Hello Monster
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Hello Monster

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Hello Monster – exclusive Photo Session and Interview"

Aaron Blumenshine took some great photos of Hello Monster and had a nice sit down interview as well. You can view the photos by scrolling to the bottom of the interview.

IRR: What were the reasons behind the name “Hello Monster”?

HM: It was a process of elimination more than anything. We’d kicked around ideas like “Press Play” or any kind of reference to “Big Trouble in Little China” but then we realized that we’d probably be sued if we used one of those. So we settled on Hello Monster, and agreed that we’d never, under any circumstances, allow any buggy-eyed kittens or rainbows to be used in our artwork.

IRR: What are your plans for “Hello Monster”?

HM: Aside from global domination? Basically, we want to rock as much as possible for as long as possible. We just wrapped up recording our EP “As for Tonight” at the end of ’09, and looking ahead to hopefully doing some touring and expanding our playing even further around the Bay Area.

IRR: Have you ever feel that your fan base has hit a plateau or have you noticed a steady increase throughout the years?

HM: At the moment, things seem to be consistently on the rise. It seems like every show we play, we see a pretty solid bump in our Facebook fans, and our mailing list keeps on growing. We’ve been lucky to play shows with great local bands like Audiodub, Fighting the Villain, and Benvenue, and all of their fans have been really receptive to what we’re doing. Hopefully that trend will continue.

IRR: I know being an artist is difficult, how do you deal with the difficulty and cultural bias towards artists?

HM: Being based in San Francisco, people tend to be a little more forgiving when it comes to artists, and to weirdos in general. Still, people do seem to forget the amount of business that goes on behind the scenes. We’re no exception: Bob is a scientist who has been working and recording in bands in the Bay Area for years, Paul does amazing graphics works and has designed most of our early logos, Sid was a business major at Cal, and Bill works in online marketing.

IRR: How do you stay creative and how do you approach writing a song?

HM: We’re lucky to have three talented songwriters in the band who work well together and a drummer who can pull it all together. As far as staying creative is concerned, each member has their own set of musical influence and tastes in what they like to listen to, and that obviously has a bearing on what you write. You know how musicians are; there’s hardly a moment that we aren’t listening to some sort of music, and that comes out in our creative efforts. Most of the time, when we work on new songs, someone brings in an almost finished idea, and as a band we make small tweaks and changes, though we’ve also had good success a few times with writing songs as a band.

IRR: Who were the original band members, and how did it all begin?

HM: The whole thing started when Paul moved to San Francisco from Iowa. Within a week of moving here, he’d met a guitarist named Rowan and they started playing together. After a few acoustic practices, they realized they’d need a rehearsal space, and they responded to a Craigslist ad for a space in South San Francisco. Upon checking out the studio, they met Bobby, who held the lease on the studio. They needed a drummer, and asked him to fill in while they were looking for someone permanent. Next in the equation was a girl named Jamie who played bass; she seemed like a perfect fit: a cute girl who was a solid bassist, but she lived in Santa Cruz and could only practice every other week. Sid came in next, having responded to a Craigslist ad – he literally arrived at the studio directly from moving up from LA, where he had been attending GIT. He showed up in a busted up car that was packed to the roof with most all of his worldly possessions. Shortly thereafter, Rowan left and we added a bassist, Eugenio. Paul and Bobby’s roommate Eric was added to round out the sound on keyboard and second guitar. That membership held for a while, and word started to spread a bit. After a while, Eugenio left the band and Bill came in to help out for the few shows as a favor to Bobby, since they’d played in bands together for a few years. The shows went so well that Bill decided to offer his bass playing services full time. That was back around October of 2008. Eric eventually left, mainly to due to scheduling conflicts and his desire to pursue more music of his own, and it’s been the four of us ever since. It took a while, and a bit of a revolving door of membership, but we’ve settled in on something that seems to really work well for us now.

IRR: What do you think of the music industry in current times?

HM: It’s kind of a double-edged sword. With advances in recording and free web space, any band can really get going without any money. If you own a copy of GarageBand and can set up a Myspace or Facebook page, you can have a band with an online presence. It’s great because that means that almost anyone can be discovered, and it is incredibly easy to get your music out to the masses, however it also floods the market with music. While a lot more bands are being discovered and catching on, it seems like it is getting harder and harder to stay relevant for long periods of time. It used to be that major bands had to be signed on major labels, and you’d wait and wait for the next album to come out. Nowadays, people get up in arms if bands haven’t updated their Twitter account in a few hours; everything is so instantaneous.

IRR: What are some of your favorite bands?

HM: Like we talked about with the songwriting: we have a really varied array of tastes within the band, so we have to address the question more on an individual basis. Bob, despite his heavy metal upbringing, listens to tons of punk; his latest find has been Screaming Females, but between you and us, his guilty pleasure is old school gangsta rap. Bill is a huge indie music dork, especially when there is a female vocalist involved, that’s why he’s into bands like Headlights and The Anniversary. Paul tends a little more towards the pop end of things; he’s into early Taking Back Sunday and his latest find is Deas Vail. Sid’s tastes tend towards the more straight-ahead pop, with bands like Say Anything and Speechwriters LLC.

IRR: What are the major influences for “Hello Monster”?

HM: Needless to say with such a wide range of bands that we listen to, it’s going to be a little tough to pin down a specific few artists. As a whole, we tend to be drawn towards bands that play fun, up-tempo music. If we had to rattle off a laundry list, it would include Motion City Soundtrack, We Are Scientists, Incubus, Paramore, and The Airborne Toxic Event.

IRR: Do you have a favorite venue?

HM: Yes; any venue that will book us. But seriously, we just played Bottom of the Hill last month, which was pretty amazing. It’s a great mid-sized venue, and one of the few places in San Francisco that you can figure that on most nights, you’re going to like whoever is playing there. The room also just sounds great, whether you are in the crowd or on stage.

IRR: Do you have any funny stories about the band?

HM: Oh man, where to begin? There was time that Paul had to break into Sid’s apartment through a second-story window with only a five-foot ladder and a lot of brute strength from Sid. One time we showed up to a recording studio at 11 in the morning with fixings for Bloody Marys and two dozen beers, and got through most of them by the end of the day; the next day we found out it was a dry studio! Speaking of studios, when we recorded at PopSmear studios in San Rafael, the studio is tucked away in a garage in a nice quiet suburban neighborhood, and Scott, the owner, had to remind Paul from time to time that singing outside to warm up his voice wasn’t the best way to endear Scott to his neighbors. We’ve played shows to seven people and a video camera, Bob unleashed a profanity-laced tirade after a set that just happened to be live on college radio, and we have an open challenge to play Rock Band against any band we play with.

IRR: Who is your favorite super hero?

HM: Bill is all about Batman. Paul tends to be a Spawn kind of a guy. Bobby is more about the obscure Space Beaver. Sid decided we needed to stretch the rules so he could include Han Solo. He’s pretty super, right?

IRR: What is your favorite city?

HM: We all live in San Francisco. We put up with the out of control rent and all the other the craziness for a reason.
- Indie Rock Reviews

"52 Bands in 52 Weeks"

San Francisco based Hello Monster opened a fabulous show this past Saturday at X Sports Bar + Music Lounge at Homestead Lanes. This indie pop band worked with Scott Llamas of PopSmear Records on their first EP As For Tonight, which shines through in their well-composed songs full of power chords, strong vocals, and meaningful lyrics.

I asked the guys about the band name and they told me that it was a process of elimination more than anything. They kicked around ideas like "Press Play" or any kind of reference to the movie "Big Trouble in Little China," but then they realized that they would probably be sued using one of those. After that they settled on Hello Monster, and agreed that they would never, under any circumstances, allow any buggy-eyed kittens or rainbows to be used in their artwork. Quite amusing considering the cutesy Sesame Street graphic they sent me for flyers! :-)

At the show, I planned on picking up their set lists so I could give my readers a better feel of their whole set and songs, but since I didn't, I will have to resort to my failing memory’s recollection...

"A Perfect Nine" was my favorite song of the set, though "The Sound of Light" was a close second. Both are nice flowing songs with catchy lyrics and smooth progressions from verses to chorus. The very upbeat "This Is Still My Life" seems like it’s most influenced by pop punk bands like Green Day and All-American Rejects with its riffs and chord progressions, though the rest of the instrumentation gives it a much more melodic indie twist, something in the lines of Incubus.

Hello Monster is absolutely fun to watch -- there’s definitely a cohesive feel within the band as they groove together with big smiles on their faces. One can’t help but to sway in unison with grins to match those on stage, as they deliver their powerful and energetic set.

Having recently lost their original drummer Bobby, the trio (comprised of Paul, Sid, and Bill) is now working on finding a replacement, so if you know any drummers out there looking for a solid band, let them know to audition! Plus don't forget to follow them on Twitter!

The band was nice enough to answer our questionnaire -- their favorite albums sure got me to chuckle!

Q: Who would you want to collaborate with musically and why?
A: Tom Waits because he has such a completely unique take on music; David Bowie, since he's pretty much the greatest musician living today; and Kanye, because let's be real - everything that guy touches turns to gold.

Q: If you had to choose one band/artist (dead or alive) to tour with, who would you choose?
A: Ozzy Osbourne (back when he bit the heads off of bats), The Beatles, and We Are Scientists. All on the same bill with us. We'd probably have to open, I guess.

Q: From your life experiences (job, love, upbringing, travel, books, art, etc.), what do you draw from the most for your musical creativity; what has influenced you the most?
A: Girls. Friends, life in general, beat literature. Girls. Relationships. Girls. Though now we're thinking of writing a new song about what it is everyone else writes songs about. And girls.

Q: What is each band member's favorite album of all time?
Paul: ECW Anarchy Rocks
Sid: Now! Volume 2
Bill: Disney's Chilling, Thrilling, Sounds of the Haunted House

Q: Who is your favorite local or unsigned band/artist?
A: Hands down it's got to be I, the Mighty. We're big fans and think they're really the biggest local band to watch over the next year or two.

As you can tell, these three fellas are pretty witty and fun to hang out with, so you know you want to go to their upcoming shows!!

-Barbara- - BarbRocks


As for Tonight [EP] - 2009



Hello Monster is comprised of four like-minded San Francisco musicians who have come together to crank out melodic pop music with an indie edge. After two years of playing shows all over California, they released their first EP "As For Tonight" a collection of four songs produced by Scott Llamas of PopSmear Records. Combining their varied musical backgrounds, these four journeyman musicians have joined forces to create the band you hear today.

Over the past four years, the band has played all over the San Francisco Bay Area, from small neighborhood bars to larger venues in the city. They have made a name for themselves among promoters and fans alike for their energetic live shows, witty stage banter, and top flight musicianship. Fans have called singer Paul Gimenez "the consummate frontman" thanks to his high energy stage presence and standout vocals, which are always augmented by Bill Bergstrom's boozy grin and rumbling basslines. Sid Slater has become a crowd favorite for his sheer excitement while onstage; he may not say much, but his guitar playing skills always manage to turn heads from musicians and non-musicians alike. AJ Apone is often the most shirtless member of the band, and his rock-solid drumming has helped catapult Hello Monster to newfound success.

They are continuing to build on their success in the greater Bay Area, where they have recently played shows at Bottom of the Hill, the Red Devil Lounge, and the historic Kimo's Lounge. Keep up with the band on Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter.