Q&A: 100 Monkeys on Liquid Zoo, Special Hugs, and Hotel Parties
If you ask just anyone about the band 100 Monkeys, they might look at you with a blank stare. However, mention it to a starry-eyed Twi-hard, and her heart will most likely skip several beats. But despite its ties to the massive Twilight industry, (main man Jackson Rathbone plays "Jasper Hale" in the films) 100 Monkeys is not just another celebrity band. Grabbing influence from the Motown era to Jimi Hendrix and Classic rock, 100 Monkeys brings a new sound to the music industry, making it nearly impossible to slap on a specific genre label. Most recently 100 Monkeys explored a different side of music and
composed the soundtrack to indie film Girlfriend which
stars members Jackson Rathbone and Jerad Anderson. On tour for most of the year, the band works hard, is known to have an outrageous stage presence and is completely all about the fans.
Recently, the boys took some time out of their bustling tour schedule to chat about new album Liquid Zoo, hotel slumber parties, and the special hugs they give one another before hopping on stage. Oh and girls, Jackson Rathbone's southern accent is real and yes it is that sexy.
New Times: So you guys started this tour a little while ago, how's it going for you?
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100 Monkeys: Yeah we started about 3 weeks ago, and its just been great. Lots of energy from the crowds, and our fans are awesome. We have fans that travel all over the country following us to see multiple shows in different cities.
You recently came off a 100 city tour, what was that like?
Well we're still trying to hit a bunch of the cities from that tour. A lot of the smaller places didn't have venues big enough to hold everyone, so we're going back through a lot of them and we're just trying to play anywhere. Bowling alleys, roller skating rinks, you know wherever we can get our fans in.
Wow a rollerskating rink, you'd totally have to play on skates.
(laughs) Wow, that would be something. I'm not sure how we would do that, but we should try it. Yeah that'd be really out of control. Especially when we switch instruments.
So with such a crazy tour schedule, what is a typical day like for you guys?
Crazy. No seriously, it's like wake up, play, sleep, and onto the next town. We can't wait to get back to Florida, we've been there before and everyone is just real cool, laid back, and wants to have a good time.
You guys are really all about the fans. I mean you give out your hotel info and encourage them to stay there. Has that ever gotten out of hand?
Hahah whoa. You make it sound dirty, like some crazy slumber party. It's more like we partner with hotels all over the country and they offer our fans a discounted rate. Sort of like a Groupon. A lot of our fans are really dedicated to our music, and they travel all over just to see us play. So we want to give back to them, because without them where would we be? Once in Detroit, we did have a pretty crazy party in the lobby. Jello shots, whip cream fights, cookies. But you know, we cleaned up after because we're gentleman.
So I've been listening to the newest album Liquid Zoo, and in my opinion your sound is very Murder City Devils meets The Doors, and a little Johnny Cash. What would you compare yourselves to?
Wow, well you hit the nail on the head. But yeah, we listen to a lot of Motown, classic rock, and stuff from the past, so we like to draw our sound and inspiration from older bands. A lot of rock and roll and blues.
The song "Keep Awake" is pretty morbid, kind of makes me think about Patrick Bateman in American Psycho with Huey Lewis and The News. What movie killer could you picture humming that song while doing the deed?
The Joker. Definitely.
Liquid Zoo's release was just a few weeks ago, what was the creative journey like for this album?
Well we're always traveling and on the road. So we get a lot of inspiration from that. And in the process of recording, we would hangout at this local bar called Liquid Zoo, and the bartender would just let us go on stage and jam. We'd get loose and just go back to the studio and start recording. With this album we really wanted to capture that live energy that we have on stage. It's really hard to duplicate that through a studio album, so it's been a learning process. We played everything live and together in the studio except the vocals. It was definitely a new way to go, but we wanted to get that high energy that we have on stage expressed through this album.
You also recently composed the soundtrack for new movie Girlfriend. How was this process different in comparison to creating an album?
Oh it's completely different. We basically had to bring our studio with us on the road and set up in our hotel room with two screens. Watching the movie on one screen and pro tools on the other, just layering sounds and creating musical emotion to go along with what is happening on screen. It's different, but it's something we want to do. We're working on some more movies right now, and we want to continue to do this. Also, we're releasing an album called The Girlfriend Soundtrack which will be a series of songs that we created while composing for the movie.
When did you discover your passion for music?
I think for all of us it was at a really young age. I just remember visiting my mom in her hometown of New Orleans and seeing the street performers playing and I'd beg her for a dollar to give them. I just wanted to support what they were doing because I knew that would be me one day.
When you're not on tour or a film set what are you guys doing?
We always have an instrument in hand. Always jamming. In Toronto, we were in the green room waiting to go on, and we were just hanging out playing music. The lady came back to us and said "you know you can do that on stage now". I think we were late getting on stage just because we were jamming and in the zone.
What should people who have never seen you guys expect from a 100 Monkeys show?
A demented party. (laughs) Lots of high energy, jumping around, basically anything goes. Oh and on this tour we're offering anyone with a military ID get in for free. One of our band mates, Laurence Abrams is himself a veteran so we want to extend our gratitude for the people serving out country with a free rock show.
Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?
Well we generally a special hug. (laughs) and then Jackson and I often slap eachother as hard as we can on the back on the neck. (laughter) A special hug and a slap on the neck (laughter) wow, don't tell anyone about that though. . .wait. Uh yeah usually before that there is a little bit of whiskey, we always write out set list like a few minutes before our show so its always fresh, and it never gets stale
One word to describe you guys...
100 Monkeys, With Kissing Club and Climb the Bell Tower, 6:00 p.m. Saturday, July 30, at Revolution,100 SW Third Ave. Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $22.20.
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