Coastal Carolina student Bobby Blake Monroe has been playing in local bands since the age of 13.
The 22-year-old Grand Strand native was a progenitor of Attalaya, a group best described as a prog-rock band, which gained a respectable following in Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas.
Since the break-up of that band, he has been working on solo work which he describes as “more poppy” with a project called American Parts.
Monroe will play a two-set show with a full band Friday at Bourbon Street, 5307 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, featuring songs from both his solo and band work. I briefly interviewed him to understand this unsung local musician.
How did the collaboration between you and Garret Suggs of The Beatholes happen?
Garrett and I met a few years ago when he was playing in Sunday Sunday and I was playing in The Reigning Parade. I was sound checking with a Flight of the Conchords’ song and that's how our friendship started.
When I quit The Reigning Parade and started Attalaya he seemed interested in playing guitar for us so we had him come jam and we hit it off.
Whenever Attalaya broke up I knew that Garrett was also an awesome drummer so I asked him to do drums on the American Parts recordings. He's one of the best musicians in Myrtle Beach and we just really enjoy playing music together.
We'll probably be involved in each other’s projects for a long time.
In regard to your solo work, in what way is it a departure from or similar to what you did in Attalaya?
My solo stuff is obviously going to sound a little similar to Attalaya because I wrote all of the stuff for Attalaya, but I think it's a lot more mature, less focused on the rock and more on the pop aspects of the songs.
Not saying that they don't rock still, but it's not so aggressive.
Attalaya was a pretty dark band and my solo stuff, while it isn't necessarily happy, isn't as depressing. I'd say it's a lot more focused.With Attalaya I was drawing influences from a lot of places to try to figure out what was "my sound." and I think I've definitely found it.
There's going to be two Attalaya songs on the album I'm going to record in Nashville this summer, “Lancaster” and “Stay.” Those are two pretty good indicators as to what the solo stuff is like.
Where can people pick up the solo EP? What are the details with that?
The first solo EP is under the moniker American Parts and you can download it for free at http://americanparts.bandcamp.com/ Garrett did all the drums and keyboards on the record and I did all the guitar, bass, and vocals.
It's a really good indication as to the direction I'm going to take the full length and we'll be playing all the songs on this EP during the first set.
"New Chemistry" (featured on ListenUp here) will definitely be on the full length but in kind of a different form. I recorded the EP myself in our practice space and I really enjoy all the songs on it, they're the most honest songs I've ever written.
Word on the street is you're moving to Nashville. Why the move? Will this be the last time you'll be playing in MB?
I'll be moving to Nashville to attend Middle Tennessee State University for their recording program. I really want to own and operate my own recording studio someday and this is the first step towards that.
As far as this being the last time I'll be playing in Myrtle Beach, I don't really know. I might decide to do another show in town before I move in late July, but maybe I'll come back and play someday.
What can people expect from the show on Friday?
It's going to be a good time!
We'll be doing two sets, the first of all solo material/American Parts stuff and the second is an all Attalaya set.
On the first set it will be Garrett Suggs and Zack Williams from The Beatholes and I, and the Attalaya set Mark Kendree will step in on drums and Garrett will move to guitar.
For the Attalaya set we'll be busting out a lot of stuff we didn't really play that often before we broke up so it will be interesting to see how people react to it, or if they even remember it!