By Travis Persaud&affiliateIt has been over three years since Moneen released The Red Tree and nearly 18 months since they began penning its follow-up. In that time the Brampton, ON, foursome toured endlessly, contemplated the future of the band, added a new drummer and received a Juno nomination. On September 15, Moneen finally released their fourth full-length album, The World I Want To Leave Behind. Exclaim! sat down with lead singer Kenny Bridges before their CD release show at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, to talk about the new album, the band's longevity and Taylor Swift.
Whenever a band releases a new album they always say it's their best one yet, so why is The World I Want To Leave Behind Moneen's best album to date? If you back track to our very first EP, Smaller Chairs for the Early 1900's - even from that EP to our first full-length there was definite progression. I don't think our first full length was the record people thought we were going to put out. Smaller Chairs was a pretty rockin' record. I think a lot of people, when they got our first record, where like, "Wow, OK. This band isn't going to just stick to one thing." Because that first record was a really ambitious record. So I think that equally, as far as progressing, this new record from the last is the same. We have had our sights set on something we've always wanted, but maybe up until this point we hadn't really known how to get there. I think there's a whole ambient, spacey, quiet side to Moneen that we've dipped in to but never truly embraced. So as intense as this record is at times - way more intense than we've ever been - it's equally as quiet and beautiful at the same time. I think as far as our favourite albums go, and the diversity of our favourite albums, we tried to capture that with our own interests and influences. We'd be jamming in our basement making weird noises, and there are parts of that in our songs. And I've also done really simple, stripped-down songwriting, and there've been hints of that in Moneen songs. But I think this is the first record where we tried to bring those two worlds together. We wanted some songs to just be an acoustic song and still work, and not rely on all the weird sounds. I think everything has a time and place. Musically, this is something we're really, really proud of as band.
The wide range is definitely noticeable on the album. There are songs like "The Long Count" that's heavier than anything Moneen has done before, but then there are songs such as "Waterfalls" that are on the other end of the spectrum. That's the thing. Anyone who knows our band knows that you have to be ready for a little bit of a rollercoaster ride. We're never going to be straight-up one thing. But I don't think we're ADD as far as, "This band doesn't know who they are, or they're having an identity crisis." I don't feel that way at all. I'll be honest, I got into a lot of music that was full of riffs. I've been listening to a lot of of Meshuggah and just love heavy riffs. We've never had riffs before - but I think we definitely have some riffs on this record.
Lyrically, Are We Really Happy was a very personal record for you, but The Red Tree was more focused on the world at large. Where does this album land? It's more following where The Red Tree left off, looking at the outside world but in a different way. Red Tree was more about how we felt the world was. This record is more about how feel about how we fit into the world around us. I knew by choosing the album title it could be taken two ways. If you take it the wrong way it can sound really dark and depressing - The World I Want To Leave Behind - but it has nothing to do with a jumper or anything. The way I look at it is that we all have a legacy - when we leave this earth, however that happens, how do we want to be remembered? It's a simple as that. That's really what this record is about. We have all gotten older. Our lives have changed immensely over the last ten years. Now, looking back at everything and how the world has changed as well - how do we fit into it all? How do our daily decisions affect our simple lives in this huge complex world? It could be as simple as a boyfriend and girlfriend, 16 years old. They're young and barely know what love is, and then they break up. To them, that seems like the most catastrophic thing that could happen. But to their neighbour, who gives a shit? It doesn't freakin' matter. But at the same time, everything that makes tiny ripples also makes huge waves. This record is really about looking at how our lives fit into this crazy fucked up world.