by Music Insider Magazine

With only a little more than three years after their formation, the Monks of Mellonwah have set the stage for what’s to come for this Australian band.

Initially formed as a response to a music competition at their high school, drummer Josh Baissari says, “We had all been playing some form of music at the time but had no idea how much fun it would be to play in a band. When we played for the first time, we just kind of clicked. From then on, we started writing our own music and performed on a regular basis. Apart from change in lineup, we have been together the whole time. Aside from that, we are all great mates…”

Photo by Billy Pasco Photography

Photo by Billy Pasco Photography

Recently winning the ‘Best International Rock Artist’ award at the LA Music Awards in Los Angeles, we asked the band how their new-found international fame has affected them as a band. “It blows our minds that we can write music and have the chance to potentially change someone’s perspective, mood, and hopefully (their) life for the better because of music, and that is something we want to be a part of.”

With their recent success in the States, and all the attention the band is getting on their US tour, we asked Josh if the band would ever contemplate uplifting their roots and head to America. “We love it here, and if the opportunity presented itself, we’d seriously consider it.”

With all members contributing to the writing of the songs, Josh says, “Essentially, we all write the music, (which) usually starts with a riff from one of the guitarists, then we jam it and get a structure down”, and this is the key to how they write. “We find inspiration in life, and all that life brings us as individuals and as a group. We write mostly about our experiences, feelings, thoughts or whatever comes to us. Feelings are a huge thing, if you’re happy, sad, tense, relaxed or whatever, the music and lyrics that you write will reflect that. We are all pretty spiritual guys, and this is definitely reflected in what we write and how we write it. It also means we are united and share in the joy of the creative journey together and in the end result, our music. We are writing lot of songs, and are hoping to release our debut album in early 2013. We have some great tunes happening, like “Ghost Stories” and “Mixed Massive,” and I can’t wait to get into the studio to put the album together.”

When we asked Josh, “If you could change your style to be reflective of any other musician or band, who would he choose?” Josh said, “PSY… maybe.” “PSY” (of ‘Gangnam Style’ fame, in case you’ve been living under a rock lately) has catchy songs and dance moves; it is definitely an inspiration (joking). “(I’m) pretty sure we’d stick to the style we’ve come up with while playing together, just because it’s a mix of all the styles we each enjoy, so it gives our listeners some insight into what we’ve been listening to and/or what’s been influencing us.”

What it’s like being in a band with the siblings, Josh? “We argue from time to time, but the best part about it is that the music is always what comes first. Except for Vikram and John… They need to be in separate rooms and cars, they’re like children. Most, if not all the arguments we have are music related, and music is always what resolves it.”

Asked to compare their hometown of Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia, to the Los Angeles music scene, Josh replies, “L.A. has more renowned music venues, like The Whisky-A-Go-Go, and The House of Blues. Having such internationally recognized bands play at these places sets L.A. apart from Sydney. L.A. is a hub for world music, and this sets it apart from most places.”

With all the attention and opportunities coming their way, the Monks of Mellonwah have a lot to look forward to in the coming New Year. They’re in a really nice position at this stage of the game – the ‘cat-bird seat’. They have what it takes to write good music and be successful in the industry, and it’s really up to them regarding how far they will go. If they keep writing engaging and interesting music, they will continue to be successful and the sky is the limit. They’ve managed to create quite the buzz in a very short time, and if they can manage to keep up the momentum with their upcoming debut album due out sometime next year, they’ll be well on their way to continued success and international acclaim. Right now, they’re having fun with what they’re doing, and that is as it should be at this point in their careers. If they’re not having fun, they’re doing it wrong. Let that be their guide.