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Jason Silver



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Have you met The Monarch Projects JO BOUDREAU yet

POST DATE: Thursday, January 17, 2013
TAGS:Monarch-Project,JO-BOUDREAU
Written, photographed by Lauren Olson

Regulars at Homegrown can usually pick Jo Boudreau out of a crowd without a lot of effort. First impressions of this dark, willowy frontman is that this is a soft spoken, straight-faced  and serious young musician, but after about 5 minutes you start to realize there's a lot more goof here than meets the eye. We approached Boudreau to do an interview, sort of to feel out what he'd like to talk about, and he doesn't skip a beat. "I have a single coming out," he said, adding with some mischief,  "And I want people to come to the show."
The Monarch Project (which also includes members Jose Batista, James Rae Girt and Rob Nagy)  is poised to release their newly pressed 7" single, A Better Part Of You at Homegrown on January 18th. Produced and mixed by Roman Marcone, mastered by Joe Lambert,  pressed by United Records - there's a lot of well deserved hype here.
It'd be too obvious to say The Monarch Project sounds like Oasis, but they do - if Oasis was genetically modified to include the better qualities of Sam Roberts, George Harrison and The Verve. The heavy influences of Brit Pop may be be easy to identify, but after chatting with Boudreau about everything from recording to the aesthetic right down to the sticker on the record itself, you know there is way more going on in the layers of The Monarch Project sound.



Can you tell us a bit about your influences?
There's a heavy influence from 90's Brit Pop and I think there's also a pretty significant influence in the sound of the guitars from 60's pop.  I just love the sound of the guitars from the 60's, just the jangle…  You know. A lot of 7th's. A Better Part Of You, the single, is build around a D7th and that chord to me sounds like The Birds or early club-style Beatles. There is a quality to the way all of it was recorded back then that was very natural sounding. There's a lot of space in the recordings from that period, you can hear between all the instruments.

Do you think you pulled off a sound like that for the single?
I wish, that's impossible.

How was it in the studio?
It was very quick and we were prepared. We knew exactly how the song went, and there was a big focus on just getting the song right. We played the whole thing live off the floor, minus the tambourine track, which was really difficult.

The tambourine was the hard part? How come?
It's really fast. It's like ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch. I was using a tambourine that was too big, and Marcone got me a smaller one that was like a half moon. There's also a trippy lead guitar at the end on the vinyl that is really far out and was a challenge. It was mastered for 5.1 surround. It's triply as hell. It trips me out. Very Beatle-esque.

What do your friends think?
I don't ask them. They're very supportive though. All my friends helped me with the single. Ashley Ince took all the visuals I'd accumulated and arranged it. She was very patient with me and she just dealt with my particularities and organized everything and made it look this way. The sticker on the record looks great when it's spinning, because its perfectly symmetrical. The one that I drew didn't have all the little perfect circles, but she just did her thing and its triply when its rotating. Peter Rogers took the cover photo. My very good friend Tim Lidster provided some finances for the pressing of the vinyl, and of course all the members of the band contributed to the recording.

The insert has a picture of a sky. What's the relevance of that?
The sky picture in the insert was taken in France, before we started recording. I was going down the highway in Provence and everyone in the van was asleep. The driver was listening to The Verve, and I was in my own world. "A Man Called Sun" came on and there was something about that moment - I completely lost myself to my surroundings. The delay effect on Richard Ashcroft's voice was enough to send me off into space and I saw the sun peeking behind the cloud, so I grabbed my Lomography Fisheye camera and I just started snapping photos and one of them came out perfect.

So many specifics! Do you think you're hard to work with?
I think I'm very difficult to work with and these guys just accept that I am borderline obsessive compulsive. They just… I don't know. I can tell when I'm stressing them out and I try to not be a jackass.

How OCD are we talking?
I notice whenever anybody movies my R2D2 figurine in my apartment. If it's out of place I know.

So what happens if someone moves it?
It just can't be anywhere else. It's in the spot I put it because it's perfectly placed.
If it's out of place, the whole hallway - you know the fung shui of the hallway, is thrown off and they don't understand the flow of the space. It's a space where you greet people and guide people into the next room.

Would you be willing to tell me more about the rumored Jo Boudreau shoe fetish?
Yeah, the shoe fetish is for real. I got this pair…. Okay. They're called Beatle boots. They're Italian Male Stilettos basically, with a zipper on the inside. They're crazy looking. Anyway they were manufactured in 1964-  something like that - and I have a pair of them coming from California right now and I'm stoked about it.

So how many shoes are we talking here?
Including moccasins and slippers? I don't know.

That's absurd, no?
This whole thing is absurd. Everything is absurd all the time.

How do you feel about the evolution of your stage presence?
Well, this whole thing is just a learning process. Before I started playing with these guys, I had never sung with a band before, so it's just about learning and growing. That's why I call it The Monarch Project, it's just a stage in my life.

Why did you choose to release at Homegrown?
This is the place where I started everything. I started my first band here, I started performing here, it's just a good place for growth and development and its a very supportive space as well. If I'm going to promote a big show, this is where I'd want to bring people to to share an important moment for me in my life.

And folks can buy a copy of the 7" at the show, right?
Yes. They can buy it at the show, there's copies at Dr.Disc, or they can buy it on our bandcamp.

Last words?
Peace and love man. Oh and this is the last show I'm playing with the band and then we're breaking up

Really?
No.

Don't miss The Monarch Project with guests The Human Race, The Rosy Red and Haolin Munk on January 18th at Homegrown Hamilton.
https://www.facebook.com/events/437129163023822/
http://themonarchproject.bandcamp.com/



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