T FACE value, you might look at Monark and think they are another rock band, maybe alternative or even folk, but never pop.
After having a chat with the lead vocalist of the local band, I found that their music isn’t just about the “vibe and groove”. The messages are incredibly relatable and, for the most part, deep.
Following the release of their selftitled second studio album last year, Monark have released their third and highly anticipated single off the album, You Lie. Lead vocalist Eugene Coetzer told me all about it.
“There is this strange thing that happens in relationships when things are going well and you’re feeling on top of the world, but then for no particular reason, a sense of uncertainty makes its way into the back of your mind.
“You start to question whether your partner feels the same way and this internal, emotionally draining battle begins. You Lie is a song about fighting that uncertainty and the battle between the good and the bad thoughts,” said Coetzer.
You Lie is based on his own experience. “I had a very bad breakup and, before the break-up, I had the feeling that my partner did not feel the same way about me and my feelings were right, so there is a part of me in this song. I think that when you create art you have a responsibility to expose yourself sometimes,” he said.
The album was written and produced by Coetzer, together with guitarist Ewald Janse van Rensburg. Other band members include bass guitarist Deon de Klerk and drummer Graeme Wuth.
Coetzer said he started writing the music just over a year before they released the album.
“As with our previous album, we had an idea of what angle we wanted to go for and what theme would encompass the album, but life happens and we found while putting the album together that our idea was not coming together as we wanted it to. And that was not a problem because we started looking at our personal lives and what each of us was going through at the time. We did, however, want the music to be authentic and not be coated in any candy and I think we did that,” he said.
“In the broader sense it is about love and relationships, but it is also about our struggles as humans and I think that our struggles are represented in our relationships.”
Coetzer said: “Monark, the album, was inspired by the conflict of interests between any two human beings and the irony which flows from that. There is a fine balance between the passion that drives a relationship and the colder choices behind its long-term stability.”
He describes the sound of the album as beat-driven.
“Overall, this is a pop album, but it is extremely beat-driven, the songs are all about the groove. There are also a lot of different influences like hip hop and lots of harmonies,” he said.
According to Coetzer, the band took three months to record the album and, although that was a considerably short time in the studio, there was still drama.
“You know what, there is actually always drama in a studio. We are all very stubborn and always have something to say so we are always shouting at each other. It isn’t drama that will ruin us and it has got a lot better since we first got together to make music. We respect each other and value each other’s opinions and, most importantly, we trust each other,” he said.
Before chatting to Coetzer, I listened to Monark a few times and enjoyed Sake of our Love the most. For Coetzer, however, Snow House is his favourite.
“It’s a very intense song because of its meaning. Basically, the snow house represents stability in a relationship, but in order for this snow house to survive, it needs a fire to burn on the inside of it, which is passion. And often, that’s how relationships are,” he said.
He also said that Monark is very different to Negatives, the band’s first album.
“The sound and content are very different to our first album and I think what’s great about that is that with Monark, there is something that everyone can relate to and really that’s what we want. We want people to take something away from this album.” Monark have released their third and highly anticipated single off the album