Mons La Hire is an indie rock band based in Corvallis, OR comprising Daniel Watkins (guitar/vocals/keyboards), Suzanne Watkins (bass/vocals/violin), Greg Miller (drums).
The band formed in 2015 as Daniel and Suzanne Watkins relocated from Philadelphia, PA to Corvallis, OR, and put out a Craigslist ad looking for people who could play Paranoid Android.
Up until May 2017, Daniel was the primary songwriter for the band, taking his influences from a wide range of guitar rock, from the meandering stories of Belle and Sebastian and the folk-grounded guitar freakouts of Wilco to the directness of the Strokes. New members Ida and Julia are also songwriters, and the band has evolved as they have made their voices present. Greg Miller (no relation to Julia) joined on drums in summer 2018.
Mons La Hire’s debut album, An Ad Hoc Ecosystem, was released on March 1, 2016. The album was composed in response to the RPM Challenge, that is, the album was composed and recorded solely during the month of February. The lyrics are a collage of phrases from books and other print materials ranging from Billy Collins’ poetry and Ray Bradbury’s prose to the comedic adventure stories of Daniel Pinkwater.
The follow-up to An Ad Hoc Ecosystem, the Warning Lights EP, arrived on May 19, 2017. It features live favorites Timothy Everett (Is Late For Work) and Parallels, a new power pop version of the Garden (which originally appeared on An Ad Hoc Ecosystem), and three brand new songs: Moriah (in the Land of Milk and Honey), Rumors, and Warning Lights. Ida Jane and Julia Miller joined the band just prior to the release of Warning Lights.
Work on the follow up to Warning Lights began in April 2018. The EP Kind of Neutral, Kind of Blue was released on CD and cassette on October 26, 2018. Most of it was recorded at Western Oregon University by Cole Johnston, with supplementary recording done at Daniel’s house in Corvallis. The first track, “Waking Up in Oregon” was the #1 played song on KBVR 88.7 Corvallis for Fall 2018.
The EP Lucky to Be Alive arrived August 15th. Recorded in Daniel and Suzanne’s living room by Sam Lay using his mobile recording studio, the EP features live favorites “Lucky” and “Don’t Waste My Time” as well as a brand-new song, “No Promised Land,” featuring Daniel with a solo piano accompaniment, and a driving cover of the Beatle’s classic “I’m So Tired”.
Ida and Julia left the band in fall 2019 in order to pursue new projects (Ida Jane and the Weekend Gardeners and Diner Breakfast, respectively). Ida Jane’s debut album, Through Glass We See, was recorded by Daniel over the course of a year and released September 16, 2019.
2020 was a strange year for everyone. Mons La Hire spent the year writing new music, pining for a world that was, and making plans for the future. The song Heavy Light Pollution was released December 21, 2020, as the first single from their upcoming album Retire the Modern Self (coming in late summer 2021).
A Fresh, New Mons La Hire – Roman Battaglia (KBVR-FM Cassette)
Warning Lights EP Review – Johnny Beaver (The Corvallis Advocate)
Mons La Hire returns with a new EP – Roman Battaglia (KBVR-FM Cassette)
Music To Be Heard – Samantha Lopez (Oregon State University Barometer)
Lucky – Mons La Hire – Come Here Floyd single review