INTERVIEW: Monza Express

Aberdeen-based five-piece Monza Express bring a little Sunshine to the Scottish winter with their uplifting new single.

Inspired by classic bands like The Beatles and Oasis, Sunshine pairs warm guitar hooks with nostalgic melodies and a catchy, singalong chorus. I caught up with the band to find out more about the inspiration behind the song…

Hey guys! Tell me about your new single Sunshine

It’s an autobiographical piece written by Fraser about his honeymoon and a hilarious tour guide he befriended who sadly died. It’s an attempt at some 60s style pop with a sing-a-long chorus.

Where was the song recorded?

We recorded it at D-Range studios in Aberdeen in one full session with a couple of evenings added in for the finishing touches and all the mixing parts.

I see you’ve all had careers in other bands. What drew you together to form Monza Express?

Previously Fraser (vocals & rhythm guitar) and Deco (drums) had played in The Incarnations but due to other members getting jobs away from Aberdeen, things were shelved.

Deco works at Aberdeen Football Club and they had a FIFA work experience guy visiting from India who wanted to jam with a British band. Deco mentioned this to Fraser, who invited Kris (keys) along for a bit of a laugh. An evening playing Beatles and Eagles tunes with a six-foot-plus Indian was so enjoyable, they decided to do it again.

Shaun (lead guitar) and Greg (bass) were invited along initially just so we could get out the house and play tunes by The Beatles, Oasis and Elton John. After a bit, songs we’d written in previous bands started being played, then the new stuff started coming very easily.

What’s the story behind the band name? I did some research and found a lot of photos of a big boat…

We’d had ongoing discussions about a name and couldn’t settle on anything. Fraser and Shaun work in Marine Logistics for an oil company in Aberdeen and were looking through a corporate magazine from a ship owner company, where they saw an article about a car carrying vessel in the Med with the headline ‘Monza Express makes music’. We took it as a sign.

You’re based in Aberdeen. Do you find your surroundings influence your sound?

Fraser: I don’t think so, but it’s strange what might slip in without you noticing. I try and keep my songs personal to me, albeit with some artistic licence, if that makes sense? I’m not a fan of Scottish music about lochs, mountains and thistles.

I think people have more of an influence on music than places, but we’ll maybe write something about a street in town some day.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations?

We’ve got a very mixed bag between the five of us, which is great for giving us a selection of tunes that shouldn’t all be by the same band.

Fraser loves The Beatles, Oasis and The Beach Boys and whatever’s on Absolute Radio. Kris loves Bowie and is an avid BBC 6 Music listener. Shaun likes Foo Fighters and Muse. Deco worships Oasis, Status Quo and Jeff Lynne. Greg’s into Britpop and whatever his Mrs has on the TV.

What are your plans for the year ahead? Is there more music on the way?

We spent the day in a studio nearby. We’d won the session on a competition Facebook based on a practise room recording. We got things done so quickly we were able to do two additional tracks, so we’ll put them out at some point. Whether it’s just those or we add to it, we’ve still to decide.

If you could recommend one album for our readers to listen to, what would it be?

Fraser: Tough call… I can’t speak for everyone but my favourite album to be released in the last couple of years is still Good Times by The Monkees. It’s got quality tunes on it, despite them being old men now. Given we’re past the 30 year mark, that’s what I’m hoping for when people hear us!

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