Salems Lott's Monroe and Jett Talk About Stage Presents, EP Debut, and Future Acitivty

Shock metallers Salems Lott have been causing chaos since their formation not that long ago. Since then though they have written and recorded their debut EP named after themselves as well as playing some showcases causing quite the stir-up. So much more is coming from these guys there is no telling as to what will happen next! Frontman vocalist and guitarist Monroe Black and lead guitarist/vocals Jett discusses their EP, shows, and mischief.

1. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Monroe: We all come from musical backgrounds more or less. Jett and I both studied classical guitar and composition; we both played in other bands and did the studio musician thing.  Kay is a Musician’s Institute graduate and has done the studio musician thing too, and has played with some big names. Tony has played with a multitude of bands and has honed his skills in the underground.  Long story short, we all found each other and clicked.  Everyone felt the same way about many things and had an unrelenting desire to burn down everything and everyone in our path. In a good way of course.

2. Did the idea for Salems Lott come from the city itself Salems Lot? Or was your band's name based off of something totally different or not even in relation to anything whatsoever?

Monroe: No.  Jett and I are huge history buffs so we were talking about the Salem Witch trials.  One thing led to another and Jett said “Salems Lott” would be a cool band name.  “Lot” meaning a group of individuals.  The name had a nice ring to it.  Keep in mind this was before we ever heard of the Stephen King novel.  You have to remember that book/movie was way before our time/generation, so we never knew it existed until later.  Regardless we threw on the extra “T” for good measure.

3. In the band's name the "O" uses a combination of the sun and the moon, what does this represent for the band and what do you think it symbolizes?

Monroe: It’s actually a half moon. Half dark, half light.  It symbolizes the coming of something new; something indescribable filled with uncertainty yet something powerful.  You never know what you’ll find in the dark.

4. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Monroe: Too many to list.  Everyone in this band has a large musical vocabulary and we don’t limit ourselves to just metal.

5. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Monroe: We just write about what effects us or how we view the world.  In short, our experiences are what help define us. This goes for our music as well.  We’re not interested in sending a message, we’re not preachers.  We’re more interested in invoking an emotional response so that maybe you the listener can understand how we feel and perhaps relate to it.

Jett: There’s a lot of built up rage and angst that naturally is expressed in our music/song writing.  We write about many things that we witness or experience that evoke a strong emotional response whether it is happiness or anger. We’re not sending any kind of preachy message; we like to leave it up to the audience to decide what the songs are about. Just like a novel, it’s nice to have your own imagination take flight rather than have the author blandly tell you what is what.

6. You have released a new single "No Choice To Love." Why did this end up being your first choice for a single?

Monroe: It just had all the right elements for a single.  It’s heavy/ballsy yet has a strong hook and melody to capture you.  It’s a pretty honest representation of what the band is about.

7. You then took that single and accompanied it with a video, where did the concept for that come about?

Monroe: The video concept was pretty simple.  We just wanted to introduce the band to the world. No side story BS, just a raw in your face, straightforward performance, accompanied with blue fire of course.

8. How many more singles and or videos will we be seeing off your "Self-Titled" EP?

Monroe: The future is uncertain, but I will say something is coming.

9. With your new EP you decided to go Self-Titled. Do you feel that's a big statement? Band's tend to name their EP or albums self-titled, when they feel it's indicative of the sound they've been trying to craft. Do you feel this is the sound you've been trying to achieve with the band?

Monroe: Everything we do has a purpose and more or less a meaning behind it.  We went the self-titled route as we are practically introducing ourselves to the world.  As for the sound, allot of these songs were written a long time ago.  They are all unique to themselves and every one of them has their own character. But they were just the tip of the iceberg of the sheer explosiveness of what’s to come if we’re given the opportunity.

Jett: The EP is a strong representation of what this band is about but at the same time it’s barely a taste of what we have in store. All the songs on the EP showcase a wide variety of our influences packed into a focused kick in the nuts. You either get it or you don’t, but you will get it eventually.

10. It's been a few months since the release of this EP, so do you have anything new in the works?

Monroe: We are always working on new material and like I said the EP barely scratched the surface. The new stuff will tear your head off; your ancestors will feel it.

11. Red Moon Records is where your band calls home, how did you come together? Are you pleased with what they have been doing for you thus far?

Monroe: Of course I’m pleased, it’s our label and we started it.  When we say this band is DIY we really mean it.  There is ZERO outside help.  From directing, production, booking etc.  I have single hand-idly become a professional in a multitude of fields.

Jett: ^Truth. Everything you see or hear is 100% done by this band.

12. You guys have been known to get banned after your performances, how come, what do you do so wrong to have this happen?

Monroe:  Let’s just say some places have a real sore stick up their ass.  I don’t think it’s so much about what we do but a discrimination and fear of what they think we represent.  Human beings have always feared the unknown and will continue to do so; it’s our nature. Regardless, we are not the type of band to stand around and stare at our shoes, while head banging appropriately and giving sarcastic uncomfortable remarks over the microphone.  We go off.  Sometimes more than we should but shit happens. You got four pissed off guys venting out their frustration on stage as opposed to committing a crime.  It’s great therapy.

Jett: We live in such a hypersensitive, self-censoring and politically correct time. The smallest things cause the biggest offense; it’s literally incredible to watch unfold. It’s just rock n roll, people need to loosen up a bit, have a little fun, and take a chance once in a while. We hit the stage, play our music and give people a show. It is called live ENTERTAINMENT after all. Some people just tend to make a big deal out of everything because they love the drama, they love to have something to hate and blame.

13. You were banned from the Viper Room in Hollywood, California for a second time, what did you do the first time and this time to get banned?

Monroe: I don’t want to get into too much detail but for the first time they freaked out once they saw us (I don’t know why) and the second time was all over the media I suppose.

Jett: I’ll just say that I think you’d be surprised how much discrimination there is against visual bands in this city. Sometimes, you don’t even have to play to get banned.

14. How many other times were you banned and from what places? 

Monroe:  I think it’s up to three places now.  I remember one of those venues confiscating our balloons before we even went on.  Fucking balloons, when the band before us exploded confetti everywhere, they come take our balloons and cut our set time even when we were the last band on. Not to mention them fucking with our sound.

Jett: This is actually a very complicated and frustrating issue. We don’t walk into venues planning to get banned; some (not all) venues like to promote this whole ‘Hollywood rock n roll’ image but in truth they are the biggest posers and chickenshits (pun intended) I’ve ever encountered. They’ve adjusted to seeing bands go up on stage in t-shirts and jeans, play their background music 30 minute set and then have them load out their equipment outside like disposable trash immediately after.  When a band comes on stage and commands attention, attempts to entertain, and does something even remotely outside the norm then apparently all hell breaks loose. We go on stage and we do our thing. Why should our fans get any less? Nothing against any of the staff at the venues, they’ve all been extremely helpful, professional and cool. And I’m not venting against the venues or the staff since most are class acts and awesome.  But management or owners or whoever completely overreacts, shuts down a whole night and screws over a whole event (and never has the balls to come speak to us face to face) need to seriously grow a pair and stop trying to lay the blame on us.
Man, what would these guys do if a young Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Lizzy Borden or GG Allin stepped on their stage now?

15. Your live shows tend to hit the violent mark, having shows including self-mutilation, chainsaw execution, pyro, smoke bombs, and a Cow's tongue in which ead singer/guitarist Monroe Black began to put in his mouth then chop up with a machete, then tossed the remains into the crowd. Why go that extra length with your performances?

Monroe:  Why not?  We have the songs and the instrumental prowess to back it up and yes, the songs/music is our number one priority, but we also like incorporating “theatre” into our performances.  To us you are on a stage, so use every aspect of the stage.  If you’re about the “music” then stand behind a closed curtain and play.  We don’t need to see you as it’s about the “music” right? Or I can stay home and listen to your live record. I’m not saying every band should do what we do, but many bands lack any character and charisma.  They’re stale in their performance and it shows in their music as well.  In an industry where there is way too many bands and “musicians” out there, we don’t mind being the dark horse of the group.  We’re not interested in fitting in at all.

Jett: Simple answer. Because nobody else is doing it. Nobody wants to go the extra length. They’re too afraid of being ridiculed, bashed or given a hard time at the venue.  Even the bands that have some visuals are very minimal and almost apologetic about it. To me it comes off as held back and tame, like they are slightly ashamed. We don’t give a shit. Our music always comes first (I shouldn’t even have to say it but lots of people like to claim otherwise on our behalf?), but we’re going to have the biggest fucking hair, the most explosive songs and the craziest fucking show because that’s what WE want to do and luckily that’s what many people want to see. People are bored of the same, they want more and so do we. I have zero interest in playing it safe.

16. What has been the most and the least violent stage performances that your band has partaken in performing?

Monroe:  I can’t give details on the most violent show, but we did manage to single-handedly shut down the club and the incident turned into a ridiculous debacle.  As for least “violent”, allot of our shows are strictly about the performance.  We still go off, just without the props and “theatrics”.

Jett: You’ll have to come see us to find out. The most violent performances are yet to come.

17. What other violent acts of performances do you have in-store or in mind of doing?

Monroe: We have a lot in mind, and depending on the show/venue we’ll decide whether to do it or not.  At the same time we are not reliant on the “theatrics” as it’s simply just the icing on the cake. Our performances and songs speak for themselves.

18. Where did the whole idea of using a violent stunt and incorporate it into your stage show come from exactly?

Monroe:  Like I said previously, it’s a great way to get rid of pent-up anger and frustration that builds over time, without going to jail hopefully ha ha.  Also, after seeing a lot of bands and watching audience reaction, let’s just say allot of people are bored and don’t really care.  When you’re on stage and people are talking over your music or fluffing their hair at the bar that is unacceptable.  We command attention and demand you know our name, whether you hate us or love us.

Jett: Everything this band is about is “More”. More is more and less is less. People always tell me “you guys shouldn’t do that stuff, people aren’t going to respect you, it’s too much”. I say Fuck people’s respect. Too much ain’t enough. This is rock n roll, I don’t want your respect I want your attention. We’re doing these violent acts because that’s how we feel. These aren’t props to us, it’s not an act; it’s an extension of our music, our emotions, and our expression.

19. How do you promote your band and shows?

Monroe:  Every way possible.  Social Media, flyers on the streets, online etc.

Jett: We promote the shit out of our shows. Every show to us is important.

20. How have the gigs you guys been doing been going?

Monroe:  The fans love it and we’re converting people everyday.  That’s all that matters.

21. Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there?

Monroe: Why you should be there?  Simple, you literally will never know what will happen next.

Jett: ^Ditto. Sometimes I don’t even know what’s going to happen next. I look down and see pyro or smoke bombs in my hands and I’m like cool how the hell did this get here.

22. What are the biggest and smallest obstacles for bands?

Monroe:  I think the smallest obstacle would be writing your songs and jamming. That’s stress free fun.  If that’s an obstacle then get the fuck out.  The biggest is getting your music to the masses.  Like I said, there are soooooo many bands and a strong sense of nepotism in this industry that if you don’t come from money, or have connections it will be very difficult, but it’s still possible, you just have to have an iron clad resolve and know this is what you want to do.

23. How does music affect you and the world around you?

Monroe: It keeps me sane and takes me away from the ugly world we live in and some of the detestable people I have to deal with.

24. What advice would you give to fellow bands?

Monroe: I would love some advice myself ha ha.  I guess just remember why you got into this and stick to your guns.  There is no such thing as originality, so don’t bother trying to seek it out.  Just expand on the qualities that make you, you.  Your character and influences will come out naturally.  It’s the Wild West out there, so anything goes.  The bandwagon jumpers will perish once the wheel breaks.

Jett: Do what you really want to do. Don’t listen to other people’s fear mongering that they claim is advice. People will rarely tell you to do more, they’ve always got some kind of warning which is basically them trying to subconsciously hold you back. Nobody playing it safe ever did anything important. But there’s also amazing people who will push you for more. Those are the people you should surround yourself with. Stay strong and focus on your goals.

25. What inspires you to do what you do?

Monroe: To see peoples reactions.  Nothing can beat it.  Whether they love it, are pissed off or scared etc. We feed off of that.

26. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Monroe: We have a lot of things in store.  We’re about to blow the roof off this flaccid music “scene”.

27. Any final words for the fans out there?

Monroe: Your unyielding support, devotion and belief in this band is beyond humbling.  It’s what makes the fire that’s Salems Lott burn brighter. You’re more than a stupid army, you’re the blood running through our veins till death.

Jett: Thanks to our fans who get it and stand behind us no matter what.

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