Whether or not you believe in fate, sometimes it does seem like things happen for a reason. One of those very such things is the way Derry’s Making Monsters found vocalist Emma Gallagher, when guitarist Paul Monk popped into a local bar. It’s there that he ‘discovered’ the singer, fronting a covers band, and realised she was exactly what Making Monsters needed.
“I don’t think we even had a name at the time,” he recalls. “It was just a project that me and Brian (Doherty, drums) and an old bass player were working on. We were just rehearsing and jamming and I stumbled across Emma singing. My mind was blown when I heard her. Brian was just across the street, so I told him, ‘You have to get over here and hear this girl sing!’ She had such an incredible range. So after they finished, I pulled her aside and said ‘That was amazing. Your band wasn’t so amazing – would you like to jam?’ And here we are.”
“I haven’t heard him tell the story like that,” adds Gallagher, laughing. “That’s very nice – thanks, Paul! For me, though, I was so glad to meet musicians who were serious and wanted to do this on a long time-frame, and actually put the time in.”
That’s exactly what the four-piece, with new bassist Gary Todd in town, did. That chance encounter with Gallagher was in 2011. With the release of third EP Bad Blood, the band are finally seeing the fruits of their labour pay off. Its six scorching, despairing songs surge with an intensity that puts most bands to shame, yet despite the four-piece’s penchant for discordant, atonal noise – which is dominated by Gallagher’s impressive, imposing vocal prowess – they also manage to be melodic and sultry at the same time. That, it seems, is the result of balancing their ambitions with the desire to have fun and enjoy themselves.
“I’ve always loved playing and writing songs,” says Gallagher, “We take it seriously, but we also just enjoy this so much, and that’s really the important thing for me.”
“I feel the same,” says Monk. “I always wanted to be in a band like this. We’ve all been in previous bands, and there was a point in that previous band when I decided I wanted to do this for a living. So when Emma came along and we played our first show like three weeks later, it felt like we could actually do this. It started as a bit of craic, a bit of fun…”
“…and then everything came together,” finishes Gallagher. “It was like, ‘We could definitely stand each other for a while.’”
Indeed, some five years later, they can still stand each other. More to the point, they’ve used that time to hone their craft, shaping their music exactly how they want it. And the response has been appropriately encouraging – both in terms of the general public and the media coverage they’ve received.
“It’s really weird,” says Monk. “We were really surprised. We definitely wanted it, but we never expected it. We’ve been trying to get this kind of attention for a really long time…”
“…and then when it actually happens,” chuckles Gallagher, “it’s like ‘Oh, what?!’”
Although they’d contest otherwise – remembering the hard work they’ve put in over the past half-decade – it’s still early days for Making Monsters. But making the kind of music they do, they’re very much in a field of their own, something which will undoubtedly see their profiles rise ever more quickly and steadily.
“We kind of feel like weirdos and loners,” chuckles Monk. “Without sounding like we’re one of a kind, every time somebody asks us to describe our sound, we can’t really cut it down to one or two. So we feel like loners in the sense of ‘How do we name this? How do we describe it? How do we market it?’ We don’t know. We just want to be playing and be as big as we can possibly be – not for fame or money, but just so we can do this full-time for a living. People still describe us as a new band, and we’re still a small band – but now it finally feels right to really move forward.”
Making Monsters’ new EP Bad Blood is out now.