Margarita Monet seems the perfect specimen of the modern career girl on her way up the corporate ladder; professionally dressed, hair done neatly, just enough make-up on her porcelain complexion and very soft-spoken. Born in Armenia, Monet moved to Moscow as a small child then to Texas, New York and finally, Los Angeles. She is a classical pianist since age four. There is not a tattoo on her body and she is well versed in several languages as well as teaching classical music by day. She embodies all that is the perfect example of a wholesome young lady. And while there’s no denying she is a lady, the night reveals her differently when she stands before a crowd, on stage, as the lead vocalist of the metal band, Edge Of Paradise. According to Monet, Edge Of Paradise is all about living on the edge; life being portrayed as what one may call their own paradise but underneath the surface lies a volatile existence that can take you right out of the game.
Monet formed Edge Of Paradise with fellow musician and guitarist Dave Bates in 2011, after meeting on a freelance project they were both hired to work on with a producer from Los Angeles and they clicked. Their sound can best be described as an aggressive, knockout punch of industrial heavy metal with Bates guitar playing pulling from his jazz and classic roots while Monet cites her main influence as Ronnie James Dio. Bates, like Monet, also came to the table with an academic background having graduated from the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California. Bates had already been making music in a band called Bleed, with singer Robin McAuley (MSG, Survivor), bassist Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) and drummer Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani). He had amassed quite a large catalog of music, which turned out to be a blessing when Monet entered the picture. At this point, they have achieved quite a number of goals in the last year yet Edge Of Paradise is truly still in their infancy, but things are moving right along. “The band came together very quickly,” says Bates, “we moved quick because we had a lot of music to master. Originally I met these guys and went in to do an instrumental piece, I had gotten offers from overseas labels to do licensing deals but it just doesn’t pay; I didn’t want to give my music away so I held on to these ideas, we reworked them and you know, we had a lot to start with right away.”
Both Monet and Bates teach music as their day jobs to fund their dream and both are consistently watching the industry for all the changes as they are very aware what it takes to make the dream a reality. “We used to do this thing with our students, called the Rock Shop,” Bates says with a smile, “kind of like School of Rock; we’d book a gig and have a bunch of students play with us. It was cool and fun; everybody had fun. But now, I have asked myself why do I want to write music or why do I want to play guitar. What do I want to accomplish? You want a legacy…your music grows the more you write and just like anything else, you become better and better at the art form; and I’ve worked with other bands and people telling you what to do is not cool.”
“Because if you’re an artist you’ll find ways to keep what you love going…we both teach,” continues Bates. “I teach at a music school and she teaches at a music school. And you make what ever you can off your music but in a year and just by being self-funded, keeping the vision of the band and forming it into its own entity; like a Zeppelin or a Sabbath…they grew into what we know them as today, they just didn’t ‘become’ who they are today. So fortunately, I feel we’ve started to do that because we have to do it ourselves. There’s no other way. Once the material gets to a certain point, it will be timeless enough that people will buy it at some point. We’re moving along; look, we got Michael Wagner; I remember growing up, listening to that; he did Master of Puppets.”
“Right now we are investing a lot into the band,” says a soft-spoken Monet with an impish smile, “we have this one song, In A Dream, it’s a great song and we’re creating something very original; a new sound. Of course it’s going to have all types of different influences in it. We’re creating a great show too, so if you put together something really good people will be attracted to it. So right now we’re putting everything we’ve got into this thing and we’ve seen a lot of growth and we’ve seen the growth because more people keep contacting us. It’s really cool it’s like raising a kid.”
With the addition of drummer Gene McEwen (Armed Forces, Steel Profit) and bassist Kurt Sheaffer, the lineup for Edge Of Paradise was complete. September 2011 saw the release of Mask, the band’s debut LP. The CD debuted at #6 at metal radio and without fail, continued to hover around the top 40 finishing the year at #41 on the loud chart. The band was also the special Guest at Manny Paquiao’s, Paquiao vs. Mosley after fight party, at the Mandalay Bay Arena and they did a cover of Saints Of Los Angeles for a Mötley Crüe Compilation CD on Versailles Records. As soon as 2012 opened its doors for business, Edge of Paradise started to write music immediately to show that the band’s sound was maturing as well as defining who they were at that point. All the different influences that each member of the band brought to the table, has helped to form their sound from classical to blues, metal and hardcore. The band will be releasing a new single mixed by the legendary Michael Wagener, best known for his work with hard rock and heavy metal bands of the late 80s such as Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears and Metallica’s Master of Puppets.
While the band gets ready to release new music in 2013, they’re on tour for the rest of the year and having a great time. They co-headlined with Kamelot at the Ventura Theater, in Ventura, California, earlier this month and co-headlining at a Halloween Music festival in Hawaii, on October 28, 2012. “Yeah, I can’t wait that’s going to be cool,” Bates said with a smile. “We’ll be performing on the 28th, at the Halloween party that they’re having.”
“Oh that’s going to be fun!” said an excited Monet. “It’s the first Annual Music Festival and Conference show. Abby St. John runs a big music scene over there and his wife teaches at the university over there so he’s organizing this big festival with fashion, art. He’s got a lot of sponsors so he’s trying to give birth to this festival and do it every year, from now on.”
Hawaii did not go as planned. Currently, severe weather patterns are reaping havoc all along the eastern seaboard and the ripple effect is very wide-spread. Monet kept in touch and the events were surprising. “Hawaii is awesome!” said Monet. “There was a big earthquake in Canada. It was like 7.7 and they said that the earthquake caused this huge wave. All the sirens were going off everywhere, it was pretty crazy! We got stuck on a mountain all night though. There was supposed to be a tsunami and they evacuated the whole coast and the festival we were playing got cancelled! Because it was on the beach, they cancelled it so we ended up playing three local clubs in one night, it was great! I guess we really had an adventure. It’s very beautiful here so we’ll just be acting like crazy tourists till when we get back.”
Monet, Bates and the rest of their band seem to be closing 2012 on a little roller coaster ride; but that’s what happens when you gain momentum at a high rate of speed yet there’s no doubt they can handle it; that free fall feeling of lightness as you loop through the air, is one of the most liberating sensations; just close your eyes and walk to the Edge Of Paradise.