I have been a huge fan of The Last Martyr for a few years now, so I was excited when I heard they were releasing new material. This week sees their newest single ‘Hindsight’ hit our ears. Vocalist Monica Strut is one of the most wholesome and helpful people in the scene and I was stoked to catch up with her last week for a deep dive into the song.
Let’s talk about this new single!
First off you have a new band member in Ricky.
Yes so Ricky is new to the public, but he has actually been around for about eighteen months but then covid hit and we couldn’t get new band photos. He was actually a core songwriter in the new single ‘Hindsight’. He has really brought his numetal influence into the band. He is also very much into electronic music which is really cool because we are able to bring the new songs that we wrote in 2020 into a live setting. It’s really cool because he has written all these electronic interludes between the different parts of the set which just really brings it to life. He has brought a lot of value, not only in terms of song writing, but in terms of our visual direction. We had a lot of time last year to really think about how we wanted to present ourselves to the world and who we were as artists. Ricky was such a core part in helping us orchestrate that and bring that together.
So ‘Hindsight’. Ricky actually wrote this song, but it came about from you talking about a toxic friendship.
Yes. He came with the first demo of the track and then I wrote all the lyrics. The track kind of developed in the studio. We worked with Chris Lalic from Windwaker who is fantastic. I was actually writing a lot of the lyrics in the studio as we were doing preproduction which I rarely do. I usually come to the studio with a complete song. We were doing pre-pro with Chris and also the production within a very small window so it was a real test of my skills as a songwriter as to whether I could whip something up fairly quickly. Naturally I went to ‘Ok what is happening in my life at the moment’. At that point in time I had a very fresh friendship breakdown which I probably had never experienced since I was a teenager. It was also a somewhat working relationship, and I realised this person really had an influence on me that meant that over a long period of time my voice and opinions in this work situation had become quieter and quieter. Reflecting on that I was kind of angry with myself. Angry at them but more so angry at myself for being so submissive and letting them get to my own psyche because that is not who I am at all. I am very vocal normally about my opinions and everything. Other people don’t have to agree with me and that is totally cool as long as I feel like I have been heard. I think that is the basic human fundamental thing that we crave is just to be recognized and to be heard. That was the catalyst for the song but of course diving deeper into that and thinking about as well my role as a woman in the music industry and in the world I was thinking about other relationships where maybe I was stuck under someone’s thumb so to speak, which is one of the lyrics. Really it was a combination of several experiences, and also reflecting on being a woman in the music industry. If you listen to the song there is only a very subtle nod to that which is in the lyric “If you think I should smile” because often as woman we are told ‘Why don’t you smile more and look pretty and fit into this mould’. So there is a very subtle nod to that, but it was very prevalent on my mind. That is kind of my venting on all of that happening at that particular moment.
You can hear the anger in your vocals. I listened to the song with my headphones on and I was like ‘Woah Mon that is some heavy anger coming through there’.
Yeah. The scream was a different sort of scream actually that I had never tried before. This is another thing about working with Chris is he really pushed us outside of our comfort zone. This song was actually recorded back in December 2019 so its been kicking around for awhile. It was pre-Covid so all of us were in the studio and we were all mucking around as bands do, and I playfully yelled at one of the guys for something and this scream just kind of came out. Chris turned around and said, “Right you’re doing that in the song”. It is in no way a real screaming technique; I have since learned how to take that to a live setting so that I don’t hurt my voice, but what you are hearing is extremely raw. It’s not correct in terms of a vocal technique standpoint but it is what the song needed.
Absolutely it did! Like I said there was a lot of anger coming out in that scream.
Oh God I can’t wait to show you the rest of the EP then!
I’m so excited for this EP.
Yes. We already had ‘Like A Ghost’ which came out in October 2019, and we have released ‘Hindsight’ today and then we took the rest of 2020 to record three brand new tracks. We did that in between the lockdowns, mostly remotely actually with just one person allowed in the studio when we were legally able to. The rest of us just Zoomed in. It was a very disjointed process in some ways, but you can hear the progression I think. The EP is going to be called ‘Purgatory’, it’s really about being stuck in limbo, which I think a lot of us can relate to in 2020. The songs aren’t specifically about Covid, but I think Covid brought about some of those feelings. Feeling like your goals aren’t being achieved, your career is being stalled, maybe time is passing, and you are getting older. There is a real sense of this limbo, this purgatory.
We have a video coming out in a few weeks for ‘Hindsight’ so definitely keep an eye out for that. I think it is a really cool visual accompaniment from the angst and the darkness that you are getting from the song. That is definitely reflected in the video as well as our numetal influences.
As soon as I listened to it I was like this is different!
Yeah. We were originally going to release a whole bunch of singles, then we made the decision to go with the whole EP and I think that it was a good decision. I’m really proud of the body of work, there is a lot of diversity, but it also still sounds like a cohesive unit. Even though 2020 was really hard it enabled us to have this rebirth of the band, so I am very excited.
Check out ‘Hindsight’ at the links below: