An Interview with Monark
3 x SAMA-nominated band Monark has just release a new album! Followed by their debut album, Negatives, 6 consecutive Top 10 singles and the SAMA nominations, the 4 guys have now release their self-titled album, MONARK.
I caught up with Graeme Wuth from the band to talk about the new album, upcoming shows and a few other things.
Hi guys, thanks for the chat, and congrats on the new album released today. What is the new album about, and who worked with you on it?
Hey, good to chat. If you think of the first album, Negatives, as a first date, where everything is clean and played safe, the second album lets into a little more of Monark is all about. Hence the self title album – we are saying, “This is us.” We wrote and produced it ourselves. We’re lucky to have Ewald, who has produced albums for some big names, in the band. And Eugene has a knack for writing great melodies and hooks.
How is it different from your previous work, and what have been some of the challenges you faced in making this album?
This album is a little more edgy, there’s more space and we have explored new styles. The challenge is to stay relevant in a rapidly changing pop world. We’ve had to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s cutting edge in the pop world. Keeping up with the amazing song writing and production out there is always a challenge.
Why the long period between the album releases?
Is three years that long?😉 It hasn’t felt that long. I suppose we were lucky to get a lot of singles off Negatives so the album had some legs. We’re always writing new material, and there is a serious quality control process that continually happens. Then we got going in the studio over half a year ago – I guess it just takes time to get what you want finished and out there. We hope you guys haven’t forgotten us.
If you should compare the band now to when you just started out, what changed and what stayed the same?
We’ve definitely grown as a band – some of the naivety has gone. The core of Monark’s music will always be the basic hook – the fundamental song. That’s still there, but the production around that has changed. Like I said, it’s a little more edgy, there’s a bit more space in the songs. There’s not as much of a wall of sound. I think the band’s sound has developed to stay current – the core elements are the same.
Who wrote the songs and what are some of the influences on the new album?
Eugene and Ewald write all our songs. The influences continue to be everyday life, but we have included the good and bad. In every relationship, of all kinds, there is always a balance between hardships, frustrations, unpleasant experiences and all that is good: the fun, the carefree, the joking around, love, great memories etc. Life is a balance, and we’ve tried to include it all in the new album. In terms of musical influences, there’s West African flavours, some ‘80s Michael Jackson hiding in there, cutting edge pop, some urban and hiphop …
Any upcoming gigs, or perhaps a tour for the promotion of the album?
Yes, we’re playing at the Willowbrook Barnyard in Cape Town on 16 June, the Rockwood Theatre in PTA on 12 July, there’s a Rivonia Barnyard show in the pipeline, and a couple others. We can’t wait to play the new songs live.
Are you perhaps working on a new music video or two?
We’re finalising the second single of the album, after Broken. Once that is done, we’ll definitely be filming a new music video to come out with it.
How difficult (or easy) is it to get that balance between staying unique and true to your own sound, and going with the current trends and make music for what people “want” to hear?
I suppose we like and appreciate what goes into pop music, so we are true to ourselves when we write the music we write. The core song is always who we are, and it’s a great challenge to package it in a current relevant way. Hopefully combining the two turns out to be something people want to hear. We always write with the listener in mind – after all we want the public to enjoy our songs with us – but I don’t think we compromise on who we are as a band and the music we want to make.
What is next for Monark? What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
We’re going to do all we can to get out there and play our new music to as many people as we can. Try do the big festivals, smaller broken-down sets, and everything in between – and hopefully a little touring outside SA.
Finally, where can we order the album?
The album is launching on June, and it will be available on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play Music, in stores, at shows. It should be available in all forms on all platforms.
Thanks for your time. Can’t wait to hear the full album!
Thank you! Hope you like it. Cheers.
You can catch Monark live at the following launch shows
For more info, visit: https://www.facebook.com/monar
Friday, 16 June 2017 – Willowbridge Barnyard, Cape Town
Friday, 23 June 2017 – Die Blou Hond, Pretoria
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 – The Rockwood Theatre, Pretoria
Saturday, 29 July 2017 – Silverstar Casino, Johannesburg
Friday, 4 August 2017 – Rivonia Barnyard, Johannesburg
Get The Album
Get the album on iTunes here:
Image by Daniel Craig.