The Indie vibes of Mother Earth in Me & The Monster's music
Tucked away in a cosy, but vibrant, little bar called Barkett in the Schöneberg district of Berlin (Czeminskistraße, near Julius-Leber-Brücke), I watched Me & The Monster perform. It was during Barkett's "Get Down Thursday!" event on the 15th February, with both this spectacular band and the band I've previously reviewed, Ritzy Park.
The bar is particularly quaint, the surrounding area is quite quiet and relaxed, the hanging luminous letters highlights the bar from along the street, cute outdoor benches and seats indoors covered in pillows by the windows. Although perfectly ordered, there still contains some of the unique, Berliner brilliance to it with it's tastefully graffitied toilets and the back room bar used for the performances. Such a petite performance space makes for some unique sounds, the whole stage being padded in fake moss to appear like the stage is being taken over by nature, the backstage door was even covered with moss.
The whole set-up fit in well with Me & The Monster's sound and aesthetic, they each had vines crawling up their microphones , their unique look was colourful and hippy and their songs included many nature-related themes that resonate in real, everyday life. The band come from unique musical backgrounds and from all over the world, blending together both traditional, earthy and textured sounds after meeting and collaborating in Berlin at the BIMM university.
They started the evening with a song that opened up their following themes on nature, focusing on the jungle as the centre of their songs and likewise, the creative jungle of life. Andrea Trujillo from Venezuela and Nico Uris from Alicante, Spain, were the voices and songwriters of the band. Andrea has a powerful, refined voice and with Nico's deeper and coarser notes the textures and layers of the vocals were incredibly homey and folksy.Andrea combined her voice with a synthesizer that made every beat echo and made the tunes sound beyond surreal, allowing all the sound to reverberate throughout the small performance space. Combined with the strong, deep beats created with her floor drum covered in a tribal material to make the sound resonate, her performance seemed creative and effortless.
Nico combined his vocals with some incredible guitar work that varied from slow and steady, like in their song, Give Me Fire, to enticing build-ups and folk-style riffs that made the audience feel like we were surrounding a campfire in the middle of nowhere. He also played the saxophone spectacularly, adding a jazz flare to the music that included further textures to some of the songs.
Although on the opposite side of the stage to Andrea, Giulia Mariani on the drums seemed to sync incredibly to the synthesizer and Andrea's single floor drum. Especially in the more upbeat songs, we could see the effect Giulia had on the totality of the song, like in their introduction piece and their song The Shadow, that got everyone singing along to. From Italy, Giulia added a fire to each song that multiple people commented on and loved.
The deep and warm vibrations of the bass were created by Yannick Bellotto from Switzerland. The sounds made the tune flow smoothly, refined the edges of each song and mellowed out some of the energetic sounds created by the drums and synthesizers. His individual flare is clearly heard within the band and his sound was completely secured within the vocals. I thought personally the bass was most effective in their song Lost Notion, where they started up their song three times just to tease the drunk and dancing audience and Nico created some unique and varying saxophone riffs.
Overall, Me & The Monster resonate with some alternative, Indie bands like alt-J, but also with their Latin, folksy and up-beat tunes and voices, the band also made me think of early Crystal Fighters and other folk bands that have created a mixture of the traditional and modern in their work. The band are hoping to release a single in Spring this year and have recently been featured on the YouTube series Balcony TV, playing one of my favourite songs of the night, The Shadow.
You can find their Balcony TV performance here:
They're also available on Facebook for queries, updates and more information:
I hope to see more from Berliner band Me & The Monster soon!