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Interview: Monica Of The Last Martyr Chats About Their New Single, Sugar, Bigsound Showcase and More!

The Last Martyr have just released their new single Sugar, which is their heaviest track to date, just in time for their appearance at Bigsound 2022.

From Naarm/Melbourne, the dark rock band will be playing three separate shows throughout Bigsound this year, including the Destroy All Lines showcase, which is completely free and does not require a Bigsound pass.

We had a chat with vocalist Monica Strut about the new track Sugar, and upcoming showcase at Bigsound 2022!

Congrats on the newest single ‘Sugar,’ for those who do not know, what was the inspiration behind the track?

I wrote Sugar about my experience on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication which I was on for a year in 2021. I had put off going on it for a really long time because I thought I could work it out myself and was so happy to find that it was actually so helpful. After a few months I noticed my range of emotion had narrowed quite significantly and no one told me this would happen. I was noticing that I was becoming really apathetic towards things that I would normally get really excited about or people that I loved or just exciting things happening in my life, and I’m normally a very upbeat person so this was definitely not normal. I finally realized it was these SSRIs that I was on and, as I said no one told me this would happen so I decided to write a song about it just in case someone else had those experiences. 

What was the process of creating this song and pulling everything together?

Usually we start off going through a range of demos that either my guitarist or bass player have created and we get in the studio together with our producer and basically choose a demo that all of us are excited about and create a song from there. Usually the demos aren’t finished songs, they’re maybe a verse and chorus or sometimes they are close to finished, then we work on them together.

This particular song was actually one of the hardest songs that we’ve put together. I got Covid the night before I was due to record vocals and when I recovered a month later I got the super flu, and I knew what the song was going to be about so there was also an element of emotional resistance and we also had issues with the video clip oh my gosh. So many things kept going wrong but I think it turned out in the end.

‘Sugar’ is your heaviest release to date, was this a natural progression or a premeditated decision to go down that route?

After the release of our EP last year, we definitely had in the back of our minds that we wanted to release something heavier for our next single and I really wanted to explore doing more screams on a song–as you would have heard Sugar is about 50% screams. It was a little bit nerve wracking, I remember the first time playing it live on the Black Veil Brides run we did a couple of weeks ago but as soon as we played it live it was just a lot of fun, the energy was there and the audience really responded.

You have just finished the Bonez Alternative Queer Party tour dates, how was that experience for you guys? 

It was so much fun! I love Sunny who runs Bonez, I love what they put together and this mix of bands and burlesque and drag queens. I think it was just so cool to be part of something different, and having a safe space for those in the queer community was also a really positive thing. I think it’s a really unique gig to play because it’s not just bands but other sorts of entertaining elements, there was a host that would host every single show and it was more like an event rather than a gig.

You have a lot more shows coming up soon like the ‘Sugar’ release party, Scorched Mini Fest, Froth And Fury Fest, In Peril Fest and Bigsound. What are you most excited for?

I think for now we’re really focused on Bigsound. It’s definitely been a goal of ours from the start of forming this band to play Bigsound. I know how pivotal it is in getting exposure and growing your team, and it’s just one of those milestones I think a lot of bands hope to play, so we’re very excited. We’re doing three showcases and then straight after that is the Sugar launch party, so we’re playing four times in one week so we’re excited to have that experience of playing so many shows so close together and enjoy being in the moment.

Do you have any tips for punters and bands who will be attending Bigsound this year, any must see acts on the lineup?

We’re doing a Destroy All Lines showcase, who’s our booking agent– we’re really good friends with Future Static and there’s an artist called RinRin who is really exciting and Keyan…yeah the artists on that Destroy All Lines showcase I highly recommend checking out. Other than that, most bands are playing twice so there shouldn’t be many clashes but a big part of Bigsound is just running around Fortitude Valley trying to catch as many shows as possible.

It’s super chaotic, but we love it. Speaking of shows, do you have any pre show or post show rituals?

Yes! Sometimes we don’t always get to do this, but the four of us come together on stage or in the green room or wherever we can get a quiet space to run through the first or first and second song acoustically. It helps us warm up so by the time we hit the stage we can give the best version of it to the audience rather than what I used to do when I was starting out where you start the set and don’t feel properly warmed up until half way through. It helps the four of us connect as artists as well and I think it really makes a difference in being united on stage as well so that’s definitely a ritual that we’ve been doing the past year that is a non-negotiable.

Are there any goals you want to achieve with the band for the rest of the year?

We have another single coming out so hopefully that single will be as well received as Sugar seems to have been, but in terms of goals I guess we’re doing a lot of interstate shows, so it’s always a hope that people will discover us on those shows and come follow us and be a part of the journey. The other major goal is to go overseas but I don’t think that will be until next year.

Bigsound performances:

Tue 6 Sep: Black Bear Lodge

DAL Showcase – FREE ENTRY (no Bigsound pass required)

(from 12:30pm)

Tue 6 Sep: The Brightside

d(11:20pm – 11.50pm)

Wed 7 Sep: The Zoo

(11:30pm – 12.00am)

More tour dates and tix here

Written by Ash Wallace