As I am not at all familiar with your band perhaps you could introduce it?
-Mongrel is an aggressive rock/metal band with some underlying punk influences. Musically it’s along the lines of a Guns N’ Roses meets Motorhead, Metallica, Pearl Jam and the Misfits with a singer who draws comparisons ranging from Janis Joplin, Wendy O Williams, Joan Jett, and Otep.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-When I started the band with our original singer, the concept was to bring together a blend of various styles and influences but maintain an aggressive edge with the emphasis being on trying to write good songs rather than focusing on or limiting it to a particular style. The name “Mongrel” by definition means a mixed breed, and with it’s association with dogs it had a bit of inherent menace to it that was perfect for what we were doing. Despite multiple line up changes since it’s inception, I still feel that Mongrel has stayed true to this initial intent and that the name still suits us well.
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of metal you play? What inspires you today?
-For me personally at least, the metal/rock bands I listened to in the formative years were Metallica, Anthrax, some Slayer, The Cult, Motley Crue, Skid Row,…. Guns N’ Roses were a huge one for me. Since then it’s ranged on the heavier side of things from Slipknot to Fear Factory to System of a Down. I’m a huge fan of The Bronx, American Head Charge, Pearl Jam, Amen, Wounds, Dogstate, Barb Wire Dolls, etc. I’m still a music fan at heart so I’m always looking for new great music.
What is the advantages/disadvantages of digital?
-I certainly appreciate the instantaneous and convenient nature of digital, especially for bands where their cds are hard to find, or they’re an underground band from another country. It is music easier to get a hold of their stuff digitally (as a fan). The unfortunate thing is that you then lose the tactile piece of it…holding the cd case, looking through the booklet, etc. For the bands I end up loving, I typically end up with both the download and the physical cd when all is said and done. For a band like Mongrel where we have some distribution, but it’s not always at your local brick & mortar stores, having digital options for people to get a hold of our music is certainly a big help and absolutely crucial in this day and age.
Is digital killing the album format? Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-I like the idea of a single track release for a cover tune, live track, or a teaser track for an upcoming release but I definitely prefer at least an EP collection of songs than just a single track that isn’t part of a collection.
What part does art work and lay out play when you release songs digitally?
-We always plan out our artwork for physical cds and then adjust format wise for the digital if needed. My emphasis is still on artwork to support the physical “product.”
Is it a whole different way to promote a digital track than it is promoting a cd? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-I haven’t found it THAT much different other than the digital is how people can sample it up front. Both are very reliant on social media, word of mouth, videos, etc.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-I think we are a part of our local scene here in New England but I’m not sure where we fit in the national/international scene in that regard. We definitely have our friendships and alliances with bands across countries and continents as well as support in the press in various places (especially the UK/europe) but “scene” wise it’s hard to say.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Touring and gigging is absolutely a great way to get the music out there and win over new fans. Unfortunately financial factors often come into play and we can’t necessarily tour as much or as far as we’d love to be able to.
What will the future bring?
-In regards to Mongrel ? We’ve got a new video in the works to be shot this spring. We’re hoping to hit the studio to record another cd early summer for release later this year, more shows, more videos, etc.
What will it bring in general? “Who knows what the future brings. Uncertainty is forever, not diamond rings” as the line in our song “Oxygen Mask” says.