Monster Treasure's Briana Granados on their Bombastic Sophomore LP
California-based power trio Monster Treasure have been bringing their fierce, glitsy, and pummeling concoction of power pop and punk rock into the world since their debut, self-titled full length released last year. With a new label backing them, they just returned with their followup, aptly titled II. The album came out on October 6th through the UK label Leisure & District. I had the opportunity to chat with Briana Granados through email about the album, their current UK tour, and what they have planned next.
Hey! I wanted to thank you guys for taking time out of your day to do this interview. You're definitely an up-and-coming band, so for our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourselves and anything about the band you’d want us to know?
Hey! Thanks! We're a power trio from Stockton, California.
Your new record is a diverse, infectious combination of power pop, shoegaze, grunge, and punk rock that at times strikes delicately, but also bites pretty hard at others. What were some of the influences behind the writing and recording of the album?
Those are definitely genres we enjoy but I don't think we ever have a clear influence, it's kind of just whatever comes out.
You guys wasted no time following up your debut, self-titled album released last year. How does this album differ from the first; was there anything different sonically or thematically that you tried to bring to the table this time around?
It felt like a long time between records for us! We put out first LP out on Harlot records initially in 2014. Leisure & District then wanted to release it in the UK a bit later. We're happy they found us we feel really lucky. We definitely at least knew what to expect going into recording this time which was a lot of help, and I feel we've grown a lot as songwriters and I think that comes through on the record.
You guys play the kind of songs that tug on your collar and pull you in with the lush and forceful instrumentation, leaving the lyrics and themes to get into your head afterwards. Are there any common themes—emotional, political, etc—you were trying to make clear on this album? The songs come off as lighthearted with a strong emotional undercurrent.
Rachel and I end up writing about love a lot. It's not really intentional. I think we use songwriting like most musicians, as a form of therapy and release so a lot of good and bad emotions just naturally become the subjects. I do see the contrast of the music to the words and that's really interesting actually. Our songs are very sincere and it's hard to focus on intention a lot of the time for me.
Can you talk a bit about how the music videos for “Leave” and “Buttercream” came together?
Our good friend Danny Sperry filmed and edited "Leave". We drove up to Sacramento at the crack of dawn and met him at a merry-go-round in a park. I think we filmed in video in about an hour.
"Buttercream" was the brain-baby of our friend Scott Rideout. It's a mix of footage filmed on an old camcorder and newer device. With additional help filming by Danny Sperry. We had a lot of fun doing that video. I think it all took place mostly around Oakland, CA. My mom made the cake. It was vegan. Thanks Mom!
How did the release of II differ from your first LP? I saw the Billboard feature on you guys—it sounds like this record generated some buzz early on.
This release was somehow more stressful than the first. Maybe it's the pressure of having to improve or advance or be just as good as the last record. Not sure. Yeah, we don't know how Billboard came about really! That was really neat.
As an American band, what’s been your experience being signed to a UK-based label? It looks like you guys have been touring pretty actively out there and maintaining a steady presence.
Having a long-distance relationship with the label has it's challenges but we've been able to make it work really well so far. We really love everyone that helps us over at Leisure & District. They have done so much for us. We never thought we would be able to ever travel outside North America with our music and they made it happen for us and we're forever grateful. We love the UK. Both trips out there were a dream come true, we hope we can keep coming back.
Is the reception of your music different in the US than it is in Europe?
I can't really say at this point. It seems about the same.
What are your plans for the rest of the year, besides touring the UK?
Thanksgiving and Christmas! We don't have too much planned at this point. I hope we can get some more songs together and record again soon. A US tour would also be very nice. This is all probably more like next year kinda stuff though!
For any up and coming bands, what advice would you give them about breaking into the industry? What was the best advice someone gave to you guys when you first started?
We struggled a lot in our earlier years and we're still a small struggling band so I can't say I have any good advice.
Thanks so much for talking to us! Is there anything else you want our readers to know?
We are bad at interviews! Thanks!