Cleveland's Ted Feighan, aka Monster Rally, produces music that is best described as "sample-based tropical pop." Ted began Monster Rally with the goal of assembling a bunch of old records into a completely different beast, combining his interests in hip-hop, exotica, tropicalia, and soul. Monster Rally creates tracks that manage to maintain a surprisingly organic sound, as if they were recorded by a full band on analog tape. There is something inherently nostalgic about the sound. We caught up with Ted this Summer and asked him to weigh in on touring (or lack of...), hobbies, travel and more. Check it out, and listen to his perfect sounds of Summer playlist curated exclusively for us.
Ted is also a collage artist and is responsible for all of the eclectic and vibrant artwork featured here.
What do you miss most about not being able to tour right now?
I really miss being able to connect with people through music in a physical environment. Since I make the music by myself and share it mostly online, I really cherish those moments of person to person interaction in relation to Monster Rally. That’s been hard, but people have been really great about reaching out to me on their own and that’s been really meaningful for me. On top of that, I just really love super loud music.
Do you have any new hobbies you've picked up while spending this much time around home?
I think like a lot of people, I’ve found myself exercising more as a way to relieve anxiety. I’ve also been doing a fair bit of cooking, trying some things that I’ve wanted to make for a while - I recently made gnocchi from scratch which was pretty delicious. Aside from that, I’ve mostly been increasing the time spent on my main interests, music and art.
What are 3 things you always have with you on the road?
Headphones: From the time I leave my house to go to the airport, until I get out of the car when I get back home, I probably only take my headphones out when I’m at my show and going to sleep. I mostly travel for shows by myself so it’s like my time to be alone with music. Because of this, the whole travel experience often feels pretty unreal, which can be cool and also a little strange.
Aleve: Not the coolest accessory, but unfortunately I’ve been dealing with migraines since I was a kid and they’re often triggered by flying so I have to keep this handy. I’ve played a lot of shows with a terrible migraine, but counter-intuitively, I normally feel better after performing.
My Topo Bags: Ever since getting my Topo bags, they’ve become a staple of my travel. I had been looking for a long time for a bag that would safely house my small live set up and my 40L Travel Bag is perfect. I like that I can carry it on the plane with me (I’ve had so much equipment broken after being checked on a flight), plus it fits my samplers and vinyl. I love it. (This is an unsolicited response, ha I truly love this bag).
Favorite place you’ve traveled?
Hands down, my favorite place is Big Sur, CA. There is just something so inspiring and almost magical about the landscape there, the mountains, cliffs, ocean, plants and even the smell are unlike anyplace else that I’ve traveled to. My wife and I used to travel there quite a bit when we still lived in LA, so it's a special place for my family as well.
Author/artist/musician that has influenced you the most?
I’m very inspired by Brian Wilson. Pet Sounds remains probably the most important album of my life and studying his creative work has really been influential to my own creative output. Just in terms of being moved emotionally by music, some of his compositions are so powerful, while others are just playful and silly, listening to them always makes we want to go create something myself.
Tell us a bit about Valley Cruise Press
I started Valley Cruise Press about 6 years ago with the goal of sharing the work of artists who I love and helping to create cool items with them. We started by making zines and art books, then we really grew when we started making pins and patches. These days it’s run by my wife Kelley and I and we mostly produce home goods, apparel and accessories. We still work with artists on cool limited edition collaborations. We’ve also started donating 100% of our sales on the 8th of each month to various organizations that we believe are doing good in the world.
Learn more about Monster Rally, and check out the latest release, Castaways, Vol. 1 at Gold Robot.