When the opportunity to interview Monarchy came around I jumped at the chance; having heard ‘Love Get Out Of My Way’ last year and intrigued by their use of masks and futuristic imagery, this was my chance to quiz the duo (Ra Black & Andrew Armstrong) and find out what makes them tick.

Monarchy, surprisingly started as a side project, "we met through a mutual friend called Google" says the duo, "it was a slow, respectful coming together at first, but at a certain point, we don’t remember the exact moment, we decided working together solidly was the way forward and we’ve been doing it ever since. It started as a sideline collaboration, it ended up as Monarchy."

When the band first started to garner attention from journalists and fans a like, they were drawn to the mystery of their identities as they consistently wore masks to remain anonymous. The duo maintaining their ethos "to retain mystique, not to have our lack of identity overshadow the music or creative process." Due to their anonymity the rumours to who they really were ranged from the weird to the wonderful saying that there was, "a lot of conjecture, people thinking we were anyone from Paul Epworth, Stuart Price, Daft Punk, Soulwax, Hot Chip," all the way through to,"‘a Canadian heavy rock band." Fortunately, the rumours appear to have disappeared from view, as many are "happy to accept us as we present ourselves, with some details obscured."

Seemingly hand in hand with the duos lack of identity is their confusion over other artist’s use of social media and growing lack of privacy; which has gone alongside the rise to prominence of Facebook and Twitter. The sharing of activities in everyday life perhaps gets their goat the most, "we find it incredibly mundane. Social media is allowing more and more access to people’s personal lives, and some artist’s are pushed by their management or record company, or own ego into believing this means they should use it to broadcast the mundane." They miss the magic found behind artist’s of the past due to the non existence of social media, it was often a mystery to how they really ticked, never mind what their favourite cereal was, or their number of followers. The two agree saying, "the mystique around people like David Bowie was amazing. We’re on a constant curve allowing more and more information, but people are still adapting to that curve, and it might start moving back the other way." You may have guessed by now that the pair are not a fan of Facebook and its ease of sharing your personal information often opting you in without first gaining permission. "Most people have their Facebook profiles hidden, it’s an indication that people are being exposed too much, and it’s time to start taking back some of our privacy." Their unease also extends to the potential consequences of twitter mentioning a recent public spat between Example and the likes of Cher Lloyd and Alexandra Burke saying, "people have found that sharing their personal opinions can be a problem."

With a sound that encapsulates images of space adventures, electronic beats and synth pop, there’s bound to be some interesting influences, and with names mentioned like Daft Punk, Jamie Woon, Stevie Wonder, Prince and more I couldn’t have been more wrong. But, as well as musical influences they also take great care in their appearance on stage and off it. Often working with collaborators and even companies of a slightly sexual nature saying, "we’ve worked with milliners to stylists to fetish clothing companies." They are extremely hands on in this process then, going on to say, "we’ve got a specific idea of what we want, and so we work with people to bring that into actuality, Terry-James Lynch, Noel Stewart and Andrew Wedge were all great to work with."

Images of a space frontier are further reinforced when I hear about their trip to Cape Canaveral; hiring equipment, a planetarium and broadcasting live into space - even if they do downplay the whole thing, "It’s a little of a non event, a massive undertaking to no audience, it’s great for art to die in a vacuum."

Their debut album, Around The Sun, released digitally in August, is now due for a physical release in a couple of weeks containing reworked tracks, together with a few additions, most notably a cover of ‘A Design For Life’. I quizzed the duo to see if I could get any ideas as to what they’d done to one of the Manic Street Preachers most loved tracks; leaving me on tenterhooks they said, "it’s very different to the original, ours is soft, a little pained maybe. It’s quite a sad rendition, more introspective."

This upcoming release allows them to perform live, something they seem to thrive upon; when asked whether they get a bout of nerves before stage time they said, "we don’t get nervous, so much as excited, alive." The London based duo talk about their confusion/delight when playing Coachella earlier this year, having had a crowd who knew every song and every lyric, "London is great, it’s our home city, but we have a bigger following in the States, which is odd because it’s entirely word of mouth."

A new release has also meant that they have been invited to perform stripped down performances and I wondered whether they have considered using such versions in their live set, "we’ve experimented in the past, it works quite well, though we have to remember we’re quite linked to technology, so it sometimes seems out of place." It is this link to technology, which perhaps, has singled them out as quite the pair for remixing duties. Having reworked tracks by the likes of Ellie Goulding and Fyfe Dangerfield they do still have aspirations to continue - currently having the parts to OMD’s ‘Messages’ but not the time to do anything with it.

With the physical release, touring and when they have the spare time remixing, the remainder of this year and next is certain to be a busy one, "we’re working on some new material, and collaborating with some artists. It should be an interesting year."

‘Interesting’ – now there’s an understatement.


Around The Sun is available through 100% Records on November 7th (pre-order from http://www.monarchysound.com). Come back tomorrow as we'll be premiering their new Mixtape.