Part blues. Part Rock Ballad. Part bass laden dubstep. Yes, MONSTA has a unique sound with their gigantic single, “Messiah”. And it’s one that we’re particularly fond of. After hearing “Messiah” over and over again, we knew that we had to get to know this group better. What does their creative process look like? How do they craft their lyrics? Who are their musical influences?

Luckily we got a chance to have a virtual chat with Rufio of MONSTA, and he answered every question we wanted to know. Check out what he had to say.

TMN: Thanks for answering a couple of questions for us guys! Let’s start off first by asking what your creative process looks like when you’re writing a tune. Does one person excel at a certain aspect? Do you all collaborate on everything together?

MONSTA: You’re welcome! We always write everything together, even though the writing process is a little different for each track. There will always be a point where we are around the piano and just hearing the melodies and harmony together…we always feel that if a song works like that then that is best foundation. There are other times when we might have prepared a track or parts of an instrumental and then Skaar starts singing over it and we all take it from there … but either way we write together because that’s the whole point for us of being in a band and its the most exciting and joyful part.

TMN: Let’s take two steps back now, how did you guys come to meet?

MONSTA: Rocky and I (Rufio) met at Jazz Conservatoire and started playing a lot of gigs and tours together…one thing led to another and we started producing. One day someone played some demos of a singer and we were floored, but we had no idea who they were, where they were from, how old they were and what they did. It transpired that it was Skaar and he was in London, so after a bit of a hunt we got in touch and he came down to the studio. It was all very quiet at first and then we played a couple of tracks and he suddenly started singing and the sound and the melodies were so incredible we knew that we had to work together someway somehow.

TMN: Name the one artist that influenced you the most as an aspiring musician.

MONSTA: It would be different for all of us I guess but collectively some of key artists would be: Otis Reading, Herbie Hancock, Michael McDonald, Sam Cooke, Oscar Peterson, Jeff Porcaro, Nina Simone.

TMN: Back to the present, most of your tracks go crazy on charts like the hype machine. Do you pay attention to things like that when you release a tune?

MONSTA: It’s unbelievable when those things do happen and obviously its great that people are into it and its amazing to see it spreading, however we don’t live and die by it personally…it’s great when it does but if it doesn’t we aren’t put out.

TMN: Do you have any massive collabos in the works right now, if not who are you trying to work with in the near future?

MONSTA: There’s a few people we have started some tracks with, people we massively respect…but nothing is finished just yet. We are always up for collaborating but only if its with someone who we feel we can make something amazing and new with, they have to push us and hopefully we push them, we would never do a collaboration track for someones popularity alone, we would rather collaborate with someone like Chaka Khan then a new star purely because they are having massive success right now.

TMN: Let’s chat about Messiah. The track itself features inspiring lyrics, soulful piano, and gritty basslines. How did the process begin with this track in particular? Did the lyrics come first, or were they stem from the music?

MONSTA: We started with the piano riff and then we layered up some textures and sounds leading towards the chorus. This was the catalyst for the melodies and lyrics in this particular instance…”Higher” felt like the right image on the top of the chorus for us and then the melodies in verses just came about when we were playing it all together … it was cool cos it all came fairly easily and in an organic manor.

TMN: Who came up with the vision for the music video? Talk to us about the location, the crew, and what that experience was like for you.

MONSTA: The experience was amazing for us…we’ve all been so affected by music from the American South and so to get the chance to go to Savannah, Georgia (where we shot the video) felt very humbling. We always had these visual references for the track and one day Alabama (the directing team) got in touch with us and presented a remarkably similar vision. they also saw a more supernatural element to the song which was exactly what we had pictured when we wrote the lyrics so it felt like the most amazing fit. The locations (even when derelict), were stunning and the people we met from the South were amazingly kind, charming and open. Although there was one guy who spent 3 days telling us he had a disembodied ghost cat that floated around is apartment …that concept should probably be our next video really.

TMN: What’s one artist you would be embarrassed to admit you listen too?

MONSTA: If you like an artist you shouldn’t really be embarrassed by liking them, sometimes a song comes along that you love by an artist you don’t particularly think much of i guess. People always seem to think Toto is a guilty pleasure-but we don’t see why there would be any guilt involved?

The Messiah EP is out now in itunes. Pick up your copy today!

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