People of Joburg – Monark
The album, written and produced by falsetto lead vocalist Eugene Coetzer together with guitarist Ewald Janse van Rensburg, clearly exhibits the new direction in which the band have decided to go, both with their sound, as well as their overall production quality. Monark believes it achieved what may have seemed the impossible, purely by challenging themselves to explore new sounds.
Of course we caught up with the band to find out more…
Tell us about the latest single ‘You Lie’, what was the inspiration behind the track?
Musically, there has been an influence of West African rhythms in pop music over the past year or so, and we wanted to give that a bash. I think it worked out nicely. The song is groove driven, with a lot of percussion, aimed of getting people moving – dancing.
We want the crowds to dance with us. Lyrically, it’s a little less joyful. It’s about doubt creeping into a relationship, and questioning whether that mutual love that used to exist is still there. But, we like to hope for the best, and there is a hint of that. If nothing else, if the listener finds it in the comfort of knowing that we all go through tough times, then even that’s a good thing.
How did you select Monark as your name – what is it based on?
Depending on which day you catch us, you’ll get a different answer. Somewhere there’s a correct answer, but I think we have even lost it. So, take your pick. This is off the top of my head:
1) Eugene loves riding bicycles, and there is a Monark bicycle brand …
2) There is a little-known super hero called the Monark Star Stalker – he sounds pretty badass.
3) We like the idea of building an empire – a Monarchy.
4) It’s a butterfly that’s looks pretty, but is poisonous. Birds and things know this, and other butterflies have very similar markings – even though they are tasty – so that they don’t get eaten. Cool story? There’s more to us than first impressions?
5) Or the name just sounds cool, and so we went with it….
What’s next for Monark – what can your fans expect?
We’re going to be really busy touring this year. We are proud of our second album and we want to get it out there by playing to as many people as we can, maybe even a little overseas touring.
Also, with Spotify coming into SA and joining the likes of Apple Music and Google Play Music, the streaming scene is where music is heading. It’s going to open up doors for bands wanting to break into international territories, so we’re going to be pushing that too.
What is an ideal day off for you. Do you hang out together in your free time (if you have any) and where would we likely find you hanging out?
I think we’re all into the outdoors, and free time will probably be spent with family, wives or girlfriends. Eugene will be found in a hammock hanging between two trees beside a deep valley in the mountains.
Deon will be one the sports field – any sports field. He’s our ‘Sporty Spice’. Ewald will probably be lazing on a tropical island, surrounded by white sand and palm trees, and drinking the local rum. Maybe a bit of snorkeling and scuba diving.
I’ll be setting up my rooftop tent in a remote spot in the African bush or setting up a tent under my bush plane, which I have just landed far from civilisation (I don’t have one, but that would be awesome).
Favourite local (or international) inspiration?
Favourite local inspiration would probably Johnny Clegg. I think he is an inspiration for South Africa. He’s always stayed true to himself, his music and his own inspirations.
He has crossed all divides and has a wonderful way of unifying the country with his music. I think his curious, non-judgmental and accepting attitude is something to which all South Africans should aspire. He’s really professional – his shows are world-class.
In terms of music that inspires our song writing, I think we’ve always been impressed by Coldplay and One Republic.
What is on repeat on your i-pod? Besides your own music, of course.
I really like One Republic’s ‘Oh my, my’ album and Panic! At the Disco’s ‘Death of a Bachelor’ album is also cool.
Favourite South African food?
Pap ‘n wors.
One thing we didn’t know about Monark is…
We’re all armchair philosophers.
Images: Eben Photography
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