearded men spilling out of a car, with a loud American woman shouting instructions at them (which the handsome devils roguishly ignore). These fellows will likely be dressed to the nines, shoes shined and teeth gleaming (bar mine, which will be as awful as ever). Later on, there will be feats of strength, agility and other daring, while men and women alike swoon in appreciation. Then we’ll play a rock n roll show.
Check out the video to Gay Paris’s latest single, The Blacktooth Supper Club, below!