How rewarding to be inspired by an artist and discover that they excel in not one but two creative disciplines. Such was the case for my experience with the work of Ted Feighan (collage artist) aka Monster Rally (instrumentalist/producer). After being dazzled by his exotic visual art creations, I learned about the tropical instrumentals of Monster Rally. Taking to the rainforests and jungles, coastlines and waterfalls, the vintage beached vision crosses both mediums, complimenting each other nicely. Fresh off of his full length (Flowering Jungle, December) as well as a split single (Flight to the Jungle, February), I spoke with the multi-disciplinary artist about, you guessed it, collage art and music.
How long have you been working on collage art?
I've been making collage work in some form since I started high school, so almost fifteen years. I started making digital collage pieces for different bands and music projects I had back in the day and moved to analog paper collage when I around 20, so ten years ago.
Your pieces are often on the beach or somewhere exotic. Have you always preferred the tropics?
I've always had an interest in the exotic culture and tropical visuals. When I started my music project, Monster Rally, I was buying all of these old tropical themed records with the intention of sampling them and I fell in love with the Imagery. Originally I was trying to create an environment and world that the music I had made would live inside of.
Speaking of Monster Rally, you're not only a collage artist but also a producer/musician. Have you been involved in music longer than visual art?
Definitely. I started playing music basically as soon as I was able to get my hands on any instrument. That's not to say that I was particularly skilled at playing any of them, but I've been making my own compositions since I was a kid.
Is it hard to split time between the two passions?
It can be, but most of the time it's pretty organic. I'm often working on everything at the same time. I'll be working on music and will play a lot of it back while I'm working on artwork to get some ideas for the songs. The two processes really feed into each other. I'll make some visual work that will inspire the vibe to a music project and vise versa.
What is the origin behind the name Monster Rally?
It's the title to a book of old comics by Chas Addams (the Addams Family guy). I found the book several years ago at my grandmas house, it was my mom's when she was growing up. I love the name and knew I wanted to use it for my next music project.
How does this musical project compare/contrast to past releases?
Flowering Jungle has a concept all its own, in addition to the overall concept of the Monster Rally project. This album has really been inspired by nature, both real and imagined as well as my mental state during the recording of the album in the past year. It's meant to be a auditory guide through this jungle landscape, meeting the natives and interacting with the creatures.
What are some studio essentials?
Coffee, for sure [laughs]. X-Acto knives, a turntable and great stack of records. Plants, light and a breeze from open windows, that ideally doesn't blow away all your paper. SP404 sampler, bass guitar, as many hand percussion instruments I can find. And when the time is right, bourbon.
Outside of your own art/music, who are some artists you've been enjoying as of late?
I've been digging back through a lot of the records I left at home when I moved to LA, and now that I'm back in Cleveland it's been cool to rediscover some music through my own collection. There has been lots of rotation on The Beach Boys, George Harrison, James Brown, David Bowie, Rolling Stones. Mostly classics.
Do you have any advice for artists working on their craft?
Just keep making things. Don't get to caught up in concepts or what other people are doing. Just follow the ideas that motivate you the most and never stop creating.
Any final thoughts / words of wisdom? Thank you!
Stay positive and don't let other people's negativity hinder your work or crush your spirit.