Welcome back, you guys! Let’s be honest, how long have you really been back together?
Mike: Are we going to be honest? Should we tell the truth?
Ben: I know the answer!
Jerry: What is the answer?
Mike: Can I say?
Jerry: Yeah you can say.
Mike: When we were practicing for the last show, the last Moneta show ever…Let me preface this by saying we understand how confusing this whole thing can be. It really was not our intention. When we were practicing for it, it was the Heroes lineup back in the same room and it felt so good and magical. I know that sounds cheesy.
Mike: No, it felt the way that music is supposed to feel in your heart. It felt so perfect and good. We played the final show and a couple months after that, we broached the topic with each other. I guess, like, “do you guys want to start jamming again maybe? Just to see if there’s anything there?”
Leo: The thing that people don’t realize is that we technically broke up in January 2011, but we didn’t play our farewell show until April. We went three whole months without even looking at each other or talking before we, like Mike said, got the Heroes lineup back in that jam room. We wanted to have everyone that had been in the history of the band play that night. The whole thing is that we never really wanted the band to end. It was just, at the time, there was a culmination of stuff going on in everyone’s personal lives that took center stage and we all had really heavy things we had to deal with. We never really wanted it to end, but it was kind of out of our hands. After that farewell show, Mike posts this thing on Facebook that says, “This is the band I was born to be in.” And I’m like, “Ah shit.” Because I obviously felt the same way, but yeah, we kind of brought up the topic and thought about it lightly. It wasn’t until a couple months later that we got together, started talking, and trying to get all of our views and agendas on the same page before we ever even played a note of music with each other. We wanted to make sure we were all going in the same direction and had the same goals. That was one of the problems with some of the previous lineups. Everyone was on a different page.
Now Ben, how did you come to be in the band?
Ben: Mike came to me when they were broaching the subject, as he was talking about. I know Mike was basically really interested in making music again and he wanted to get people together to jam and make music. He had put up a couple of his own songs online and he asked me if I wanted to play with them, which I said, “Of course, I’d love to do bass on whatever you want to do.” We tentatively set that up and then he calls me up a little while after that and says, “So I’ve been talking to the others guys, y’know Jerry and Leo, and we think we might want to start playing music again. Would you still want to be part of that?” I’m just like, “Uh, yeah!” That was way before they had even said that it was Moneta. It was kind of just like everyone was going to jam again and he asked me my opinion on that, he was like, “What would you think if we re-formed Moneta and you were part of it?” I said, “That would be amazing to be part of.” I was definitely excited for that. That’s how I came to be. I showed up to practice the first time and Jerry goes, “Welcome to Moneta.” And that’s that.
Leo: It didn’t hurt that he had learned every song we had for his audition, either.
You guys recorded a full-length, filmed a music video, did a full band photoshoot, all in complete secrecy. Has it been killing you guys to not tell anyone?
Ben: It was really hard, especially for me since I hadn’t been doing anything.
Mike: You couldn’t even tell people you were in the band!
Ben: It was really heard for me because I hadn’t been in Moneta before so people would be like, “So what are you up to these days?” And I had to pretty much go, “Really exciting stuff coming up soon. Pay attention, remember this conversation six months from now because we’re going to have a great laugh about this.”
Jerry: We had to coordinate our tweets.
You couldn’t post pictures.
Jerry: No, “Hey on my way to practice!” Or any of that shit. We couldn’t post anything. I actually think it was for the best.
Mike: It was fun. The pay off was really cool.
Leo: It was really worth it.
Mike: We all got together in the same house on the night we dropped it and we were just all so pumped. We’re getting texts and calls and stuff like that.
Mike: It was funny. A couple of our mutual friends were like, “Dude you son-of-a-bitch!” kind of texts.
Ben: “How the hell could you not tell me?!”
Leo: I came up with the date of December 30th strategically because I knew that high school and college kids were off from school for winter break, so it’s like, all these people had been staring at their families for four days around Christmas and were sick of looking at them. Y’know, tired of being in the house and going crazy, so what a better time to capture such a wide group of people that are our audience.
Ben: That was one of the first things we kind of talked about at the first or second practice when we got back together, “Why don’t we wait to tell people when we have everything done, if we can last that long?” Because it’s like, ‘OK Moneta’s back! Pay attention in six months when we have music.’ Instead it was, ‘OK we have everything ready for you right now.’
Mike: Yeah that had been an idea between Leo and I, of basically trying to get all the merch, all the videos, all the–basically, we had never done a full-length together as a band and I think everyone that has been a part of it has really regretted that. I feel like we’ve always wanted to do a full-length but have gotten so excited about the songs we’re doing that we end up doing EPs. To be able to do that and then we were like, “Why don’t we take it a step further and do something else we’ve never done like see if we can keep it a secret for a long time and drop everything at the same time.”