Monarchy are Andrew Armstrong and Ra Black. They formed Monarchy in September 2009. Their debut performance was at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and was transmitted into space, making them the first band to be broadcast live into space. Since then they have gone on to perform at Coachella, Love Box, The Big Chill, Melt Festival, Folsom St Fair festivals, as well as all around the world: San Fran, LA, NYC, London, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, the list goes on. They have also remixed the likes of Kylie, Jamiroquai, Kelis, Lady Gaga, Fyfe Dangerfield, OMD, Ellie Goulding and many more.

In January, 2013, they release their new single « Disintegration » featuring burlesque star Dita Von Teese, who tracked them down via twitter, and invited them to spend Christmas in Paris with her. The video is shot by Roy Raz.


Thanks to Monarchy

Specials thanks

to Tommy

Interview by Thierry Jaussaud

Hello Monarchy how are you? You have just achieved a brand new single « Disintegration ». Can you tell us what the title is all about?
The whole song is about disintegrating into a relationship, losing the sense of self. It’s that post sex moment, when the mind goes blank, but as a metaphor for losing yourself in a relationship, that blankness.

For this tune, you collaborated with Dita Von Teese, who has come up with the idea of working with her? Is it as you were writing this tune that you thought of her straight away?
She started tweeting about us after seeing us at Coachella, and told us she was a
really big fan. She then invited me to spend Christmas with her in 2011, so I went over. It was there we came up with the idea of her singing on one of our tracks. So we wrote the track for her, and went back to her with it, recorded it in her Paris apartment. So it was a collaboration born out of friendship and respect for eachother’s art, and then we started working together. She’s amazing, and we’re good friends now.

Is this single the first one of a future album?
Absolutely. We have quite a bit of the album ready, just putting a few finishing touches to it.

How does a typical track get started? How do you work on a title? Who does what?

We work together on all the tracks now. Maybe we’ll start with a lyric, or with a melody, and then go from there. Each time it’s different. For Disintegration, I came up with the lyric idea and some of the melody for Dita, and then Ra wrote the chorus, which is amazing. So it’s all collaboration.

Let’s get back to you, there’s been plenty of speculation about your real identity, what’s the best rumour you’ve heard about who you are?
A journalist once made a joke that we’re called “Edward Nigma” and “Peter Uzzle”, which is obviously Enigma and Puzzle, but it still circulates. We’ve had everything from Daft Punk, SoulWax, Stuart Price, to a heavy metal band out of Canada.

You’re often categorised as electro-pop, how do you feel about that?
You can’t control what other people think. It doesn’t keep me awake at night. Overall, we’re really happy with the bands we get put alongside, and who our listeners also listen to. It’s people like Aeroplane, Cut Copy, Presets, Magician, LCD Soundsystem, some of the Kitsune bands, which is exactly what we listen to, so that’s perfect.

You’ve done a lot of remix work for the past two years, is there a dream track or an artist you’d love to remix?
It’s hard to remix a dream track. I tried remixing Messages by OMD, and kind of failed. I love the original so much it’s hard to make something different out of it. Maybe “Radio Gaga” by Queen would be amazing, I love some of the synth parts. There’s so many amazing artists though, from Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, to new acts like Sam Smith.

Social media and marketing for music artists seem to be walking hand in hand these days. Tell us – what do you like to do in social media and what sort of action do you like to see in return from the fans?
We talk to our listeners as intelligent, cultured human beings. We treat them with respect. It’s nice to be able to use social networks to talk directly to them like that in the way we want to. If it was just through “traditional” media like press, it would be more generic, and we couldn’t treat them in the way we want to.

Which band would you compare yourselves to or say that you had similar sounds? For example, if we look into your lastfm, you are being compared to Penguin Prison, Hey Champ, Fenech-Soler, The Sound Of Arrows, Bag Raiders… Do you agree with them?
Sure, we can live with that. It’s hard to live with comparisons, sometimes people compare us to bands we don’t even like. But then we’ll see some aspect that they’re talking about, and it might be as basic as “well there’s two of you, and you sing over electronica, so therefore…”. I recently saw Jamie from the Irrepressibles complain about comparisons to Antony And the Johnsons, and he sounded like a spoilt brat having a queeny hissy fit. It was very ugly. So we don’t let comparisons get to us, we just write our music and people can judge us how they like.

What do you keep of 2012 musically? Of Madonna’s come back with MDNA? Moreover do you have any songwriting or production project for an artist this year?

We’ve been working with a few artists, writing some tracks, people like Jetta and Charli XCX, and a few other unsigned acts. Madonna didn’t really come back, but I respect her for keeping on pushing. It was great to hear new music from M83, and Alt J’s album was great, Frank Ocean finally got his album out, The Weeknd, it was a good year. And of course the strange phenomenon of Gangham Style proved that popular culture can always be written.

What does the Monarchy crystal ball say about your future? Where will you be in 5 years from now?
Writing sound tracks to movies. And still releasing our own albums as well.