Moniker
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Moniker

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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"Q&A with August's Artist of the Month -- Moniker"

Deli NE: How did the band start?
Moniker: As a project, Moniker has been in the works since late 2008, when Socrates moved back to Boston after living in New York City for a while, but the current line-up is only a little over a year old. Luke and Socrates met at one of the very first Wadzilla Mansion shows in early 2010, just as the band was in the hunt for a new bassist. Peter ended up finding an ad on Craigslist looking for a fill-in drummer, and joined the band full-time soon after. At the time, Allston was re-paving the streets outside the house, and being from New York Peter really didn't have much of an idea about which areas of Boston were safe. So he's driving up this strange place with the street looking like a war zone, thinking he's going to get killed… that was last summer, and he has yet to find out whether that's bound to happen or not.

Where did the band name come from?

Well, "moniker" means name/nickame, and was initially just a placeholder until we could come up with something better. However, we started playing shows before that could happen, so we just stuck with it. So basically we're lazy and/or failed miserably in that endeavor.

What are your biggest musical influences?

Socrates: Radiohead, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Damon Albarn, and U2 (yes, you too).
Peter: The Dear Hunter, Animals As Leaders, Incubus, America (the band), Bruce Hornsby
Luke: Rush, Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, Joy Division

What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?

Soc pretty much only listens to SuperVolcano and The Shills these days. Peter is into The Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Bellows, and Luke is currently obsessed with Left Hand Does.

What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?

Soc: I'm pretty sure the first concert I attended was when I was 2 years old; my parents were good friends with this popular Mexican band called Los Bukis, so I grew up going to a lot of their arena shows in the late 80s and early 90s watching the concerts from the side of the stage. It was weird. First album I bought was the self-titled Ben Folds Five.
Peter: I saw Kathy Mattea with my parents, grandparents, and sister when I was 7... First album I bought was the Green Day epic Dookie.
Luke: First concert I ever saw was a Third Eye Blind/Eve 6 show with my Dad in the 7th grade. Sixteen Stone from Bush was my first album, and I still go back to it to this day.

What do you love about Boston's music scene?

The Boston music scene is amazing. The city is small enough to provide a close network of bands, musicians, and fans interacting constantly, but large enough to allow everyone to grow, learn from, and push one another in a positive way. It's a very special scene, and definitely shouldn't be taken for granted by any of the talented people that are part of it.

What would you like to see change in the local music scene?I believe Boston has developed an interesting brand of "accessible experimental rock" -- awesome local bands like Dirty Dishes and Grass is Green are really pushing new ground sonically and work really hard to get their stuff across to audiences; it'd be great to see more up and coming bands embrace this ethos of musicality and heartfelt creativity. But all in all there are so many amazing artists in this city, it'd just be great to see the casual fan energized by it all and continue to support everyone out there!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

We'll be putting out a new EP in November, which will contain a whole set of songs that no one has ever heard us play before. We're very excited about this because we like where our new sound is headed. Also we're looking forward to playing SXSW again, and hopefully doing a longer tour leading up to it.

What was your most memorable live show?

That would definitely have to be our show at SXSW the last day of the festival. It was in the early afternoon, the humidity was insane, and Soc broke a string halfway through the second song of the set (as usual). But after a week of touring on our way down south and another week of being constantly surrounded by music in Austin, something clicked between the three of us during that final show and we had incredible energy. It was a lot of fun, and definitely a turning point for us as a band.

Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?

Our family, friends, landlords, and the extended music community around town. Also Kurt Vonnegut's writings.? ?

Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?

Stereo delay and plenty of compression running through a clean Roland JC-120, that's the Moniker sound (for now, anyway). And our little white doggie that chills inside the kick drum during our (very) loud sets.

Why do you read The Deli?

Because local music is what really turns the wheels, and there's nothing better than being inspired and influenced by your peers. The Deli does a great job of supporting all of that, so thanks!

- Chrissy Prisco - The Deli Magazine


"Best of the week: Local music"

Boston’s likely got more unsigned indie bands per cubic inch than any city in America, but even still it’s hard to imagine why someone, somewhere hasn’t picked up a band like Moniker. Crossbreeding such marketable genres as roots rock, spacey guitar rock a la Modest Mouse and Phish-inspired down home groove rock, the band coats its varied influences over with a glossy pop sheen that helps all the sorted pieces mesh together swimmingly.

- Ryan Bray - Time Out Boston


"Moniker & Red Bellows Team Up in the Spirit of Celebaration"

Saturday night at Wadzilla Mansion was a celebration of sorts. No, there was no cake, no balloons, and to my disappointment, no pin the tail on the donkey. There was, however, an array of Disney Princesses Valentines. Oh, and there were three totally kickass bands who played in celebration of Wadzilla’s one year anniversary. Allston Pudding was much obliged to take part in such a milestone occasion.

As we entered, Chicago’s Finley Knight was already warming up the crowd with their opening set. The Valentine’s vibe was in the air, as many star-crossed lovers arrived in pairs, but the true language of love lied in the rock that awaited us from Moniker. Led by Wadzilla’s own Socrates Cruz, Moniker delivers a guitar-heavy dose of psychedelia and a sound that is quite heavy, but maintains a true melody. Tunes such as “Landslide” were a fine display of the band’s form of precision rock, journeying through waves of darkness and light all within one composition. They seemed to have the grasp and versatility of a band like The Slip with the depth and volume of Guided By Voices. Just when I thought I had them figured out, however, they played a tune called “New Leaf,” which had me reconsider my judgments. The tune had more of a lighthearted groove based on an infectious Keith Richards-esque guitar riff. The diversity of their sound took the set to another level and spoke volumes about Cruz as an artist and as a key creative behind Wadzilla Mansion.

Following Moniker, the stage was blessed with the progressive essence of Red Bellows. Red Bellows had a different set up than what I would have expected from their sound. They achieve a Zeppelin vibe, but one of their lead instruments is keys, and lead singer Marc Pellegrino finds creative ways to inject them into songs while staying true to the hard rock spirit. Bassist Jim Haney did unfathomable things with his instrument, utilizing pedals and reaching high up on the neck to take the lead at times, but stepping back and maintaining a solid low end for most of the set. Songs such as “L.S. Blues” saw the band lock up in a heavy groove, but loosen up for guitarist Sean McDermott to let his spiderfingers make his axe sing. Red Bellows was strikingly different than most performers I have seen grace the stage in Boston, which is why it is so exciting that they are taking their talents on a trip down to Austin.

Next month, Red Bellows and Moniker will hit the ol’ dusty trail for a tour that will lead them to a performance at SXSW. This is big news, and Boston should feel confident sending two of their finest to represent the 617 down in Austin. AP wishes them the best of luck on their tour, and we will be anxiously awaiting their return. And from the depths of our great big hearts, we wish Wadzilla Mansion a happy first birthday. May we continue to rock in your hood for many moons.

-Perry Eaton - Allston Pudding


Discography

Ansible (2012), Work in Prague (2012), Babel Racket (2011), Kid Kelly EP (2009)

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Bio

Moniker is a progressive psychedelic rock band based out of Boston, MA. Their sound has been described as "ethereal sonic story-telling; with U2 textures, Radiohead rhythms, Pink Floyd psychedelia, and a necessary dose of irony." The band is distinguished by a guitar-heavy dose of psychedelia and a sound that is quite heavy, but maintains a true melody.

According to TIME OUT Magazine: “Boston’s likely got more unsigned indie bands per cubic inch than any city in America, but even still it’s hard to imagine why someone, somewhere hasn’t picked up a band like Moniker.”

The group has released four EPs: Kid Kelly (July 2009), Babel Racket (March 2011), Work in Prague (January 2012), and most recently, Ansible (November 2012).

Moniker won The Deli Magazine’s New England Artist of the Month poll for the month of August 2011, and was nominated for New England Emerging Artist of the Year in the same publication.

The band has performed at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX in the past, and will be launching a California/West Coast Tour in early 2013.