1883 Magazine

Life can be quite funny sometimes. One day you can be on such a high, feeling invincible and the next, so downtrodden and unsure of yourself. You can love and hate someone at the same time; feel happy and sad at once; you can be on the up while going through your lowest ebb. Like other great musicians tackling the woes of life and love, Mono Club’s latest single Sky High And Submarine grapples with the pain of living in a world full of opposites.

It took a lot of heartache and soul searching for the creative force behind the band, John Herbet to begin his journey to song writing. “I went through a phase of being quite manic in my behaviour; artistically frustrated, fixated on the future and worrying about the songs I was writing. In amongst all that, there were moments of great joy. There’s euphoria in creating something you think is good. When song writing is going well, it’s the best feeling in the world." But how do you make the jump from turning your desire into an actual song? The penny finally dropped after a destructive night of drinking, and the realisation that the only way to start anew is to simple start.

"There might be three or four songs you ever write that you can feel like that about, and this is definitely one of mine," he says. "It’s me grappling with something, existential angst, concern about where I fit in, wondering if there’s someone out there that will truly care for me, but almost getting to the end of it. It’s very negative, but it helped me get to the end of the way I was feeling," he says. "I started to feel like I was coming out on top."

So Herbet set about gathering his musician friends – Jake, Nicky and Kyle, all former band members, Dan a new guitarist – and set about recording the album in various bedrooms and studios. The result is a body of work that rings true to many 20-somethings, wondering what happened to the springtime of their youth. Heaven Was Her Heart, to cite another of the album’s standouts, looks at past relationships through nostalgia’s rose tint.

1883 were lucky enough to catch up with the band and talk through their biggest inspirations and their unique approach to going through a life of opposites.

 Hi Guys. How about we start nice and simple - could you tell us more of your biggest influences?

John and Jake: The Beatles certainly crop up as a massive influence for us - our daily bread and part of the foundation for popular music. Especially this year after losing David Bowie and the music he created when living in Berlin has been of particular interest to us. But also there is so much exciting stuff going on that its good to keep up with that really, with what’s going on now

Emotions come across as playing a big part of your creative process?

John: We certainly try to take each creation as it comes really. There was certainly a period around 18 months ago when things were very turbulent. I think it is naturally try to express that, finding it cathartic to do so. It usually involves locking myself away somewhere, my dad’s cold shed at the bottom of his garden and working through the problems.

Could you give us an insight into process you pursue to express the turbulence to write your music?

John: For this album in particular I have been working a lot with a beats programme that I then make a demo rhythm track which allows me to then pour emotions onto which then allows Jake to come along and express himself on top.

So you must be pretty close as a band, to be able to open up with each other to create new tracks

John: We are all definitely mates, which helps. There is a lot of trust involved in making music I can trust Jake with a lot of my innermost feelings and likewise the other way round.

Who would you say are your mentors and the people who have really helped to get Mono Club out there?

John: BBC Radio 6 has been excellent in promoting and playing our stuff. We have been really lucky, the BBC, particularly Lauren Lavern has been very good to us.

You are already being streamed on Spotify. What do are your opinions on Spotify in terms of the deal for the artist?

John: It’s something that exists now and clearly the future so we have to embrace it. All the better if it leads listeners to coming to our gigs. We are aware of others not feeling like they are getting the best of deals from the service but it’s the future. Its bringing back a social side of music, like the old mixtapes, but now we are sharing our playlists. Music is and should be all things to all people.

Do you have five words that sum up the emotions and what your new single is about?

John: Cascading Waterfalls of Guitar Lines. I’ll have to consult my thesaurus to get back to a better one.


Mono Club’s debut single ’Sky High and Submarine’ is out now and available to downlaod at www.monoclubmusic.com

Interview by Ben Barclay

Photography Jack Buster

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