Interview with Mario Welke of THE MONOLITH

Mario Welke is a composer and guitarist from Berlin who runs a melodic death metal project Monolith, founded in 2018. To date, Monolith released EP’s “The Titan and the Rat” and “Vermin Among Us.” The full-length album “Daddy Plague” is set for a release on November 29th, and about it we talked with Welke.

Hey Mario. How are you doing?

Hey there, I am fine thank you. I hope you are doing well too.

You are about to launch an album with your project Monolith entitled “Daddy Plague.” How do you feel about the release?

I am really excited but also nervous because this is the first time I am releasing a full length album. But it’s also very fun to see what people think about the songs and so far the feedback I received for my EPs have been mostly positive so I cannot wait to hear what people think of the new songs.

How much of a challenge was to work on the album?

I found a pretty good process for how to write new songs and rehearse them by now so that works well. However, since I have no band with me I have a few different challenges. The biggest being the recording sessions. First of all, I have to carry all the equipment myself so I am exhausted before I even got to the studio. When recording all the instruments and the bulk of the vocals it also means you have hardly any breaks. That is why I usually take a day or two off after that. But for me there is hardly a better feeling than hearing your songs coming to live step by step in the studio.

Monolith - Daddy Plague Artwork

What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from Berlin / Germany are you friends with?

Empire of Giants comes to mind first. One of their singers, Kira Albers also provided the lyrics/vocals for the song “Justified”. They are an incredible hard-working band and seeing them live is pretty much a great time guaranteed.

What is your opinion about the current metal scene?

It has become really versatile, especially when going to local concerts the amount of fresh ideas is huge. The subgenre discussion in metal can be quite tiresome but the mixing of all these genres is just a total blast. Also, we have so much more possibilities to work with other musicians through the internet. That might not fit to just metal but music in general, but I believe that is really exciting. For instance, for the track “World Behind” Andreas Joklitschke did the lyrics/vocals and we have never even seen each other. He lives on the other side of Germany, so we only talked via phone and text messages and he send me his recordings which I then brought into the studio. It’s exciting to see how other people already used these possibilities and I love to see the collaboration work you sometimes see on the big metal youtubers.

Can you tell me something about your influences?

My start into making music was certainly a bit odd. When I was a teenager, I wished for a guitar hero game for Christmas. However, my father said he doesn’t want to buy me that, so instead he got me a real guitar which kicked off my enthusiasm to making music pretty quick.

Around that time the only band I constantly listened to was Korn, they were my introduction into heavier music. Nowadays I’d say my biggest influences are Misery Index and Amon Amarth.

What are you listening to these days?

A lot of Amon Amarth. I’m seeing them in December and I am very exciting to get into the pit!

Your 5 favourite records of all the time?

In no particular order:

Misery Index – Heirs to Thievery
Necrophagist – Epitaph
Nico Vega – Nico Vega
Five Finger Death Punch – The Way of the Fist
Gojira – From Mars to Sirius

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you used to record “Daddy Plague”?

On the drums I used:

– Meinl Classics custom cymbals.
– Pearl 14″ Sensitone Premium snare.
– DW 5004TD5 Double bass drum pedal
– Tama shell set

The bass has been recorded with:

– Ibanez SR500
– Ampeg v4b

The guitars have been recorded with:

– Ibanez RG550-RF Guitar
– Crate Blue Voodoo 120H
– Randall Diavlo RD 45H

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

I already started writing new songs, those are only in the very early stages though. For the new songs I am also aiming to explore the possibilities of working with people around the world a bit more.

Another topic of course is live concerts, I always loved playing live but it’s obviously not really possible to play all the instruments at the same time on stage so that might be the next big project for Monolith.

Any words for the potential new fans?

I hope you enjoy “Daddy Plague” as much as I did when writing it.

Follow Monolith on Facebook and Instagram.