Sweet Songs of Survival

Delicate Creatures

Delicate Creatures is a simple song with a simple message — all we have is us and for all of our apparent differences we are the same — human, organic, emotional, fragile.

I wrote this during the aftermath of post-traumatic stress after my chemotherapy had finished — very difficult but ultimately enlightening. The more open and empathetic we are with one another, the more we can see and understand ourselves and the more positive we feel.

Vocals, guitars, bass, keys, percussion: Monc
Acoustic Bass: Dan Lutz
Female Vocals: Donna Taylor & Jackie Simley
Pedal Steel: David Rothon
Drums: Luke Hartley

Engineered by: Monc, Jason Lord & Steve McCormick
Exec Producer: Jason Lord
Written, Arranged, Mixed and Produced by: Monc

Cardboard Rocketship

 

My new single Cardboard Rocketship is finally released into the world! The animation was made by the brilliant Edie Morris. ‘Cardboard Rocketship’ recounts an unforgettable and possibly pivotal moment in my childhood. When I was 4 years old, I sat cross-legged on the living room floor inside the rocketship my Dad and I had made from old cardboard boxes. My Dad handed me his headphones – enormous 1970’s style ones and I placed them on my little head. He then dropped the soundtrack to ‘2001 Space Odyssey’ on vinyl. Suddenly I hear this amazing sound… the opening theme (Richard Strauss’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”) and it just blew me away! I think it was the first time I’d heard an orchestral piece on headphones. I spent the next 45 minutes sitting there in another world. I believe that’s when I decided I wanted to live in that world forever and create music. ‘Cardboard Rocketship’ is the story of that special moment in time.

I always try and retain that feeling of wonder, freedom and hope throughout my work and my life in general. It’s not always easy to remember that feeling as we ‘grow up’ but it is, in essence, who we are. I hope this song helps you, in your own ways, to feel that… stay positive!

 

I had some very special mates add their musical talent and soul to this song – here’s what they/we all played:

Vocals, guitars, basses, keys, percussion: Monc
Female Vocals: Donna Taylor & Jackie Simley
Pedal Steel: David Rothon
Cello: Juliet McCarthy
Trumpets: Ron Blake & Daniel Hall
Trombone: Mat Colman
Saxes: Ben Waghorn
Drums: Luke Hartley

Engineered by: Monc, Jason Lord & Steve McCormick
Exec Producer: Jason Lord
Written, Arranged, Mixed and Produced by: Monc

Interview

In advance of the release of his new album Sweet Songs of Survival I caught up with Monc to find out what he’s been up to and get the lowdown on his latest album and what it means to him……

It has been a rollercoaster for you since your last album, with highs and real lows. Can you tell us a bit about it?  Sure. After the last studio album way back in 2008, I decided to focus on my documentary scoring. I ended up being part of some BAFTA-winning series such as “One Born Every Minute” as well as “The Hotel” and “24 hours in Police Custody”. I was working with some great people making new, quality work. Between 2013-2015 my partner and I experienced deep personal loss when her mum and dad died suddenly and tragically. Soon after this I was diagnosed with colon cancer and the next few years were spent going through extremely difficult times recovering from cancer. I lightened my workload but continued to score through the chemo – it helped me focus – music is a healer. I wrote all of the music for “The Supervet” and “The Secret Life of The Zoo” during this period. Between 2017-2018 we moved to the Mojave Desert for a while. I wrote many songs including most of this album. I went through a lot of post-traumatic stress, which was very tough, but the songs that came out were all very positive and life-affirming. I now think back to 4 years ago when I was lying in that hospital bed – post cancer operation. I knew then that I had to get back to my songs and make more albums and perform again for as long as I could, and that’s exactly what I am doing.
 
…..And this is reflected in the title of your new album, Sweet Songs of Survival. Yes, I’m just grateful to be here… whatever the ‘weather’! and the songs reflect that. I hope they help other people going through a hard time and just inspire others. We need all the positivity and help we can get and I just want to do what I can with my music.
 
And for those who’ve not come across Monc’s music before, how would you describe the album?  Well, I’ve never fitted into a musical genre. It’s not deliberate but I’m really glad I don’t. I would call my style “Indie-Soul”, which I had to make up and that seems to cover it. I borrow from everywhere. My music tends to always have a groove and I take a global perspective… call it whatever you like, as long as its moves you!

And the album structure?  Well, it starts with my early childhood with the first two songs, so it’s chronological to begin with. It then opens up and celebrates the positive sides of human nature. The second half of the album is more reflective.

In your home studio you’ve hundreds of different instruments, some are easily recognisable, some look very exotic, and there are instruments unique to you, designed and handcrafted for specific projects. How many different instruments do you play on this album?  Well, I make a lot of noises as always! I obviously sang all of the male vocals and played all of the guitars and mandolins, of many kinds! I also played all of the pianos, keys, Hammond organ etc. I have two basses on quite a few songs which I like. On this album I shared bass duties with the amazing Dan Lutz. I’m often playing electric bass with Dan playing acoustic bass on top which was a lot of fun and I think really works. I also played down a lot of lead bass, which is really just using the bass like a guitar. I put down all the percussion including the Balafon (African Xylophone) and on a couple of songs played a second drum kit a long side Luke Hartley’s excellent drums… I think that’s about it.
 
Are you excited to be putting Monc out there again?  Yes, I am excited to get this material out there. Recording with my long-time band members in Los Angeles was the best time I’ve ever had with them. We were just all so happy to be making music together again. I felt a lot of love and we worked hard as always but enjoyed every minute of it. You can feel that energy on every song. This album is the most honest and heartfelt that I’ve ever made. 
 
Since Monc’s last album, you’ve been through so much personally and you’ve immersed yourself in documentary scoring. Do you think Monc has changed over this time? Essentially, I don’t think so. I would say it’s just more distilled, focused and unified. I hope to move people and inspire positivity in these ever-changing uncertain times. I think the overriding message is “C’mon people, let’s get perspective, unify and treasure what we have.”

Monc’s new album Sweet Songs of Survival is due out early this November, and you can keep up to date with the latest news @MoncBand on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

Interview by Nickie Moore
nickie@sisusol.co.uk

 

To view older Monc releases go here:

Past Catalog