The New MONARK Album Is Here!

Over three years ago, we were introduced to Monark when their debut single Smiling took over the South African airwaves. Followed by their debut album, Negatives, 6 consecutive Top 10 singles and 3 x SAMA nominations, we couldn’t get enough of the 4 lads from Potchefstroom. Now in 2017, they gave us a new single, ‘Broken’ earlier this year and today finally a brand new, self-titled album – MONARK. We caught up with Graeme Wuth to chat about their new release.

You made us wait 3 years for a new album and now it is finally here. We had a taste from the album with your latest single, Broken, but what can fans expect from the rest of the album?
Broken was a fun fresh song to kick off the new album, but don’t pigeonhole us with it. We’ve explored a few new styles and influences. The new album is more edgy, and we have moved away from a wall of sound and focused on giving each instrument and sound its space. But, we have tried to keep the hooks and melodies there. It’s still pop, but pop has moved on since Negatives and we’ve tried to keep up with what’s cutting edge now.

Since the release of Negatives in 2014, and then Negatives Deluxe Edition in 2015, you have been nominated for 3 SAMA Awards and had 6 consecutive Top 10 radio singles, with 2 of them topping the charts at #1, so you have pretty much figured out how to write a hit song. Did your approach in writing new music for this album stayed the same, or did you do things differently?
The song always starts with a core hook or melody. And those are still there. We have just packaged it a little differently to make sure it is current.

 

Photo by Daniel Craig

 

Has Ewald’s production style changed specifically when you compare this album to Negatives?
Ewald is always a perfectionist, and he keeps his finger on the pulse to make sure he keeps current with whats out there, so this has no doubt influenced the sound he and Eugene have gone for. The production is a little more raw and edgy like I said earlier, but at the same time it’s still slick and produced. If there are rough edges they were planned. As someone who isn’t in the studio day in and out with Ewald, I’m really impressed and excited with what he has managed to achieve.

Broken sounds considerably less than Monark that all your previous singles, yet it encapsulates a few different styles of music. Can fans also expect this from the rest of the songs on the new album?Yes, I think so. Broken is the only song that sounds like Broken, but we’ve explored a couple different genres. There are Cuban influences, Hip Hop and Urban influences from artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake, more laid back loungey tracks, tracks with an 80s Michael Jackson influence … a whole lot of things. But I think that there is still a Monark familiarity, hook and songwriting style that ties them all together.

You decided to self-title the album to lessen any ‘deeper meanings’ or clutter which may take away from the music. Do you feel that with the release of this album, you are more focused on the music than with your previous album? Do you feel that artists sometimes tend to hide the music behind all the clutter associated with a release, rather than on the music itself?
You’ve done your homework. We’re always focused on the music; it’s always paramount, and I don’t think that’s more the case now than it was on the past album. The decision to self-title the album was to boldly say, or at least try to boldly say, this is us. We want to connect with as many people as we can, so we’re keeping it simple.

In terms of other artists, I don’t think it’s necessarily hiding behind clutter. This is show business and you have to go out there with a plan, and there are very clever ways of incorporating a variety of aspects to your performance, whether the album or stage performance. I would say these days you have to be multifaceted. And hopefully we can do that do as we promote this album.

If you had to describe the new album in a sentence – what would that be?
It’s more edgy with more space, but still pop and the hooks are still there.

Get the new Monark album here

You can catch Monark live at the following launch shows

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

 

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