The Monochrome Set

On the 27 May at The Crescent, British post-punk legends The Monochrome Set return to York for the first time in five years. In anticipation of their return, we posed a few questions to lead singer and songwriter Bid about his influences, his love of language and the possibility of a support slot from Adele.

By Jane Howkins

You’re embarking on a European tour between March and May, including a stop at the Crescent Community Venue in York on 27 May. A lot of bands skip over York when touring and prefer to go to Leeds – do you enjoy playing in this area?

Yes, we do, but York and Leeds aren’t right next door to each other! In any case, smaller cities like York often cover a wider area, in the sense that people in the greater surrounding area will often travel to York, but not Leeds. It’s a bit like Preston and Manchester.

Do you have any support acts set up for the tour yet, and if not, who would you like to tour with?

We usually pick up support bands in the cities we play. I think Adele should support us, as we might make more money – though she’d have to provide backline.

What can people expect from a Monochrome Set gig, and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?

We’re genuinely different, and fun.

You originally formed as a band back in London in 1978, before breaking up for the first time in 1985. You’ve had a few reformations since then, with the most recent one being your current stint, starting in 2010. What do you think of the current music scene compared to when you first started out, and how do you think has it changed over the years?

The music scene will never be as good as in the ’70s, as many more people went out to see gigs and bought records. The scene now is much better than it was in the ’90s, and has reached a fairy healthy plateau. However, I still think young bands have a very tough time getting anywhere.

What acts were you influenced by back in 1978, and how has your music taste changed over the years? Who have you been listening to recently that you would recommend our readers check out?

I guess it was mainly late ’60s US bands. My taste hasn’t really changed, but widened. I don’t really listen to a lot of music, though.

What was it that made you want to reform the band back in 2010? Had you been writing new music previous to reforming?

I was already in my previous band, Scarlet’s Well, when TMS were offered a tour of Japan. I planned to keep both bands going, but I had a cerebral aneurysm, and didn’t feel up to running both. Finishing Scarlet’s Well was the right thing to do, as it was perhaps already reaching a natural conclusion.

You released an album last September titled Cosmonaut. What can you tell us about that, and why do you think people should listen to it if they haven’t already?

Well, people say that it’s one of the best albums we’ve done – actually, I think it is the best. It has the full range of what the band is about, though that is difficult to describe!

You had a couple of line-up changes that came into full effect on Cosmonaut, with previous members John Paul Moran and Mike Slocombe recording with you. How did it feel to have them back on board?

Very good, it’s a very happy band at the moment, but it could become murderous at any second.

Have you started writing any material for your next release, and if so, how is that going?

I have, but I don’t know where it’s going yet. I’ll make sense of it a bit later.

Do you have any last words for the fans?

I have some words that I’d like to see as last words in a novel: dodecahedron, gumfiating, plumous, ecdysiast, merkin.

The Monochrome Set play at The Crescent Community Venue on 27 May 2017.