The Rose Monarch’s April Rose: “I wish everyone who makes art could live off of their art”

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April Rose fronts The Rose Monarch, a new power-house rock band from Long Island with an “eccentric and dark modern-rock sound.”

In support of the band’s new EP Echoes from the End, April spilled tea on being an indie band, being a woman in an indie band and death.

What inspired the band name ‘The Rose Monarch’?

AR: Back in 2016, we had written and produced a few songs with Ace Enders before we branded ourselves with a name. The songs we developed were lush and soft, but also had really strong and tough elements. So essentially we brainstormed a ton of different words that mimicked that contrast. We were shooting for something regal and memorable – so “The Rose Monarch” seemed like the right fit when we kept saying it to each other. Also, there were many strong women in my lineage with the first name of “Rose,” (as well as it being a part of my name) so it sort of pays homage to that as well. At the end of the day though, we all believe that you create what your band name means over time – so it really could’ve been anything. This just worked for us.

Where did the title of your EP Echoes from the End come from? What does that statement symbolize?

AR: Echoes From the End was the first body of work that we ever named together and it was NOT easy. Ultimately, Jared (drums/brother) and I were brainstorming via text with Matt (bass/band mediator) and we both texted each other our idea for this title at the same time. I have screenshots to prove it! We knew we wanted something along the lines of “Dying Can Help You Live,” “Songs About Death For Living,” all of the ideas leading up to the final title sounded like bad titles for psychology articles and self-help books…

So, the sentiment ‘Echoes from the End’ can be easily translated to: what happens after the end of an event or a moment? Are there moments after the end? Of course. The songs on this EP sort of helped us formulate this title as many of the lyrics and ideas are very conclusive and observatory of something highly specific that has passed or been birthed from the ending of a moment.

What inspired the EP’s theme of “mortality and death on an intimate level”?

AR: The first three singles we released were totally centred around love and heartbreak – which is usually my go-to for writing and singing. However, the subject became stale to me. I was so over being upset and angry. I entered this phase of extreme awareness of who I was and who I could ultimately be. For the first time ever – I was “going through the motions,” living with less of a purpose than I had in the past, because I had to only focus on me and my needs. It was a lonely feeling for about a year, but I realized that people have really been listening to what we’ve been putting out and I wanted to share this awareness of mortality as a positive thing. You can’t just ride on feelings for your entire life, you need a careful balance of awareness and intelligence to help guide you. I learned that through making this EP and through the year that we spent writing it. The theme developed itself around what I was going through, it seems.

What do you think happens after death? Why do you think society fears it so much?

AR: I have faith in a higher being, but I truly don’t think any categorization of “afterlife” is comprehensible to anyone who’s on this earth. I think afterlife is a projection that we’ve created, it feels nice to know that we will be welcomed into another world one day. It’s scary to not know what’s next… whether its tomorrow or 80 years from now, it’s natural. I think society fears loss because we are all a part of a larger ecosystem that interacts and reacts alongside each other. Although we are becoming more anti-social with introduction of different technologies and alternate realities, I believe we naturally crave some sort of community and leaving that community for an unknown afterlife is frightening.

You’re currently an indie band, but would you ever go down the ‘traditional’ route of signing with a major label and hiring a manager?

AR: Absolutely. We’re all really into creating our initiatives and content as a band, but it would be really amazing to collaborate with some indie labels and teams of people that support artists that we love and have watched grow throughout the years.

What issues are indie bands facing in today’s music industry?

AR: I don’t know what most indie bands deal with, personally – but the hardest thing for us (and I presume mostly everyone else) is funding our own project. We attempt to execute most things that a ‘famous’ band would and hold all of our output to a professional standard. We tend to treat the result of every project as if we had an entire creative team, label, management company, booker, accountant and designers. We have developed a small team over time – but things are still really hectic. Luckily our friends are always gracious about offering some of their services for cheap or free, because they love it just like we do (but most of the time don’t accept their graciousness and pay them anyway)

The Rose Monarch only launched in July 2016 and yet you’ve already secured quite a few slots as opening acts. Which performance were you the most anxious about?

AR: Yeah! We got really lucky. I’d say I was the most nervous for our last show at Webster Hall, opening for Eisley, Civilian & Backwards Dancer. Mostly because I remember how many people were at the first Webster Hall show we played – so I knew I’d have a lot of people to intrigue and impress. That show wound up being one of my favorites that I’ve ever played.

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Have you noticed any differences in representations between mainstream and indie female musicians?

AR: It’s hard to say. I think women and female identifying people have it really tough being properly represented in any industry, especially the music industry… especially the ROCK music industry. I just recently spoke to a friend who sells merch and tours with huge bands and we shared our stories about not feeling immediately welcomed or being looked past as ‘just some chick with the band.’ It seems like we’re always having to prove ourselves a little bit more, regardless of how mainstream or indie.

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

AR: Maybe I’d say… I wish everyone who makes art could live off of their art. The barriers to entry fluctuate quite often, so being lucky is a huge element of the industry. Every negative thing I think to say already of exists within many other industries: misogyny, poor representation, politics, over-saturation, digitization ruining profits and/or jobs. So I guess those are some things I’d change about the world in general.

Call me crazy, but it’s kind of like getting married… you’ll never find a person that doesn’t upset you or get you down once in a while. Ideally, the person you’re with will bring you up 99.5% of the time. Every industry has its quirks, this is the one I picked – ‘til death do us part.

Which country would you like to perform in the most?

AR: I want to travel all around the world if possible, but I really want to visit and play in Japan!

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Do any female musicians influence you in any way?

AR: Of course, it will be hard to name them all but some of my go-tos are Brittany Howard, Laura Jane Grace and Pink! I love the flawlessness, talent and rawness of Brittany Howard – frontwoman of Alabama Shakes. Laura Jane Grace has an incredible story and has been writing rebellious and fearless anthems since age 16. Pink is just sexy, strong and her music has always had themes that have resonated with me.

What does The Rose Monarch stand for, as artists?

AR: It’s hard to lump all of our ideas and outlooks into one general message but regardless of how different we are – we all share the same vision and interest in becoming a creative machine that is truly larger than life. We’ve always wanted to be musical and thoughtful as well as palatable to the mainstream listener. At the end of the day, we’re all a bunch of friends that were lucky enough to find each other and grew up playing music together. Along the way we decided that we could invest our trust, patience, time and money into one another and we’re still going.

There is no hidden agenda, message or pressing statement that we wish to make. But we certainly hope that creating music with introspective themes, facilitating safe shows to attend and working hard without fear of failing, inspires listeners in our corner of the world to get up and push themselves to live in their absolute TRUTH!

Where do you see the band in five years?

AR: Somewhere giant, loud and filled with happy people cheering for us. I also want to be touring more frequently and for longer periods of time! I love where we are at now, I just want to keep going!

Photography in featured image by Jack Nesbitt. Connect with The Rose Monarch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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