Monark released their new self-title album on 9 June and it’s nothing you thought it would be but that’s their intention! Take all you knew about them and their music and get ready to re-evaluate. This is Monark like you’ve never heard before:
It’s not like you spend a significant amount of time producing the album and the your job is done. There is a whole lot of promotion work that needs to be done.
Yeah, we’ve been up since 3am and we’ve been driving around promoting all day. And it’s much worse to be honest. You spend a decent amount of time on the album and a decent amount of hours, but this is a marathon. It’s also cool in a sense because there’s a sense of promise when you start getting out there and interacting with the world again. We definitely see the worth in it, it’s so cool. We’re nothing without the radio stations and print etc.
The first track you guys released was called Broken and it was received in a different way because you guys went in a whole different direction with this album.To have people like Francois van Coke, Majozi and Tresor support you from your first release must’ve been great?
They all did those little videos for the single and that was great. We knew they were going to do the videos but we didn’t tell them what to do, so to see what they came up with was really cool. Especially with Majozi in the shower.
Broken was completely different from anything you’ve ever done before but also the music video.
There’s a definite quirky and nonsensical part to this band that we’ve hidden. We’ve always been perceived as this serious band. We chose the song to show a dramatic shift, that was kind of achieved. Swipe everything you know about us and rethink it, then we’re ready to do the responsible thing again.
This album has been described as ‘darker’ than your first album, what are your thoughts around that?
We’ve had the serious side of Monark, which was shown in the first album. We wanted to show all facets of Monark, that’s why it’s self titled as well. We wanted to show Monark in its entirety. We have the fun side, which is Broken, there are similar songs and then there are darker sides as well. It’s all encompassing. We acknowledge the light and the dark side.
Our message changed from the first album. The first album was very packaged in the sense that life can be very difficult sometimes but there is hope and answers. Now we’re talking about the real stuff without providing a lot of answers. Sometimes you have to find beauty in the darkness.
How was this album different production wise?
Production wise it changed a lot with this album. Where the previous album was textured and layered and had a larger than life quality to it, this time time around we tried to open it up. De-clutter. It’s sparser and more open, we tried to get to the heart of the song as soon as possible. We want to say this is us, nothing else.
There is a hidden trap when you enter the pop-scene where the environment can start directing you and it’s easy to fall into that trap. We are a band that strives to play on radio and that’s how we got our footing. We don’t plan on abandoning that, this is not necessary a middle-finger to that. It still is pop but it’s a slight alignment to who we are. Pop has moved on from when we did Negatives, there’s definitely an edgier aspect to it. Music has progressed and people are embracing an edgier sound.
It’s almost as if there isn’t just pop anymore, they are almost hybrids. You have definitely embraced that if you look at your influences.
The Weeknd is a massive influence for this album and you’ll hear that as well. He paved the way for very dark pop. It’s fun to make music in an environment like this. Even five years ago you had very strict boundaries. Now we’ve chosen to explore that. It’s also a lot scarier especially in South Africa.
What are your expectations for this album?
We don’t really discuss expectations but we do have bets among us for which songs are going to do the best. With the first album you don’t know what to expect but this time around you just don’t want to fall backwards. If nothing else you want to keep on this level and keep improving.
It’s just about connecting with the song. When you do live shows and people sing along then you know you connected with them. That happening means business.
By: Kriszti Bottyan
Images: Daniel Craig