Interview with Shayne Cordevant of The Monolithic
The Midwest is some of the most fertile ground in the country for musicians to get their start. Every day there are new acts brimming with talent that end up touring the country and growing their fan base while honing their skills and bringing Midwest music to those who otherwise might never hear it.
One such group is The Monolithic, a band that spans the entire Midwest, with members hailing all the way from Chicago to Nashville. Their mission is to play ‘60s and ‘70s-inspired, raw, gritty rock music for all. They’re one of the most hardworking groups I’ve seen in recent years, and in the midst of this holiday season, drummer Shayne Cordevant took some time out of his demanding schedule to answer a few questions.
The first thing I needed was just to be brought up to speed on what the band has been up to, and it is quite impressive, as Shayne says: “We covered 16 states in our first year of touring. The best part has been meeting new people and seeing new things. We’ve met some of the nicest people on the road. Traveling is great! Earlier this year we walked across the frozen Mississippi in Winona, Minnesota so that was a trip! I opted not to drive out there like everyone else, as it was hard enough just getting used to walking on it, haha!”
I’ve kept the first EP from The Monolithic in fairly regular rotation, and I was wondering when some new material might be coming down the pipe. Shayne enlightened me: “We just released our new single ‘What You’ve Got’ with the B-side ‘Say Goodbye’ on CD after being released digitally a few months ago.” One of the interesting things about the live music scene as opposed to the more mainstream scene is the way new tracks are produced; rather than releasing an album and then touring that record specifically, new songs are often debuted on the road for months or even years before they are laid to tape. The Monolithic appears to follow the tradition of debuting material live: “As far as new tunes, we do play them out as much as possible before recording or releasing them. We always look for a better way to formulate a tune as well as what kind of response it gets. Even when writing straight rock tunes they can change through jam. That said, we all have a hand in writing our music. Whether one of us has some lyrisc or a few riffs, we bring it together and sometimes it completely changes. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a train wreck. I’m not a fan of forcing things, especially when it comes to writing. Letting things take a natural flow is always best. Even when doing multiple time signatures or speeds it’s always best to pick the path of least resistance as a band. The less stress, the better.”
I’ve always been of the opinion that the hardest part about the band would be presenting the music in a way that grabbed people’s attention without seeming forced. Shayne had some words to say about the presentation: “We’re here to have fun first and foremost. Going from the jam band scene to the rock scene has been a little different for me. The writing and playing is actually much easier and gives me more time to work on the entertainment aspect of it all. Put a smile on and play with conviction!”
The first place I saw The Monolithic was at Cordevant’s own festival, Ragefest, in Southern Illinois. I asked how it was, maintaining a touring band and an annual festival event: “As far as being in a touring act and running Ragefest…it was a very difficult year juggling both. I love doing both but my passion is in playing so I don’t think I’m going to have Ragefest this year. I’m proud of what it has become, especially coming from such a very humble beginning. I want to see how far the Monolithic rabbit hole goes and then maybe, one day, RF can return even better!”
In today’s musical climate, bands come and go every day. Shayne shed some light on where he’d like to see things go: “In five years, I’d like to see The Monolithic touring with bigger acts on bigger stages (especially with more room for drums haha!). We’d like to keep diversifying our writing as well as keeping it flowing smoothly. And hey, it’d be real nice to put my son through college one a day so a little dough wouldn’t hurt either! The hardest part of touring is missing him.”
One theme is constant in every conversation I’ve had with Shayne, and that is a hard-working nature, not evident just in him, but in every member of The Monolithic: “As far as other projects, Hunter (Beattie, keys, guitar, vocals) is in an acoustic act called The Beattie Rhodes Band. I DJ on the side, and am currently running for Mayor of Tilden, IL. Chris (Chamness, guitar, vocals) does single acoustic shows, and Paul (Beckmeyer, bass, vocals) works with The Bongo Pablo Super Jam.” If every band member being involved in multiple projects wasn’t enough somehow, Shayne goes on to say: “We did over 100 shows last year. The passion for playing never stops. No matter what band I’ve been in, I’ve been right where I needed to be; sitting on my throne slapping some skins!”
Shayne has no plans for slowing down, either, as he explains: “As far as 2017 plans, we’re planning a few tours this year, one to the northeast and possibly Canada in the summer, a Texas/southern tour in the early fall and possibly a spring break tour as well. We are recording a new album which hopefully will be out before summer 2017.” For those looking to dig into some vintage late ‘60s/early ‘70s garage psychedelia: “You can download all our music at SoundCloud, Itunes, Amazon, etc.”
Check out more information on The Monolithic here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/themonolithic/about/?ref=page_internal