[interview] MONARK – Releases Sophomore Self-Titled Album

[interview] MONARK - Releases Sophomore Self-Titled Album

3 x SAMA nominated band MONARK are invigorating the South African music scene with their gloriously powerful anthemic pop sound. Mixing Eugene Coetzer’s uniquely characterful vocal delivery – polished with his distinctive falsetto – and Ewald Jansen van Rensburg’s unmatched, global production style, Monark craft songs rich in meaning and soul stirring hooks. Performing as a 4-piece band, they deliver something completely fresh and unique and are setting trends sonically and stirring up tastes across the South African music landscape.

MONARK have had a remarkable run of successes on radio with no less than 6 consecutive Top 10 singles, with 2 of those – Hush and SAMA ‘Record of the Year’ nominated Build It Up – hitting #1. Monark released a double disc Deluxe Edition of their SAMA nominated, iTunes chart topping album Negatives in October 2015, featuring all 6 smash singles plus 2 new amazing tracks.

Hailing from Potchefstroom in North West, Monark catapulted into the limelight with their debut single ‘Smiling’ in early 2013. With Ewald and Eugene having worked together for years writing and recording material, the pair had nurtured a magnificent musical chemistry and brought together Deon de Klerk and Graeme Wuth to perform the material they had crafted. With stand-out performances at most of South Africa’s music festivals and numerous accolades, including MK ‘Newcomer of the Year’ nomination in 2014, Monark are a band undeniably destined for big things.

[interview] MONARK - Releases Sophomore Self-Titled Album-Photo-Daniel-Craig-Johnson

Photo Credit:Daniel Craig Johnson

Earlier this year saw the release of a brand new self-titled album by MONARK. The album comes after the release of the first single from the album, BROKEN, earlier this year.

MONARK, the album, was written and produced by band members Eugene Coetzer and Ewald Janse van Rensburg and recorded at Ewald’s studio in Potchefstroom.

The album sees the band venturing into a new direction with regards to their sound and production. They have always written music which they themselves would like to listen to whilst moving with new trends in the market and challenging themselves to explore new sounds; they explored a range of styles for this album to appeal to an even broader audience. The result – an album with more intricate layerings which is a little darker, more broken down and less saturated which still features frontman Eugene’s distinctive vocals paired with MONARK’s signature hooks and catchy melodies fans have come to love.

The band drew inspiration for the album from the conflicts of interest between any two human beings and the extreme irony which flows from that: Love/hate, joy/pain, the self/the other – the fine balance between the passion that drives any relationship and the colder choices behind the long term stability.

With more intricate and complex songs with regards to the core melody, the band has decided to self-title their latest offering: “We went with a self-titled album because we wanted to make an impact and remove any distracting clutter around who we are and what we are doing. We wanted to make the point that ‘This is Monark!’ – clean, simple and to the point with no labyrinth of of layered meanings to lessen the impact of the music.”

[interview] MONARK - Releases Sophomore Self-Titled AlbumMONARK Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Light
  2. Broken
  3. Glancing
  4. You Lie
  5. Here’s To the Fun
  6. Show Me The Love
  7. Sake of Our Love (feat. Ryki)
  8. Hold On
  9. Show House
  10. (W)Holes
“Fans can look forward to a wide range of styles, with a good hook at their core. There are songs inspired by West African grooves to Drake and Kendrick Lamar hooks and melodies, to straight ahead pop songs with a Chainsmokers and Coldplay feel, and probably a bit of a Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ influence. Interesting, intricate, yet accessible.”

Buy / Stream MONARK here on iTunes:
Interview: MONARK
[interview] MONARK - Releases Sophomore Self-Titled Album-Photo-Daniel-Craig-Johnson
Photo Credit:Daniel Craig Johnson
  • Hi guys… it is such a pleasure to be featuring you guys on the site again!! Is everyone doing well today? 
All great thanks. Good to chat again.
  • Before we get started, can you please introduce us to the members of MONARK and where in SA are you from?
Sure, Eugene – Vocals (grew up in Pretoria, but now lives in Potch)
Ewald – Guitar and Synth (hails from Mossel Bay, lives in Potch)
Deon – Bass and Bass Synth (Potch boy through and through – did a brief stint in Jo’burg and hopefully returning to in the next year or two)
Graeme – Drums and Percussion (Jo’burg born and bred)
  • How/Where did you guys meet up to form this epic band?
We’re were all friends in one way or another. It’s quite convoluted. Deon and Eugene studied together. Ewald met up with Eugene when Eugene strolled into his studio to do some recording with his old band and they soon started working together. Graeme and Ewald were in bands together over 10 years ago, and kept in touch over the years, working on various projects together. When Ewald and Eugene started recording together, the pieces fell into place and we all pulled together to make Monark happen.
  • MONARK has been around for what seems like forever.. With your debut album, NEGATIVES, getting some incredible airplay and being nominated for 3x SAMA awards and a MK award. What were some of your highlights from all the gigs, interviews, award ceremonies and tours that came with the album?
We’ve been really lucky with the airplay we have got, and the shows and festivals we have played. It’s strange to think that we have only been officially playing as Monark since the end of 2013 – not even four years yet. Being at the past two SAMAs was great. It’s fun to be part of such a big spectacle. Rocking the Daisies is always a fantastic festival at which to perform, and Jo’burg Day was an amazing experience so early on in the Monark story. The craziest interviews are always with Roger Goode on 5fm.
  • We believe that you have just released you latest album…Tell us more about it? What can we expect from this album? Any notable collaborations or features?
Yeah, second album was released in June, it’s still early days, but we are really excited about it. It’s definitely something fresh. There is quite a strong Urban feel to it, but Eugene’s vocals and hooks are still the thread that holds everything together. It’s a little more edgy and we have explored the balance that is life: love/hate, happiness/sadness, the good and bad of relationships. All these things are questioned, and sometime no answers are given. If nothing else, it just says that we all go through this stuff. I guess the album is Monark opening up, saying this is us, blemishes and all.
  • Lets go out on a limb.. Which track do you see being the “best seller’ or “most plays” from the album?
You’ll probably get a different answer from each of us. As far as I’m concerned, You Lie is going to be the big hitter … I hope.
  • What are your thoughts on our local music scene at the moment and if there is anything you wish to see happen differently? 
There are a bunch of great festivals, but there is also a need for artists to go out and create their own shows, not just playing the club circuit. There are also a whole lot of talented bands and artists out there. You can’t blame the scene for anything that you aren’t happy with; it’s up the artists to get out there and make it happen. It’s a hustle wherever you go. We’re forever trying to work out how to do this music business properly.
  • Are there any local acts that you think need a special mention?
We have to give a shout out to Majozi. He is the music industry’s nicest guy.
  • Anything that you guys are currently working on that we would be interested in hearing about?
New single is on its way, bit we can’t tel you which song it is yet. That will be accompanied by a music video, and then we’ll be going around the country playing our new songs. We can’t wait to get the new album out there.
  • Where can we follow you on Social media?
  • Thanks for your time guys…!!
Cheers, thank you!!

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