EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: EDGE OF PARADISE'S MARGARITA MONET DISCUSSES THEIR NEW ALBUM AND TOURING THE GLOBE
Interview by Josh Justice
Los Angeles-based rockers Edge of Paradise have been putting in work in the metal scene for almost a decade. With 3 solid albums already out, the band is spending their quarantine working on some new material to stay busy. We spoke with lead vocalist and pianist extraordinaire, Margarita Monet, about touring, their evolution, and what the future holds.
Hello Margarita. First of all, thank you for doing an interview with HeadrushTV. How has the quarantine been treating you? How have you been staying safe and sane?
MM: Hi Josh, thank you so much for heaving me! We're just trying to make the best of this crazy time. Unfortunately our tour with Hammerfall got postponed, but on the bright side, we started to record our new album. Creating new music, and making artwork is keeping me sane these days!
Edge of Paradise got their start almost a decade ago. Prior to that, you had an extensive and award-winning musical background, as well as theatre. Who were your influences that led you down the path of metal?
MM: It's funny how life works, i never thought i'd have a metal band! Classical music and theater pretty much was my life, it's not till I moved to Los Angeles, met Dave Bates (who I started the band with) it opened this new reality for me. Now that I think about it though, I probably wished it into the universe, because when i was little, my parents had VHS tapes of Led Zeppelin, Queen... the live concerts, i would watch them and think how much I would love to do that, but it didn't even cross my mind I could pursue that, seemed like another dimension to me. Later, In college, i discovered Symphony X, that was my first heavy metal band that i really got into, probably the crazy keyboard solos caught my ear haha, I also started listening to Nine Inch Nails, Marylin Manson, System Of A Down, Korn, Dio and I loved Ray Charles songs... that was my playlist for quiet a few years :)
With a bit of a line-up change since you first started Edge of Paradise, how do you feel the band has evolved and grown over the years?
MM: Our band has evolved greatly, it was born from a thought of inspiration and evolved into a galactic force of hard rock with industrial, symphonic and cinematic edge ;)
Dave and I started this in 2011, we kind of hit the ground running, laying down the foundation for the band by releasing Mask, a month after we formed the band, now we regret our premature decision, but had to start somewhere :)
We've always been the primary members steering the ship, we were lucky to have had a some great band members along the way! Each lineup seemed like different chapters of our journey. I would say we really started to shape into what people recognize us today by, in 2017 when we put out our EP ALIVE and made an international debut in Netherlands. By then we've already toured US twice and put out 2 albums, however, it's the ALIVE EP, that really put us on the path to our album Universe and finding the sound that defines who we are. Universe, in maybe ways, feels like the first album for us, especially since it was a label debut on Frontiers Records and released on the day that we left on our first big European tour. So we're just excited to continue the evolution and keep building our world with the next album and lots of touring in 2021!
In 2017, you were the only American band to play the Femme Festival, a female-fronted festival in the Netherlands. That’s quite the honor. How was that experience?
MM: That was our first international show, and it was a great one! Music is such a huge part of the culture in Europe, people are very supportive and excited to see bands and discover new ones. The days of the festival they had a street fair filled with stands of vinyl records, we never see that in the US! I was a bit nervous as It was a new territory for us, but we received such a warm welcome from everyone! We made new fans and friends that we also saw at our recent EU tour, met people who've been following us for a few years, it was great to finally play our music for them live! Also, we had a some people from the US, that made the trip to see us play and enjoy the festival lineup! So it was a great experience! Netherlands is a very beautiful place, we love playing in Europe!
After that, you spent much of 2019 on “The Raven Still Flies Over Europe” tour with Sonata Arctica and Temple Balls and touring parts of Japan. How have the crowds overseas compared to the American crowds?
MM: Crowds are a bit different in every country, it's really interesting. In Japan, people love rock and metal, and they are extremely supportive and respectful, they buy all the merch and are excited to meet you and say hello. We were nervous for a second, because after each song, they wait till the very last moment of the song, until they start clapping and they get so into it! In Europe the crowds are generally loud, especially in eastern Europe, we always come out after the show and people were so warm and excited to meet us, we are very grateful! The only country that the crowd was very quiet was in Belgium, we thought they hated us, but then we sold all the merch, so you can't judge by the looks of it :)
Focusing on the present and future, you are working on a new album, co-produced with Neil Sanderson of Three Days Grace. How was it working with him? And how was the recording process and concept for this album compared to your other albums, like “Immortal Waltz" or "Universe?"
MM: Yes, we are very excited about this new music, working with Neil has been great, we didn't know what to expect, but he has been helpful with his input with helping shape vocal melodies! And it's interesting to see some of the approach that Three Days Grace has, plus, he is a lot of fun to work with and get's our music. So Mike Plotnikoff and Neil, they are a perfect team for us to create this new album. Regarding the concept, it's definitely different then Immortal Waltz. After the Immortal Waltz album we changed the direction of our sound. We were very lucky to be able to record that album with Michael Wagener, it was an unforgettable experience working with a legend, and he put us on a path to finding our sound! In a way, Universe feels like our debut, all the years were shaping us to this point.
The new album is a continuation and evolution of Universe, but more powerful, bit more guitar heavy and has more of a cinematic feel. It explores themes like merging artificial intelligence with human mind and the implications of that, we want to make people think about the future of the human race, consciousness, weather the soul can exist in a digital world, power of our minds... fun stuff like that :) Recording process is similar to Universe. We record vocals and drums with our producer Mike Plotnikoff and everything else we record at our home studio.
Any collaborations in the works or any dream collaborations we can put out to the universe to get that ball rolling?
MM: We're doing our thing right now, but in the future, would be fun to collaborate with Trent Reznor, I love his musical style, his live shows, how he expanded to making movie soundtracks, would be cool to do an industrial/cinematic song with him!
I stumbled across an acoustic version of “In A Dream,” with you on the piano. It was beautiful and haunting. I found a few others that were equally great. Any chance of putting out an EP or full album of all acoustic songs?
MM: Thank you so much! In A Dream was actually the first song Dave and I wrote together, so it holds a lot of meaning to us. I love doing acoustic versions, it brings out a different side of songs. Right now we're working on the new album, but after it's release in 2021, it would be great to do an acoustic release and include some songs from all our past albums!
With touring on the back burner for now, where can your fans stay connected with you?
MM: We're looking forward to get back out on the road next year! Fans can always find us on our social media pages, instagram/facebook/twitter. We love to hear from people, we have a very supportive, imaginative, creative and fun community of music lovers, we're grateful and excited that our world is growing!
We also do a lot of giveaways, we recently did a guitar giveaway to celebrate the release of Universe. Our winner Chris, is a guitarist from Germany! We do signed postcard giveaways around the holidays to everyone, so keep posted for the next one! :)
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Stay safe.
MM: Thank you very much for having me, stay safe and we can't wait to see you at a future show!
Photos provided by Margarita Monet/Edge of Paradise
Universe Album: https://radi.al/Universe/
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