Solo Musician Interview: Benny Monteux

Benny Monteux Photo

Benny Monteux is an Edinburgh based singer/guitarist who considers their genre to be punk/folk rock. I’ve reviewed their music and you can check that out here and here

Where are you from?
I’m from sunny Auld Reekie!

How long have you been playing your instrument/singing?
I’ve been playing guitar seriously for about 11 years, and singing as a frontman for 8 or so.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Punk rock, but for people that like a good pop song!

What are your influences?
Frank Turner, pretty much every project that Brian Fallon has ever been involved in (The Gaslight Anthem, Horrible Crowes, Brian Fallon and The Crowes, etc etc), basically everything that Vinnie Caruana does (you may see that a little on the new record) and old school pop punk like The Ataris, MXPX, The Movielife and New Found Glory.

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?
From time to time – again, it’s usually something Ataris, Gaslight Anthem or Eagles! Depends if the mood takes me.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?
To be completely honest it entirely depends on the time and mind frame that I’m in. I’ve tried to approach each record a different way – like with ”Dance on Your Memories” I had a story in mind that I built the lyrics around, then I wrote the music for it and took it to the band. But this time around none of the songs are really connected, and I’m doing it in a way where I take the bare songs to the boys and they all write their respective parts to it. People ask what comes first all the time too, lyrics or music – but it is genuinely a chicken or egg situation! I think it’s good to branch out and try new things every time – keeps it interesting!

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?
I’ve been quite lucky in that I’ve been able to support some of my heroes – I opened for Kris Roe last year in Edinburgh, and he has a reputation for being this hothead dick – turns out he’s one of the nicest, most humble guys out there and he thought I was so good that he made me sign a CD for him to take back to his girlfriend in the states. Lovely! One of my first full band shows was also at the now defunct HMV Picturehouse supporting Lost In Audio back in 2012 – it is on record still the biggest show comprising of entirely unsigned acts that’s been put on in Scotland so far!

What has been your biggest challenge as a musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
To be honest the biggest challenge I face is being a solo artist who isn’t conventionally radio friendly. For some reason the industry looks at solo acts differently and so do promoters – we’re forever getting chucked on first at shows when there’s nobody there! I’ve managed to overcome it by getting involved in Scotland’s DIY punk scene, constantly putting myself out there and getting on higher calibre shows, putting on my own shows and making people realise that I’m not just another kid with an acoustic guitar playing songs about heartbreak. I’m here to stay!

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
I’m on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Mp3, Deezer and Soundcloud…You can listen to me and download my music pretty much for free, everywhere you can think of! Just type ‘Benny Monteux’ into any of those sites.

Have you released anything yet/if so how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?
I’ve currently got two EPs out and a few singles – they’ve gone down pretty well! For my ”Greetings From Nowhere City” single we threw a launch party which sold out, and we did the same for my 2014 EP ”Dance On Your Memories”. There’s always going to be the songs that people ask for more than others or relate to more than others which is definitely the case – but I’m in the process of writing record number 3, so hopefully that’ll be recorded and out within the first half of 2017. Other than that, touring touring touring. I’ve got plans to hit England and mainland Europe next year!

Where have you performed? What are your favourite venues?
I’ve performed all over Scotland, in every major city, and at this point I’ve literally played in every Edinburgh venue that’ll host a band too! I absolutely love Stereo, Bloc (Glasgow) and The Banshee Labyrinth, The Mash House and Studio 24 (Edinburgh)!

What do you think about downloading music online?
I absolutely support it. It’s so fucking hard to get noticed these days, and pretty much everyone has a smartphone or some kind of device – so making yourself readily available to the tech savvy generation is 100 percent the best way to go if you want people to buy records and consider coming to a show.

What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
That’s a good question – being completely honest I think in terms of the mainstream it’s a bit of a joke, There are so many acts that are tailored for the radio, and so many stations that will play mindless, unmemorable rubbish at all hours.


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