Circuit Sweet Interview, Circuit Sweet Sessions, Feature


November 15, 2010


I have been working with AULOS for just over a year and have seen the band grow from strength to strength, change directions, members, and sets. Seen a hell of a lot gear and experienced the highs and the lows within everything and everyone to be involved with AULOS. 
It’s all been worth it and it’s all been leading up to their debut release.
I am not being biased when I say I have never seen a musician work as hard as AULOS Noise merchant Oli Montez. Regardless of our friendship and regardless of my role for AULOS this entire post needs to be counted as unbiased and just my honest thoughts. As somebody whose entire life is based around music, I truly believe in what Oli is capable of doing and being as a musician.

Circuit Sweet is talking to Oli for his own feature upon his style, his hard work, his influences and of course his release.

  •     Firstly, I want to know how did YOU come about falling into the music industry. What/who influenced you into picking up your first instrument?
My Dad. I must have been about 13/14 years old when I got hold of a nylon stringed guitar. I had absolutely nothing in common with my guitar teacher but in a school with only 80 pupils total there was no one else. He seemed to think of the electric guitar as some barbaric instrument and often told me to just knuckle down with the classical ways. 
 Before my Dad fell ill he worked for PRS (Performing rights society) as an area rep and got to go around all the clubs and studios and license them to play music. One day he comes home and takes me outside and opens the boot of his car and he had borrowed me an old 70s stratocaster from a friend in the industry. I had that thing for about 6 months before I had to return it and I just wanted to be a musician ever since.    
  •   What was that one single album or track that transformed your life?

 There are so many different songs that I could just pull out of the air from different genres and generations but as a complete work it would undoubtedly be Inventions by Maserati. I can honestly say that without that record I wouldn’t of even dreamed of making instrumental music, or had the confidence or interest to carry on with music after previous burnt out projects.

  •   Tell us of all your past musical endeavors up until the point Aulos was born.

 I started out as a guitarist but the only way into a band in school was playing bass. I think I held that duty for about 2 and a half years as part of “The Drones/Explicit Youth.” It begun as pretty much an Offspring and Nirvana cover group and developed into one EP that never got released. Tensions ran high between us all and we were too young to be at eachothers throats. I took most members and ran a band side by side so I could play guitar but again it was just punk covers. Eventually the bands merged and I finally got onto guitar in time for the studio and got into making some serious noise.

When that came to a pretty abrupt end I went onto playing some acoustic shows after not having the urge to revive either band. I finished up the last bookings as an acoustic duo with the vocalist (Jon Hughes – Aim.Fire) and then went on solo. I recorded a demo of 4 instrumental acoustic tracks in the garage of my drummer onto a 4 track and then played 3 or 4 shows supporting Tim Prince around my area. This amounted to nothing and I just decided to call it a day and concentrate on something else. 

Jive Stick- Hope and Anchor London 2009

  I sold all my pedals and my bass and spent the next few months partying and trying to figure out what I was supposed to do next. Soon after, a Drummer I used to skate with (Jake Adams – Black Apple) said his band – Downer – were on the rocks and needed some major changes or he was going to call it a day. So he persuaded the other members – Dave Pattison and Nathan Prosser – to give me a trial and see what happend. After a few weeks we started rebuilding the band under the new name “JIVE STICK.” It was a totally new experience for me as I got the opportunity to write tracks and when it came to record our first demo in the beginning of 2008 the tracks were songs I had written and I had a completely new perspective of playing in a relaxed and fun environment. throughout the 18 months I begun to take music very seriously and started my large interest in effects and amps. I was encouraged to make as much noise as possible and I begun finding a style for the first time. Our drummer left after some disagreements and we hired Harvey White (Aulos) which took us in a whole new direction. From there we wrote an entirely new 4 track EP and started doing some QOTSA covers like Avon and Mexicola. This took us on a headline tour of London which ended in my only conscious fall out with my manager ever and things just became divided. From there I managed to Jump ship with Harvey and then this whole new adventure begun!       

  •   What are your own personal influences that you bring to the band?

 I tend to bring in whatever I am listening to at the time. That tends to account for my live performance and backline setup too. I am always big on walls of sound and my effects. Band wise: Maserati, Russian Circles, Cloudkicker, TweakBird, Daughters, Enemies, Health, Native, American Football, Boris, Pelican, Toe, At the Drive in, Fall Of Troy, Tera Melos, Dub Trio, Don Cab, Fang Island, El Ten Eleven, Giraffes Giraffes …. I could go on all day! I guess these are bands that have really stuck with me and I can always go back to.

  •   What are the bands main influences?

 Times are changing but I think the roots are always going to be the same. Collectively it’s mostly instrumental/Prog and recently Electronic styles coming from me and Josh is bringing in a strong interest for Jazz/Dub and again instrumental. The only grounds we disagree on tend to be the vocalists we can tolerate!

  •  What’s your drive for the band, how should your work be best perceived?

 I don’t think I could have started this band without a few key people and a few key pushes. The amount of amazing things that have happend for us in the last year is my drive. Getting an endorsement from ENGL was a bit overwhelming. Especially when at the time they were a staple of our heavier live performances. 
 I don’t have a clue what is coming next but I am excited to find out. I am truly proud of what we achieved with this debut, it is kind of wrapping up the first chapter in what I hope to be a very long story. All I can say is play it loud! There is plenty to hear and I hope the effort of everyone involved comes across.

  •   So you were in the studio during the summer of this year, what was the overall approach to the session?

 I had a really tough time all at once during the summer. When I cleared my head and got my priorities straight I realized I absolutely had to get this record out. I always new the track listing from day one, I knew how I wanted it to sound and I knew who I wanted to record it. So I called up Jonn Marsh at Shed Studios. We had a good long talk and I got him to make us a schedule and take the role as co-producer with me. He was excellent and patient enough to float me the fees until we got the record pressed. Also working with someone you know frees up tensions for new ideas and we all learned a lot over those 4 days.

 We started out by getting organized and comfortable and got all the drum tracks done via live room performance then re-tracking everything. Then I spent a good hour setting up Josh’s bass tones to how we discussed and then let him add his personal touches and just go with it. Then we overdubbed it all 3 or 4 times and added some harmonies and effects. 

When it came to my guitar tone I had to make it massive. We went and spent one of the days at Gasworks Studio in Goodrich where I could run my amps at maximum capacity. We also re-amped a lot of the work to heavy it up. They were so loud we had to re track most of the guitars again because the 4 mic setup was crippled by my 400w cabs. The last 2 days were spent between us getting as creative as possible. in the beginning when the band first started I was adamant that everything we recorded would be recorded in a live environment but by the time we got into the studio I realized we could take this record so much further. We used 5 different guitars, hundreds of stomp boxes, Lapsteel, Cello, Drums, Synths, Keyboards, Toys, Gameboys, Circuit bent electronics, megaphones, vocals, Keytars, Feedback and everything else at our disposal.

 Jonn really helped us out and it would of been a totally different record without him. The bonus track on the record came out of him saying “Right stop lying around waiting for me to do shit, I am going to make a sandwich and when I get back you are going to have written a new track with all these toys and junk you have brought with you.” So we did a one take track and added it on which I now sample live to tie the set together.

  •   You’ve actually gained a reputation for the sheer mass of pedals/effects and amps you use and display at each gig, but talking gear, what is that one vital piece of equipment that you can’t live without?

 That is a killer question. It would be my Boss DD5 Digital delay. My now not so secret weapon.

  •    How have you developed your own technique as an individual player?

 I have never really been a musical person, I just kind of put things together that I thought sounded good. Over the last 6 months or so, especially since working with Josh I have really tried to step it up. He is a session musician in training so he has kind of become my first official guitar teacher. The use of looping and sampling and playing keyboard live have kind of given me no choice but to work a lot harder. I used to hide my playing behind masses of fuzz and distortion but I am defiantly happy to use my effects to emphasize what I do now rather than cover it up.   

  •  In terms of the EP release, what was the passion/inspiration behind each track that made the cut?

 I see our music in different stages. Wolverines I&II and Wolfcastle are the new age of our music. Etch and Nick Rage are the first tracks we ever did. I have over 3 and a half hours of recordings from Aulos since we started and numbered versions of each track but the studio was the end of the line for some of the songs. I always think of live performance as a single piece of music and the EP is the same, it is all a journey in a specific order of sonically high and low progressions.   

  •  How would you describe the EP in 5 words?

Big Tasty Layered Space Cake

  •   What is your personal favorite aulos track and why?

 I am excited for the new tracks like “Great White Buffalo” and some of the new 2 piece work because I am surprising myself with how much noise we can make. 
 On the record it would be Wolverines Part 2. Right after the first guitar harmony there is this epically heavy chugging riff. I was stood at the desk in the studio With Jonn jamming along and we decided on a heaviness scale between Dillinger Escape Plan and Deftones to put as a rundown just before the first lead break.

 I think live Wolfcastle is a favorite to play. It got a good response from the video and it often gets people moving. To have an audience knowing when your songs are going to drop and clap along is always uplifting. 

  •   How does the song writing process within the band take place?

 Usually we get together and play the set. Right after we will just flat out jam for about an hour. We will wind it down and talk about which bits were cool and save those then just keep doing it again until something is forming. It then gets perfected, structured and is then forever changing until it is immortalized in the studio. This process is how we tighten up our sound and help gel together. I have a “Silent Studio” at home so I spend most nights with my live rig in a pair of headphones. Anything I come up with gets recorded and then I will sample it for Josh to get some beats to it and sometimes we start from there. If I don’t write everything down or record it I would lose a lot of ground.  

  • What does your live set manage to capture?

 I kind of think of it as heavy without the metal. The most common reaction after our first ever show was “What the fuck was that?!” I kind of like to think it is now a more organized version of “that.” We try and put on a show and we always use different gear and do different intros. There is a kind of jam section in all of our sets so if we are feeling it we can go off on one for a bit, but we have hidden trigger riffs/fills to say “Come on, stop fucking around let’s drop this shit.”

  •   Describe your live rig as it stands at the moment.

 I am always changing up my rig, I have spent 6 years building but there are somethings that have been with me the whole time. My guitar is a 90s Gibson Studio with Bare Knuckle cold sweats for a massive low end. I have just started rocking a vintage vibe tele again as well for a bit of country twang to my cleans. I also run a MicroKorg into my pedalboard which is as follows: ABY Box, Demeter Compressor, Boss RC20 Looper, Fulltone OCD, MXR Micro Amp, Digitech Whammy!, Electro Harmonix Small Stone, Zvex 2in1, Zvex Machine, Boss DD5, Boss RV5, Electro Harmonix HOG, Electro Harmonix Frequency analyzer, Line6 FM4, Line6 DM4 – ABY Out. This is all controlled by a custom Loopmaster 14 patch true bypass looper. This runs into a Badcat 2 tone preamp then a DR Z MAZ 38r Head for my clean channel. Then a custom built Matamp GT120 Green head for my heavy. This all comes out of my 400W Matamp GREEN cab.

  • Finally what does the future hold for you and your musical outfits?

 I hope that a couple of people get into the music and get something out of it. As long as people keep listening to it, I will keep making it.

So for now, its come to this moment, this release.
You can support aulos and get your copy NOW individually numbered and hand packaged complete with a sweet badge at their bigcartel page here-

Don’t forget to become a fan on facebook to keep closer tabs on the latest news and info, gig updates. 

You can listen to the band on their myspace HERE.

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